Beer With A Buddy: Conversations on Life and Marriage | Engaged Marriage

Beer With A Buddy: Conversations on Life and Marriage

By Dustin | Communication

Beer With A BuddyWithout a doubt, my wife is my best friend, and she is my go-to person for just about every conversation. We can talk about anything, and we do our best to find time every day to get together for a great chat.

While I love talking to my wife, I find that sometimes you just need some time out of the house with a friend to help clear your mind and get a fresh perspective on life.

I find these times to be really refreshing, and I usually come away from a little bar time full of ideas and energy (as long as I don’t overdo it with the beer 🙂 ).

Beer With A Buddy Time, as I like to call it, is an important part of living a full life and a healthy marriage.

Get Out!

Of course, alcohol doesn’t have to a centerpiece of this time.  While I enjoy a cold, frosty one and prefer to chat at night after the kids are in bed and my family time is over, you can meet a friend for a meal, some great coffee or a round of golf.  The important ingredients are simply you, a good friend and a free mind.

I’m a big believer that guys need guy time, and girls need a girl’s night out occasionally.  It can seem selfish to spend some of your precious time away from your spouse and kids, but this time away with friends can make you a better husband or wife.

I always come away from a good late-night discussion with a new perspective, a renewed focus on what’s important in life and new mental energy.  These benefits certainly carry over into my home and family life.

Sometimes the marital benefits are more direct.  I’ve actually helped enhance (maybe even save) the marriage of friends over the course of several cold frosty ones.  And I can tell you that few things compare to the feeling of truly helping a good friend.

What’s Your Version of Beer With A Buddy Time?

I bet the community here has some great thoughts on this issue.  Please leave a comment and let us know if you agree with the importance of taking time to hang out and talk with good friends.

What’s your favorite way to get together for a great chat?

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About the Author

Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.

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(33) comments

Gerry @ Families4Life

Hi Dustin, I gotta say that the ol’ slippery slope thing comes into play here! You see once you start having your time with the boys, she counts how many times then she has her share with the girls, next thing it’s a hen’s weekend away, then it’s the buck’s or boy’s weekend away.

I have seen it too much that it actually causes friction to the people concerned.

On a positive note, when we have a family over for a barbie (ie Barbecue, that’s like your cook out), the blokes/boys hang out and chew the fat and drink the amber fluid, whilst the women compare notes over the kitchen bench! So you still have time with your mates, and the next day you get a chance to compare notes with your better half.

I don’t know, maybe I am being a bit harsh, but I have seen relationships fall over because the focus shifts from the marital relationship to the buddies.

Reply

    Gerry –

    That sounds to me that a relationship that plays tit for tat is already unhealthy and spending time with the boys (or girls) is the least of their problems.

    I think a healthy way to have the time away is for it to be “granted to each other.” I think a couple knows that they need both “me time” and “time with the boys/girls.” And as Dustin pointed out, it helps bring a refreshing BACK to the marriage. One thing that Dustin pointed out early is that he and his wife are best friends. That aspect alone makes all the difference. My wife and I are best pals and we love being around each other. Sometimes we have to push each other to go spend time with friends. That “best friends” part might be the missing element with the people you are referring to Gerry.

    Reply
      Gerry @ Families4Life

      Guys, I don’t disagree with you at all.

      I am expressing this view, I guess in the main part, for the people that need it but don’t get it. This viewpoint is one that I would never say face to face to someone as it is such a delicate issue.

      When I wrote the first comment above I was thinking of a couple of couples, 1 no longer a couple and the other couple it could go either way with the fellow just not putting in. This fellow works all week goes to rugby training 1 or 2 nights and then plays on the weekend – all with a wife and baby. Anyway enough said!

      Reply
    Dustin

    I have to agree with David’s comments here, Gerry. If the “me time” gets way out of balance, it can surely cause a problem as just about anything else could under that scenario. In the right measures and the right priority level, I think some time away with friends is actually very beneficial to a marriage.

    Reply

I find that instead of buddy time I enjoy sometime to myself to go for a drive, a walk, or even at home during my wive’s girls night out. It is this that I find rejuvenating. Like Gerry, I find that most “buddy” time comes when we have a couple over and then we separate into our own manly conversation.

