6 Reasons to Marry Your Best Friend

Today I’m supposed to talk about my best friend, which is going to get really sappy really quickly because Will is my bestest best friend. But before I get to him, let me say that I have amazing friends, all different, and all special to me in their own ways and for various reasons. I’ve got friends I’ve had since before I can remember having friends. I’ve got friends with whom friendships were forged under the most trying of circumstances – adolescence. I’ve got friends from college who watched me (and bore with me) as I did a fair amount of growing up and becoming myself, making a fool of myself as expected along the way. I’ve got friends from New York who took on the big city with me, who didn’t bat an eye when I started cutting my clothes up and got my nose pierced, but loved me, accepted me, and appropriately challenged me. I’ve got friends from Raleigh, who, though they are my most recent acquaintances, have become family. Literally.

And when I say literally, I literally mean literally. Whitney has spent the last couple of Christmases with my family, yes, and she is very close to literal family, but I’m talking about the friend who is now actually my family – my husband. We sometimes have surreal moments when we just can’t believe that we are married because still, after two years together, only a quarter of our relationship has been romantic in nature. We were friends for six years before we ever got together, so we often find it hard to believe that we get to kiss each other whenever we want, and we often find it hard to believe that there was ever a time we didn’t kiss each other.

Smooching is only one perk of marrying your best friend, though. Here are some more:

1. Hanging out with friends is simple.

We each have some friends that the other doesn’t know (or doesn’t know well), but we don’t hang out with them all that often because they don’t live nearby. If they did, we’d try to hang out with them a little bit more. The friends we hang out with the most are the ones we’ve both known for years, the ones we knew before we ever got together, the ones who, when we started dating, said, “Well it’s about time!” So I almost never have to go to awkward parties with Will’s friends and make small talk (introvert problems), and he’s only had to do that once or twice with my friends and family. Nope, none of that. We just hang out with people we both know and love.

2. Spending time together is fun and easy.

You’re friends! You’ve already spent time getting to know each other and developing “your things” – the things you always do together and/or the things you only do with each other. You have your favorite restaurants and hangouts, you have your inside jokes, you probably enjoy a lot of the same things, and you know what to expect from each other. Sure, Will and I have our disagreements, and we get frustrated with each other at times, but for the most part, being together is enjoyable. We don’t get tired of each other. We just do the things we’ve always enjoyed doing together, and it’s great!

3. The relationship moves at a comfortable pace.

I have two things to say about this. First, a lot of Christians get married lightning fast. The joke is that they just want to have sex, but they have to get hitched first, so they speed the process along. I’m sure there’s some truth to that, but I sincerely hope it’s not the whole truth because marriage is a huge step, and you really should be sure you’re ready to commit to marriage with that specific person before you do it. Otherwise, you are likely in for a bumpy road and a lot of heartache. I believe it is entirely possible to meet, fall in love with, and commit to a person for the rest of your life in a very short span of time (my parents did it), but it’s rare. By marrying your best friend, you can take it fast AND slow at the same time. A lot of people we met when we were engaged (or about to get engaged) were shocked that we’d only been together for such a short time, but as soon as we told them we’d been friends for six years, they were fine with us getting married.

Second, I always hated online dating because it took me six dates to decide whether I liked a guy enough even to be friends with him, much less date him. But by the time you’ve been on six dates with someone, news flash, you’re dating. The pace of it always made me uncomfortable. But with Will, I already knew I liked spending time with him as a friend. I then learned pretty quickly that I loved being in a relationship with him, that in fact I loved him. With that knowledge, stepping into engagement was a no-brainer, and even though marriage is a scary prospect that brings a lot of change, we were WAY ready for it by the time our wedding day rolled around.

4. There aren’t a lot of surprises.

Will and I were friends for six years. By the time we started dating, I knew what foods he liked, I knew how he liked to spend his time, I knew (more or less) how tidy he was, I knew the kinds of things he would want to do and the kinds of things he’d need to be coerced into doing. By the time we got married, I knew even more, and that knowledge has been invaluable. They say the first year of marriage is the hardest, and I think that’s the case because there’s just such a steep learning curve if you haven’t been living together beforehand. But when you marry your best friend, you know what you’re getting for the most part.

