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.*