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    Eric –

    I can relate to the time alone when the wife is out with friends. That is a good time to catch up on some things or even just lounge around on the couch. It’s the “me time” that is also important

    Reply
    Dustin

    I’m with you on the “me time” too, Eric. I guess it’s no coincidence that most of my hobbies are pretty much solo activities: blogging, bowhunting, cycling, reading, golfing. In addition to some time to talk openly with friends, I think alone time is crucial to our mental health. 🙂

    Reply

My spot for time with a buddy here in Nicaragua is either a coffee shop or a buffet. Both offer a nice, relaxing atmosphere with no pressure to move along. I’m also quite blessed to be supported by my wife in these “buddy times”. She knows I need the time and recognizes that it’s an awesome way to impact others. She also has her opportunities to connect with friends.

As a couple, we also have times that involve the whole family, as Gerry mentioned.

The key is balance; spouse and family must be priority.

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    Dustin

    Amen, Earl! Balance is the key, and I love how you point out the opportunity this provides to impact others.

    Reply
Denee King

If a relationship is compromised because of time away with the guy friends or girl friends then there was already an issue to begin with (in my opinion). As a friend of mine asked “have you retained your own identity? Can you define yourself as your own self, or only as one half of a couple?”
I appreciate the other comments and my husband and I totally enjoy time with other couples – cookouts, etc.- but I believe we benefit the relationship by developing the other areas of our own lives. I don’t exercise with my husband all the time….sometimes we hike together or play tennis but sometimes I jog on my own or attend a step aerobic class with my girlfriends.
If you’re making your marriage your priority (your heart) then the time we spend strengthening other areas of our life is like physical cross training….you make sure your heart is strong and then work on the supporting muscles. And it all makes for a balanced, healthy person. Again….just my opinion! 🙂

Reply
    Dustin

    I love it, Denee! I totally agree with everything you said, and I especially like your remarks on the need for good physical fitness and how important that is for your “marital fitness!”

    More on that soon…watch this space. 😉

    Reply
Jaycie

I agree with you Dustin, sometimes alittle time enjoying a non-mutual hobby is fun and important to give a recharge… It also can give my husband time to enjoy things like a beer, wings and a game that I would not be great company for. I, myself, love a nice cup of coffee, or a shopping trip (not always to everyones delight I am sure ;), or maybe a silly, girly movie with a friend. These are also things that might not spark the interest of the hubby. So on very rare occasions we may spend a few hours apart enjoying little things that may, for lack of better words, be condisered a bit selfish. In the grand scheme of our life these rare occasions give a little recharge of perspective that may be just what the doctor order for a stress filled life.
I do agree that some of this time can be “gotten” spending time with families, but I don’t see the harm in just alitte “me” time. I feel that this little bit of time can even benefit our family. We will be welcoming a new baby NEXT WEEK. This week my hubby got a short “boys” night with a friend and I enjoyed a quick shopping trip with my bestie, theses are not things that we will be able to do for awhile once our family grows, so we both appreciated the time and eachother for understanding the need for 2 hours of “me” time. That is something that makes me appreciate my partner even more.

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    Dustin

    Thanks, Jaycie! I think I may just know who your husband had a boy’s night with…and I might even know your shopping partner a bit. 😉

    We’re looking forward to meeting that new baby of yours!

    Reply
Jen

I totally agree with you Dustin…girl/guy time away is so, so important. My husband and I strongly believe that not only are we husband and wife, but we are a brother/sister, daughter/son, best friend’s to people we love, members of our community, employees, etc… I did list husband and wife first, because if any of the other aspects of who we are don’t help us to be the best husband or wife we can be, and in turn helping our marriage be the best it can be, then that aspect of who we are needs some work. Everything we do needs to enhance who we are as people and our marriage.

We both realize we can’t be each other’s everything…that is asking a lot of another person. But a little time with a good friend, or enjoying a hobby, or just having some down time to read a book, helps us find what we need from healthy sources that we both trust.

Can it be a slippery slope…sure if the two people in the relationship are not mature and secure in their relationship with each other. When two people love, respect, and trust each other there should be no score keeping as to who goes out when and no jealousy or insecurity around that fact that our spouse needs time away from us.

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    Dustin

    Can I just say that I love all of you awesome readers? Jen, your comment is perfect.