5. You always have a buddy.

We fully acknowledge the fact that we are disgustingly sweet a LOT of the time, and the romantic part of being in a good relationship is GREAT. But sometimes, you just don’t feel lovey-dovey. Sometimes you feel wretched and gross and gassy, and you don’t want to be touched. Sometimes you’ve had a hard day, and you don’t want to deal with it. You just want to watch TV and veg out. Sometimes you’re tired and don’t feel sexy at all. And in those moments, the good thing about being married to your best friend is that you’ve always got a buddy. You’ve always got your friendship – your simple enjoyment of each other’s company – to fall back on. You CAN just veg out together and watch TV. You CAN just lie next to each other in bed and look at Facebook. You don’t feel the need to constantly impress each other, and you don’t have to worry when the googly-eyed phase of your relationship stops being a 24/7 thing. Our googly eyes come and go, but our friendship fills in the gaps in between.

6. You can talk about everything.

I mean everything. Everything from the frequency and consistency of your bowel movements to theories on life and purpose. And when things are tough and you need to talk to someone, you’ve always got your best friend there with you, wanting to hear what you have to say. And when things are absolutely abysmal and you would rather not talk about it because you think it will hurt too much, you’ve got your best friend there too, encouraging you to keep talking or just letting you cry it out.

If you didn’t marry your best friend, I don’t think it’s too late to be married to your best friend. We got there slowly, and with a lot of movies. I think you can too. Find some common ground, have fun together, make jokes, laugh, flirt, watch silly TV shows, talk about your poop, ask about each other’s day, talk about your hopes and dreams and theories on life and purpose, and maybe do a little smoochin’.

*This post was co-written by Will and Beth. We are also available for parties…but bear in mind, we are very awkward at them.*

Annual Birthday Recap: 33

Man, this time last year, Will, Whitney and I were in Charleston so that Will could ask my dad if he could marry me, and Whitney could eat some she-crab soup. Both missions were successful.

Thirty-three was a pretty wild ride. Here’s a recap for you since I didn’t blog a lot:


Will and I got engaged on March 27, so it was the first significant thing that happened to me at 33. You can read the story here if you want.

Engagement Photos

The timing on this was tricky because we had to do it before it got too hot and sticky in NC, and we had to do it at a time when Amaris was available, and we had to find a time when I wasn’t teaching, and we had to do it before I had my face cut all up. And although it was tricky, and it was starting to get hot and sticky, I think we got some really good shots. Here’s one of our favorites.

Photo by Amaris Fotographic
Photo by Amaris Fotographic – http://www.amarisfotographic.com/

Surgery on My Face

I had a little basal cell carcinoma on my forehead that was removed about 14 hours after our engagement photo session ended, so basically it was a good thing those pictures came out so good because for the next couple of weeks, I had a giant bandage on my forehead that looked sort of like a Pringle. We called me Pringle-face. It was not so pleasant, but it did provide me with one of my favorite student interactions of the year. The first day I walked into class without the Pringle bandage, one of my students said, with pleased surprise, “Hey teacher! You regrow your face!”


Dear God the moving. Always the moving. If we don’t have to move this year, that will be wonderful. If we do, we’re hiring people. We are too old to be doing it ourselves, and our friends are too old to be paid in pizza. And we live in a third-floor walk-up that actually requires you to go DOWN two floors before you go up three. I cringe just thinking about how many trips we took up and down those freaking stairs moving my stuff in over the course of about two weeks. And then I unpacked over the course of about three months. A little advice, friends. Hire movers. Then spend your energy on unpacking so that it all gets done in a shorter amount of time. I hate living so unsettled like that.

The Very Unfortunate Destruction of My Toe

The day after I moved, we helped some friends move, and in the course of that, I stubbed my toe worse than you can ever imagine stubbing a toe. When you stub your toe on the bed in the middle of the night, that is NOTHING. I won’t give you any details about it because I am a little queasy just thinking about it, but suffice it to say that I couldn’t wear anything but flip-flops for several weeks, and I couldn’t sleep with that foot under the covers for at least a month. Awesome.

Bridal Pictures

After my face had healed enough, I had another photo session. The timing of this one was also tricky. Amaris was getting ready to go to Italy, so we had to do it before that. But we had to wait for my face to mostly heal so I didn’t look like the bride of Frankenstein. Also, it was still really hot and sticky. And on the day of the photo shoot, it rained before we could get the outdoors portion of our plan done. We ended up going back to Amaris’s house, where we got one of my favorite shots of the whole day.

Photo by Amaris Fotographic
Photo by Amaris Fotographic – http://www.amarisfotographic.com/

Wedding Planning

We still wonder if it would have better just to elope. I enjoyed seeing everyone at the wedding, which I guess is why you have a wedding, but the whole thing exhausted and stressed me out more than I ever want to be exhausted or stressed out again. Maybe I shouldn’t have kids? I know there are people out there who really like that kind of stuff, but it was not my cup of tea at all. Never again.


