I Am Married To My Best Friend
This coming Monday marks seven years of marriage for Bethany and me.
I am thankful to say without hesitation that I am married to my best friend. No marriage is perfect and we have our fair share of conflict, but there is no one on earth with whom I would rather spend time than my wife.
I’ve spoken with plenty of married individuals for whom this is not the case. In some cases they can’t stand their spouse; in other cases they tolerate their spouse but don’t enjoy spending time with them. In the worst cases, the conclusion is drawn that because they aren’t married to their best friend they apparently didn’t find their “soul mate” and perhaps they need to move on to another spouse in order to find “true love.”
God’s ideal is for a believer to stick with their spouse, regardless of how much you like them. But it sure makes life easier if you truly enjoy being with your spouse. I consider myself blessed to be married to my best friend. But we didn’t reach BFF status easily or automatically; it has required lots of effort and intentionality. It has required a willingness to not only appreciate one another, but to appreciate the things that the other appreciates.
If you don’t feel that your spouse is your best friend, ask yourself: “Have I made a genuine effort to enjoy what he/she enjoys?”
It’s one thing to give your spouse space to enjoy their interests. It’s a different thing altogether to enter that joy with them, to identify with their experience, to feel their passion firsthand.
Before marrying a professional violinist, I never imagined that I would spend so many hours sitting at orchestra concerts. I’ve learned that it means a lot to Bethany when I’m not only there but when I try to understand the ins-and-outs of classical music and truly enjoy the experience. Before marrying a soccer aficionado, I’m sure Bethany never imagined that she would spend so many hours sitting on a couch with me watching Real Madrid vs. Borussia Dortmund or whatever game happens to be on. She’s learned that it means a lot to me when she not only endures my hobby but when she reacts verbally to a nice goal or a good save.
Bethany is a practitioner of what can perhaps be called extreme exercising. In 2014, she decided that would be the year she would finally get around to running a marathon. My first response: “That’s nice, good for you!” My second response: “Uh oh, I’m going to end up running this marathon with you, aren’t I?” I wouldn’t have chosen to spend hundreds of hours that year training to run 26 miles. But those hours spent with my wife were priceless, and boosted our status as best friends. (Added bonus: I lost some weight that year!)
Don’t believe the lie that compatibility can only happen spontaneously. Compatibility is something you must work toward. Even if you began your relationship with vastly different interests, over time you and your spouse can take intentional steps toward deep and lasting harmony. This requires sacrifice. This requires 10,000 small choices to humbly consider someone else’s preferences above your own (Phil. 2:3-5). The reward of living with your lifelong best friend is worth it. Even better, you’ll be drawing attention to the perfect example of Christ!
What gets your spouse excited? What does he/she look forward to doing in their spare time? Is there a possibility that you could learn to enjoy it too? Husbands: perhaps her style of music, her type of movie, her shopping destinations wouldn’t be your first choice. Wives: maybe his favorite sport, his household projects, his volunteer ministry isn’t quite your cup of tea. But let me encourage you to take a step toward your spouse and align some of your passions. Root for the same team. Laugh at the same comedies. Mourn over the same disappointments. Get excited about the same diversions. Look forward to the same events. Set a goal and accomplish it together.
And don’t be surprised when eventually you discover that your life mate has become your best friend.