My husband Bjorn and I are best friends. And there’s weight behind those words.
This is my personal opinion, but I think that some people whisk their way into marriage without evaluating the question of, Can I truly do daily life with this person? It seems that so many people love “how he makes me feel” or how in love they feel – expressing how constantly exciting and dramatically uplifting it is for them to be in love! That’s all wonderful, in a way…but I don’t think we should overlook the fact that life is a lot less dramatically exciting all the time!
The majority of life is made up of small, seemingly mundane (and sometimes-sweet, sometimes-hard) moments. Life simply can’t be made up of grand, sweeping gestures of dramatic romance all the time. First of all, because that’s expensive and completely not sustainable. Second of all, because it’s exhausting to go 100% all-out, all the time, with planning and reservations and showering each other with fancy gifts. And finally, because it’s pretty darn hard to do when you’re passing a crying baby back and forth to each other and you haven’t showered today. 😉
That’s where friendship in marriage comes in.
I heard a story once about a man and his wife: When they were older and she was ill in bed, at times he would come sit at her bedside and just be next to her, perhaps holding her hand, but without speaking. (I don’t think she was able to talk well at that point.) And she’d open her eyes and make eye contact with him. They’d sit like that for the longest time – with such a deep connection that it only required their eyes meeting! Their adult son would actually feel like he was interrupting something significant when he came in the room, because their nonverbal communication was so intense! I know that not everyone is an eye contact person, but I found it beautifully comforting. A relationship that is built on solid, unending friendship like this man and his wife’s, is an incredibly intimate and romantic thing to behold! They didn’t need to say anything, during these harder times when they were older, because just being WITH each other and knowing each other so deeply was enough.
I also think about that Johnny Cash quote – about what was so perfectly special to him: “This morning, with her, having coffee.” There’s no mistaking that there was a deep camaraderie present.
I know everyone has their own love language, and their own special way to communicate love to their husband. Perhaps, for you, it does include gifts! And it’s not wrong to enjoy a fancy date night out! But keeping a strong element of friendship in your marriage will work wonders as you navigate the ebbs and flows of different seasons of life.
If there’s no friendship in a relationship, then where is the ability to enjoy simple moments together?
While I don’t believe that marriage is supposed to be what 100% fulfills me and sustains me (because that kind of fulfillment is only garnered through a relationship with Jesus), I’m really blown away by the importance of friendship in my marriage, the more I think about it and the more years that pass us by.
Bjorn and I recently celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary – and our first anniversary as parents! I honestly don’t know how I’d be getting through these days of new parenthood if I wasn’t married to my best friend, and if our relationship didn’t include a foundation of friendship. Regardless of if we were best friends or not, marriage is a covenant that is not meant to be taken lightly, of course. However, the added blessing of friendship in our marriage can seriously make all the difference somedays.
After I said all of that about friendship, don’t take this to mean that there is no romance or no room for romance. Keeping romance alive needs to be an ongoing pursuit and priority in marriage! Without it, then obviously marriage is just only friendship or being roommates. I’m not talking about marriage becoming solely a friendship contract. I’m trying to paint the picture here of the importance of a strong layer of friendship.
To me, if I’m not doing married life with my best friend, then I’d be a heck of a lot more lonely! A friend is someone you genuinely love to spend time with – someone you default to (in the best way, of course) when you’re feeling happy or tired or low or proud. Bjorn is my best friend, and I really, really just like to be around him. We get each other. And what a gift from God that is! The best part? Each year just keeps on getting better! God certainly blessed us with a spouse who would be so good for us…even more than we probably could’ve imagined!
To some, new parenthood is the complete opposite depiction of romance. They look at new parents and think, Sleep deprivation? Personal hygiene put aside? A screaming baby? Debates about how long to let the baby cry? Poopy diapers? Count me out! I’d rather go on a fancy date any day.
And I get it, to a certain extent… All that parental messiness I just described certainly doesn’t scream date night in the same get-dressed-up, hear-his-car-in-the-driveway, flower-bouquet, candlelit-supper kind of way. I mean, there’s all sorts of craziness to work through in those first few weeks of life with a newborn. And the ongoing sacrifices and difficulties of navigating parenthood are fresh and unpredictable every day!
But you know what whispers “forever love” in my ear? Seeing my husband lovingly kiss our daughter on top of her head and read history books to her. Hearing Sophie giggle as we tickle her tummy. Being able to lean my head on his shoulder once we get her to fall asleep…and not needing to say a word. Him surprising me with an omelet on a Saturday morning. And soaking in that feeling we can only get when we’re playing with Sophie and our eyes meet — and there’s an almost electric sense of happiness as we simultaneously feel our hearts burst with joy!
So, friendship and romance. And a baby added to the mix. Is all of this mutually exclusive?
Not in the least!
In fact, I’d say it’s the best possible combination out there. 🙂
Are you married to your best friend? What are your thoughts on friendship as a part of a relationship?