    Reply

Hey Dustin – this is a critical issue to address. What you’re talking about isn’t guys sitting around watching sports and not communicating unless the home team scores (high fives all around) or the visitors score (bad call, ref!). What you’re describing is an intentional dialogue with friends.

I’m with you 100% – I don’t want my wife to spend every waking minute with me. And I KNOW she doesn’t want that either. It’s not healthy. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” (I don’t think Solomon would mind if we substituted “woman” in there.) I like hanging out with friends who know me well and can challenge me in areas that I might not be doing the best in. I also feel honored when friends seek me out for advice.

Of course, the most important relationship is the one with our spouses, so time with our spouses shouldn’t be sacrificed. I view taking measured, intentional time to spend with others as an investment in my marriage because that time is making me into a better version of myself for my wife.

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    Dustin

    Dang Derek, you are way off base here! Just kidding of course since your comments are always right in line with my thinking. At least they are so far; I need to write a post that you’ll disagree with. But the Orioles have no rivals and I can’t stand Duke either…I’ll have to think about that one. 🙂

    Reply
Michael Halbrook

I’m with you 100% on this as well. I’ve fallen in and out of the habit of an intentional guys’ night with a lot of my old friends. We’re actually in the process of re-starting it. For us, it’s just a few hours (late at night, after we’ve tended to dinner and duties at home and the kids are in bed) one night a week, sharing coffee at one friend’s house or another.

A few years back, before any of us had kids, the ladies would also go out on the same night. One week, it was pretty funny that we realized the guys were in one house having coffee while the ladies were next door (2 friends happened to live side-by-side) having drinks and playing poker. Someone pointed out that we may have reversed roles.

I think it’s essential for each of the partners in the marriage to not necessarily maintain unique identities (the truth is, they ARE now parts of a whole), but to have time to understand their half of that whole, separate from the other half, but true to the vows and responsibilities of their marriage. Having a few hours out with the guys from time to time keeps us balanced and focused on keeping ourselves centered on what really matters – what’s at home – and provides valuable time to discuss manly concerns in ways we can’t always do at home – or at least get feedback from a perspective that we can’t get at home.

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    Dustin

    Thanks so much, Michael. You’ve done a beautiful job of expressing how this time apart supports a covenant marriage rather than detracts from it. Excellent!

    Reply

I just had a great weekend away with my sister. It was a bit unexpected, but there was a sale on flights, and my husband told me to go and spend some time with my sister. It was so good, and i’m so thankful for it.
My husband didn’t have too many friends when we met. He’s a bit of a loner, but he has formed a bond with a guy I work with, and its developed into a great friendship. He ended up being Best Man at our wedding, and he’s a great guy. I know he’d never lead my husband astray. I would probably wonder how much talk they do about their marriages and stuff while playing xbox games, but it probably does happen more than i realise.
I have become friends with his wife, so I try to make some time for her. They have 4 children, and he travels a bit, so I think she appreciates having another adult to talk to at times. even if its going over, and helping put the kids to bed and playing board games. it can be so simple, but so appreciated. I know that if we ever get around to having kids, that she’ll be a great support for me.

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    Dustin

    Thanks as usual, Mary. Your comments are always so insightful and usually entertaining, too. 😉

    Reply

Couldn’t agree more. My wife is my absolute best friend who can, and do, turn at any time. It’s healthy to spend time apart though.

I’m kinda weird when it comes to my guy time, and I think I get quite a bit of it too. At least 4 days a week I train in various forms of martial arts, usually at night. There’s really not much real talking though. I feel very blessed to have a wife that’s perfectly fine with me doing what I do for my “me time”.

In my first business I had 5 employees and they were all my closest friends. I do miss that. Work was my guy time. We would end up having hour long coffee breaks just because we kept talking. Lots of serious issues were solved during those breaks and lots of great joking around too.

I remember when jill and I got married, there was like two years that we didn’t want to be apart. It may sound strange, but I’m sure most can remember that feeling. I think it’s just as important to let you spouse know that it’s ok to go out and have some fun without you. (Besides, you can also welcome them home in a REALLY nice way ;-))

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    Dustin

    Yeah, Andy, I think you take the cake on the guy time. Welding all day and then beating the crap out of your friends each night. That’s pretty stellar manliness!

    Reply

Dustin –

This is a great post, and so important. Being a husband/father who works out of the house…as does my wife, we have to have time with others. And when we get out of balance (spending SO much time in the house with one another and the kool kiddo) we start to really notice it!!