That’s just nuts. We still can’t believe it’s real. We still feel very much like we felt at this moment:

Photo by Amaris Fotographic
Photo by Amaris Fotographic – http://www.amarisfotographic.com/


We spent our honeymoon in Gatlinburg and Asheville, and it was GLORIOUS! We read books, we slept a LOT (mostly because we both got sick, bless our hearts), we did the cheesiest tourist things you can imagine, including Ripley’s Believe It Or Not “Odditorium,” a sky lift, airbrushed t-shirt, and a caricature. The caricature is framed and hanging on our wall of random stuff, and I plan to make a throw pillow out of the t-shirt, maybe this summer when I have the time.

The Holidays

They happened. We spent our first married Thanksgiving here with Will’s family and our first married Christmas in Charleston with mine, and both were great. By that time, we had started to recover a little bit from the wedding, and we were able to enjoy just being off work and hanging out with family and friends.

This Semester

Y’all, this semester is beating me up every day like a mean, horrible bully. I have stress dreams about my students. I feel like I’m working all the time. I’m counting down to the day when these classes will end, and I’ll get to breathe again (52 days). Incidentally, I will also get to blog more when this semester ends, so we can look forward to that. Well, at least I can look forward to that. I won’t speak for you.

But no matter how hard it is, I get to come home every night to this sweet man, who cooks dinner for me, then snuggles with me while I fall into a coma for eight hours, then wakes me up in the morning, encourages me to get out of bed, and lovingly pours me a bowl of cereal when I’m running late from staying in the bed for too long.

Photo by Amaris Fotographic
Photo by Amaris Fotographic – http://www.amarisfotographic.com/

It’s been a tough, stressful, wonderful, exciting, amazing, sweet, crazy, incredible, exhausting, unbelievable year. I can’t wait to see what 34 brings!


I don’t think I believe in New Year’s resolutions. For one thing, almost nobody keeps them. It’s no secret – gyms see 30-40% increases in membership in January and February, but in March, they’re back to the few but faithful. But more than that, there are two reasons I think I’m going to forgo the resolutions this year.

  1. You can make changes whenever you want. I started flossing two weeks ago. So close to January 1, but I didn’t want to wait. That’s silly. I wanted to make a change, so I made it. I think we make changes when we’re ready to make them – no sooner, no later. If you put a date on a change, but you aren’t ready to make it then, it probably won’t stick. If you put a date on a change, but you’re ready to make it now, why wait? Of course, there are exceptions to this. Will and I got engaged on March 27 and were ready to get married by March 30, but we waited until September 28 because we wanted to have all our friends and family at our wedding, and that takes planning. But if you’re ready to start exercising now and you have everything you need to do it, why put it off? I realize that I’m posting this on New Year’s Day, so making changes now could actually be considered New Year’s resolutions, but you get the point. It’s never too late or too early to make improvements.
  2. Life happens. You can set as many goals as you want, but you can’t anticipate what life is going to throw at you tomorrow (or two months from now or in the next 10 seconds, really). I’m not saying you shouldn’t set goals and take steps toward them. I’m saying people tend to hang so much hope on New Year’s resolutions, and maybe that’s setting yourself up for disappointment. We feel frustrated when our goals are blocked, and when we’ve vowed to make changes that then simply can’t be made, we beat ourselves up over it. So ok, maybe one New Year’s resolution is fine if that resolution is: I will not beat myself up for not achieving every goal I set. I will be kind to myself when life happens.

Top 5 Least Helpful Things to Say to a Bride-to-Be

Dear Married Friends,

If I ever said any of these things to you when you were planning your wedding, I sincerely apologize. Can you ever forgive me?


Dear Everyone Else,

If you have said these things to me, it’s ok. You didn’t know any better. But for future reference, here are some things I hear frequently that have not been very helpful, and some ways you could improve them for other brides-to-be in your life.

