Marriage: I Did Not Marry My Best Friend and Here is Why…
It feels like I can’t get through 1 week without someone on Facebook announcing something like “15 years ago today I married my best friend” or a variation of those words.
Well, I, for one, am glad that my wife isn’t my best friend. Let me tell you why. I was meeting with a friend for coffee and he said to me, “I always hate hearing people say that their spouse is their best friend. There is no way that a best friend would put up with what I’ve put my spouse through. Spouses are so much more than a best friend.”
I was struck by this reality!
We treat our best friends well, don’t we? We wouldn’t hurt them on purpose that’s for sure.
Unless you are a saint, you’ve hurt your spouse as some point, and likely at many points in your relationship.
With best friends, we may have bad moments, and they forgive and walk with us, but there is a limit to the amount of abuse and pain that we will accept from someone that we call a friend before we simply don’t consider them friends anymore.
When I think about my marriage, I have to admit that if my wife were simply my best friend and not my wife, we probably wouldn’t be friends anymore. The reasons for that go both ways; we have both made mistakes towards each other and that’s just the way that marriage and relationships work.
In marriage we hurt each other often, sometimes on purpose but hopefully usually by accident. We have a deep sense of security with our spouses, they can’t just walk out on us. We are expected to stay married. We committed for life, right?
At different points we have let our guard down and taken each other for granted.
Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I need to be completely myself in ways I can’t be with anyone else. That’s part of the joy of marriage, being known inside and out and being loved for who we are without having to hide. However, that doesn’t mean that we wallow in our sludge, weaknesses and negative tendencies while expecting our spouses to put up with us.
In the end, I try to keep a few things in mind as I love and respect my wife, the one who is far MORE than my best friend.
1. Be self-aware – I need to respond to my wife at least as well as I would a stranger in public. If I would offend someone else in public, or even offend a good friend by the behavior I am expressing, then doing the same to my wife is not appropriate. In fact, I should aim to treat her BETTER than anyone else in my life.
2. Don’t take for granted – being married to someone who knows your flaws and weaknesses does not give us license to act poorly towards them. After all they love us enough to be with us, we should love them enough to treat them with respect.
3. Communicate – there are going to be times when things go poorly and we need grace when we wallow or get angry and express frustration. If you find yourself in a place like this, let your spouse know.
According to relationship researcher Dr. John Gottman, there is an important ratio for healthy relationships. He suggests that for every one negative feeling or interaction between partners, there must be five positive feelings or interactions. Not only that, but they are far more likely to understand your position if you show them love and care daily by caring enough not to be your worst every day. Let them be there for you when you need it most, and extend that same grace and understanding in return when it is their turn.
All of this said, I couldn’t be more thankful that my wife isn’t JUST my best friend. If she was, she’d have left long ago, it’s incredibly freeing to know we have grace and love for each other beyond any thing best friends could ever give.
May your spouse be so much more than just a best friend.
P.S. Thank you Melissa McVety, for being my wife, lover, perfect helper AND my lifelong best friend.
© David McVety – Jan 21, 2015