I have a group of guys I get together with to talk about “real” stuff – and a couple close friends who I enjoy having lunch with…And my wife does to – It really is awesome for our marriage.

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    Dustin

    Thanks, Stu! I’m with you on the need for balance and the fact that this time spent with others really can have an awesome impact on our marriages. It’s great stuff!

    Reply
Wendy R

I think my husband and I agree that quiet/solo time trumps going out with the guys or chatting with the girls any day just because of the stage of life we’re in–filled with kids’ demands and the endless to-do-list that you just need to walk away from occasionally. You also have to factor in people’s personalities here; there are people in this world that are rejuvenated from being in a group, and others who are drained from the same situation. The whole introvert/extrovert thing.

My favorite girl time involves conversations with my sisters, girlfriends at church, and mother/mother-in-law. The “where and when” is crucial on whether I walk away feeling refreshed or even more hassled/stressed–it needs to be a time and place where I’m not also babysitting/making sure my kids aren’t terrorizing or interrupting. That’s how I quickly learned that playdates are usually more for the kids’ benefit, and not to count on it for quality “girl time”. I can be remarkably refreshed from even a 10 minute uninterrupted conversation with the gals. Actually, I see shorter as better, since women tend to get pretty catty and full of gossip when they run out of positive things to say. I’ve come away from many conversations feeling guilty for the way others were spoken about, and that’s just not a good habit to get into or a good way to spend time. Unfortunately, I think “girl time” boils down to this frequently if not put in check somehow.

My husband doesn’t get a lot of guy time. Or maybe he does. He gets enough for what he’d like, I suppose. I encourage it, but really he is more into the “what I want to do”–just wants someone regardless of gender to play the board game with him, or the video game with him, or go biking/golfing/camping, or watch the Cards game–and I’m usually his first choice, followed by his Dad (especially sports stuff). Dustin, you lived with him, so you know firsthand how much he craves a deep conversation about life :). Maybe you guys had a couple of those, but he just isn’t a talker in general. Going back to that introvert/extrovert thing; his guy time is not about talking, but rather doing/experiencing/yelling at the pitcher. 🙂

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    Dustin

    Yes Wendy, during our college years, there were times that I didn’t think Jason would ever stop talking and sharing his innermost emotions and philosophies on life. 🙂

    You are totally right about the introvert/extrovert differences. I used to consider myself an introvert, but I have found that over time I crave more interaction with friends and it gives me renewed energy. I guess I was outgoing all along and just didn’t know it! 😉

    Reply
Mark

Dustin — this question is at a little bit of a slant from what you originally put up, but I’d be curious to hear other people’s perspective on it. In addition to taking time separately to keep other friendships and interests alive, is there any benefit to “take one for the team” nights — ie, going together to a concert that one person isn’t all that enthused about, or going on a road trip to see your favorite sports team when the other person isn’t a fan?

On one hand, there is the positive of supporting your partner in their interests, getting a chance to step into their world and come alongside to experience something that truly excites them, and being willing to expose yourself to new and different things. On the other hand, does it put a damper on the occasion when one person isn’t enjoying themselves, or maybe has been “guilted” into being there?

I’d be curious to hear what other people have to say about this.

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    Dustin

    Thanks, Mark! Personally, I think “take one for the team” nights are really important. It’s one of the things I recommend doing as an exercise in my upcoming e-book actually. There is a lot of value in stepping out of your usual comfort zone and experiencing things that your spouse enjoys. You’re right, though, that you have to be careful not to be a “Debbie Downer” and take a negative attitude along for the ride. That will just make the experience miserable for both of you.

    Reply

I always make it a habit to have a buddy time regularly, it is the best to to free my mind. Life is not all about taking responsibility and being serious all the time, we all need to be carefree once in a while. Most of the time, I don’t have a buddy to chat with and so I take my beer with me for a meaningful reflection. 🙂

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    Dustin

    Thanks for the great comment, Walter. And enjoy that beer! 😉

    Reply
Beer With A Buddy: Conversations on Life and Marriage | Best Relationships

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[…] get frustrated and concerned about the relationship. Stay busy by joining clubs, volunteering, or hanging out with friends. Guldner believes that “Companionship with friends helps strengthen your relationship and […]

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