  1. “It’s going to fly by.” If by “fly by,” you mean “crawl at a snail’s pace from now to eternity,” you are correct. Sure, you look back on any period of time and wonder how it went so fast, but ah, how quickly we forget the glacial pace at which time felt like it was moving while we were in the middle of that arduous task, whatever it was. So instead of lying to me about it, you could say, “___ more weeks/months/days? Man, that sucks. You’re totally gonna make it, though. Why don’t I help you brainstorm some non-wedding projects to keep you busy?” (That one is for gals like me who have like five things left to do and six more weeks to kill.) OR (for gals who don’t think they have enough time to do everything that’s left) “Why don’t I help you divide your wedding to-do list into daily tasks to make things more manageable? And then you can tell me what you need me to take off your plate.”
  2. “At the end of the day, you’ll be married, and that’s all that matters.” Really? If that’s all that matters, then WHY AM I RIPPING MY HAIR OUT PLANNING THIS GINORMOUS EXPENSIVE VERY COMPLICATED AND ANNOYING PARTY?!?!?!?!?! If that’s all that matters, then all y’all can stay home while we go to the courthouse and get hitched. If that’s all that matters, forget the food and dancing and fancy invitations and favors, and let’s just get married. I said it the other day, and I’ll say it again: I’m glad I’m having a wedding. And now that most of the planning is done, it doesn’t feel so complicated or annoying. But there were weeks, friends, when I heard this so many times, and it was not helpful. What I wanted to hear instead was, “Man, that sucks. I’m so sorry you’re stressed out. Let me buy you a massage with a massage therapist who won’t mind you crying through the whole thing. Then let’s get Chinese take-out and watch stupid YouTube videos and not talk about the wedding at all for the rest of the day.”
  3. “You know what you should do…” This one has a few variations:
    – “You know, what so-and-so did was… You should do that.”
    – “Just don’t do… I saw that at a wedding once, and it was terrible. You know what’s really great, though, is…”
    Unless your advice is for me to drink a bottle of wine, take a bath, turn off my phone, and do whatever the heck I want at my wedding, it will likely not help me. I genuinely do appreciate your desire to help me. I really and seriously do. Thank you. But there are just SO many good ideas out there, and I can’t do them all. They don’t all go together, and I can’t afford them all, and some of them aren’t realistic, and I can’t keep second guessing myself and changing things. I don’t even want to tell you to stop offering advice because really, it can be helpful. Just know that I will not use 99% of your ideas, and don’t be offended by it. It’s really not you; it’s me. When you offer advice like this, maybe present it more as a brainstorm than an opinion. I can pick things I like out of a brainstorming session, but I feel bad rejecting people’s opinions.
  4. “It’s not that expensive.” I am skeptical already because “expensive” is such a relative term. If you got your wedding dress at a boutique for $1200, and your wedding budget is $35k, sure, that’s not very expensive. For YOU. My dress was not very expensive for me. But for someone else, it might have been too much. And at this point, anything more expensive than free is pushing it. Give me numbers, people. I need the cold, hard facts.
  5. “As long as _________ doesn’t happen, you’ll be fine.” The only story like this that has made me feel any better was one about how the groom’s father punched the groom in the face at the wedding. I mean wow. Yeah, as long as I don’t have to carry my brand new husband over the threshold because his dad beat him up at the wedding, we’ll be all good. But still, there are moments in the wedding planning when you’re so caught up in all the what-ifs that your response to this is, “BUT SO MANY OTHER THINGS COULD GO WRONG AND THAT WOULD NOT BE OK!!” So perhaps a more helpful thing to say in those moments would be, “Right now, nothing is going wrong. You can worry about what might go wrong later.” And probably later, I won’t be worried about it. It’s just in that moment of decision-making that I think about all those things. If you give me permission to worry about it later, I probably won’t, but I don’t think you’re patronizing me either.

What do you think? If you’re planning or have planned a wedding, what were the least/most helpful things people said to you?

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

I don’t think I actually read A Tale of Two Cities. I think I got the Cliff’s Notes and faked the rest. But based on the first line alone, I’m pretty sure the whole thing is about engagement. It’s awesome, and it’s horrible, or at least it has been for me. If you found it to be the best time ever, please leave a comment with your experience. With a month and a half left to go, it might help me to have some tips. Here’s how it’s been so far.


I’ve only been working 20 hours a week since May, but I still feel like there’s so much to do. Between wedding planning and moving, there were a couple of months when I came home bleary-eyed and mush-brained every night and just fell into bed. Things have settled down a bit now that the moving is done and most of the wedding is planned, but for a Type B personality, it was rough going there for a while.

(Tangent: You hear about Type A people all the time, but never Type B. I figured that Type B must logically exist if Type A did, but I had to look it up to be sure. It makes sense, though. Type A people have conferences and things because they love planning them, so you hear about Type A people because their conferences are advertised and tweeted about, and they talk about it a lot. Type B people don’t have anything like that because we’re just all soaking in our bathtubs with a glass of wine. End of tangent.)

The problem with a short engagement is that planning a wedding is a lot of work, and all the checklists you find assume that you’ll have a year or more to plan your wedding (Type A people are clearly in charge of the wedding planning guide industry). They have things divided into time chunks. A year or more before your wedding, do these things. 10-12 months before, do these things. 8-10 months before, do these things, and so on. Our engagement will only be six months, though, so in the first two months, I had to cram in all the 4-12+ month tasks.


On the wedding planning front, lots of things are frustrating:

1. I must have called 20+ venues in the first week of planning, and the conversation went like this:

Me: Hi, I’m looking for a venue for my wedding.
Them: Oh great, congratulations! We’d love to help you. Do you have a date in mind?
Me: Yeah, September 28.
Them: (pause)…of this year?
Me: Yeah.
Them: (laughing) No, we’re definitely booked. We could get you in next year.

If I had known we needed to start planning that far in advance to get the perfect place, I could have called and booked things this time last year…before Will and I started dating.

2. I wanted a rustic-chic wedding, in a cool old barn with vintage chandeliers. I wanted to wear a lace dress and carry fabric flowers. I wanted candlelight, simplicity and sweetness. I know now that a simple, rustic-chic wedding would probably cost $30,000 and take a year and a half to plan, and since I’m not willing to spend that much money or time on one day that is really more about being married than getting married, I had to let go of a lot of what I wanted.

3. But letting go is frustrating too because as soon as you let go of the dream wedding and understand what really matters about the day, you think, “Ok, let’s just take our families and go to the courthouse. Then we’ll get 20 of our closest friends to meet us at a great restaurant afterward.” But something (your parents, society, the idea that having a wedding is what you’re “supposed to do,” wanting to see all your friends, wanting to wear the pretty dress, some combination of all of these) makes you keep pushing through the wedding-planning process.

I really am glad we’re having a wedding. I wouldn’t advise anyone else to do it, but in the end, I’m glad it’s happening. I am looking forward to wearing the dress and seeing all our friends and family and having a great big fun party together and seeing Will all dressed up in a 3-piece suit. But the other frustrating thing about engagement is that WE’RE STILL NOT MARRIED.

Oh my gosh HOW are we still not married? In so many ways, it feels like we are, but then I have to leave and go “home.” WHY do I have to leave every night and sleep in a different bed? WHY do we have to go without seeing each other at all some days? WHY don’t we live together?


I mean this in a good way. I used to think people had an engagement period to give them time to plan a wedding. Now I think you plan a wedding so you can be engaged for a while because engagement is the time when you prepare for marriage, not the wedding. And you need time to prepare for marriage.

Wedding planning is stressful and frustrating and hectic, and it has made me cry on several occasions. But that’s ok because when I cry, Will tells me it’s all going to be ok, and that I’m not in it alone. He reassures me that he is with me every step of the way, and that I don’t have to fend for myself. It has also made us argue, which is actually great because we never argued before, and couples in healthy relationships argue. In our arguing, I found that anger and frustration with Will don’t make me want to leave him. Not even a little bit. They just make me want to not be angry or frustrated. So we work toward a solution and toward understanding, and usually when we understand each other, a solution becomes apparent.

During our engagement, we’ve gone through premarital counseling, and that gave us lots of opportunities to talk about things we might not have talked about earlier. We’ve learned things about each other that we never knew and that will help us in the future to understand. It’s been a time of growth for us as a couple, and for that, I appreciate our time of engagement.


Sometimes my ring catches my eye when the light hits it, and I’m just overwhelmed with love and contentment. Knowing that someone loves me as much as Will does is just amazing. I was single for so long, and I didn’t really date a lot, so I got really good at talking my hopes down. It was enough for me to be loved by God and to have a great family and friends that felt like great family. And that is still enough. It’s not that I need the love of a man now that I have it. But holy cow, it’s a fantastic bonus.

And maybe even more than that, having someone to love in this way is so nice. Every day, I offer him a part of who I am, and every day, he wants it and accepts it completely. Loving someone else and looking out for his best interests means (I hope) that I’m becoming a little less selfish, and accepting the same from him means I’m learning to trust more and not to fight so hard for myself. It means I don’t have to worry about myself at all because I know I’m taken care of. And in return, I get the joy of taking care of him.

Despite the frustration, it really is a very sweet time of learning and growth together, and the emotion that overrides all the others, when I really think about it, is gratitude. I hope I can always remember that in the future when things are hectic and frustrating.