Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Still here, still opinionated

Hi. My name is Anna. It's been 22 days since my last blog.

Today's topic kindof just plopped in my uniform-clad lap. And it is:

Marrying your best friend

I have been married for 4.83 years. So, this opinion comes from that length of experience. Keep that in mind.

I think you should either marry your best friend, or make the person you marry your best friend. Either way, you should be married to your best friend.

I know I'm not alone in this, so if you agree, you might wonder why this is even a topic of discussion.

Today in my office, it was quite the heated discussion (along with all the important, mission-essential Air Force communicating we were doing).

A coworker got off the phone with who she claimed was her best friend whom she dearly loved, no other guy like him in the world, big smile on face. I suggested that he was the kind of person she should marry, but she immediately threw out the typical excuses: We're more like brother and sister, we know each other too well, we're too much alike, and so on. To me, these aren't real excuses. A real excuse would be: I am so not attracted to him, he has a girlfriend/boyfriend, he doesn't ever want to get married, etc...

So, to add fuel to my suggestion, I asked the other guy in the room, who had been married for all of a week and a half, didn't he agree that you should marry your best friend. And he did not agree.

He claimed your relationships with your best friends should be separate from your marriage. Your best friends, he said, take you out and get you drunk and create crazy memories. Your spouse is the steady, supportive person you always come back home to. Your best friends are the people who do the things you love with you, while your spouse is the one you compromise to do the things he/she loves with.

Obviously, we have different viewpoints on this and here's what I tried to share with both of them.

Of course you need to have friends, even best friends, outside of your marriage. You need to have your own hobbies, your own space, your alone time, all of that. You need to have/build/earn enough trust in your partner that you can go do "crazy" activities (alcohol optional) with others without it causing a riff.

But your spouse as your best friend means that is the person you'd rather hang out with than anyone else in the world. That is the person you want to tell your good or bad news to first. That is the person who knows the most about you and loves you anyway. That is your person you want to build crazy memories with, because that is the person you're committed to life with. That is the person who will walk through all the mud and muck of life with you, make you run faster to the finish line, call you out when you're not being true to yourself. That is the person you respect and honor enough to fight fair, both be winners and come out even better friends.

Now, I usually ask a question at the end of my blogs that a person or two will answer, but they go largely ignored. Today, though, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. I could've gone on and on about the spouse-as-best-friend philosophy, but I have a feeling some of you could either say it better or inform my opinion.

So let's have it. Should you marry your best friend? Are your best friend and your spouse distinct and separate relationships? What about that friend you love, but just aren't attracted to in "that way?" Any of you marry that one?

Over to you...

11 comments:

  1. I also wrote a little about this subject in my blog post today. Here is an excerpt that I think fits with your questions. "When I married him (Terry) I really did marry my best friend. Do you remember when you were younger, teenager years maybe, and you and your best friend were inseparable? I do. I spent many summers camped out at my friend's houses. There were times when I would spend every day with a best friend and it was awesome...until it wasn't. Inevitably we would reach that point after so many days of being with each other all day every day where we were on each other's nerves and we just needed some time a part. So we would take a few days off and then be inseparable again. I think that's what happens in a marriage sometimes. Terry is absolutely without a doubt my very best friend. I can be myself (even when I am messy or silly or ditzy or mean) with true abandon, I always have someone to hang out with, and he thinks I'm funny (most of the time). But, inevitably, we reach a point where we are spending too much time together and we both end up annoyed. We are faced with 2 choices. We can be irritable and fight, or we can take a break and I can let him play video games with his friends until 2 AM and I can go sit on the porch swing and read. As we mature in our relationship we are learning to recognize the signs of burnout and make choices that will be healthy for our marriage. Growing isn't always comfortable, but it is worth it!"

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  2. Wow! I can't imagine not being married to my best friend. In fact J and I were having this conversation the other day. I am in agreement with you (as is he) that yes your spouse should be your best friend. I think everyone (whether they admit it or not) has that one friend that they want to hang out with the most, and then all the other friends are there in case that one is busy, you know the one, the one you pick up the phone to call first when you have news (good or bad). Maybe we are just lucky that this person happens to be our spouse(s).

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  3. Anna, you are so talented in your communication...you say so much so well. I agree wholeheartedly with your philosophy.

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  4. Thanks for giving me something to do when I cannot sleep in the wee hours of the night ;) I definitely agree one should marry their best friend or make their spouse their best friend. Otherwise, there can be a habit of going to others first to share difficulties or triumphs, when that person should be your spouse. Of course we all need other friends & an independent life, but the closeness/"oneness" in a marriage should be like no other. I ended a relationship years ago b/c that person was too much of a "friend" -- looking back, I ended things with a stable, trustworthy, wonderful person, as I persued something more fairy-talish. While obviously I do not regret how things turned out, I do wish I had the maturity back then to understand what one should want in a spouse. Just my thoughts :)

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  5. So glad you are back on...missed your voice! :)

    And I TOTALLY agree! We, too, are pushing the 5 year milestone...hehehheee....and Arno, from a male perspective, will tell you that I am his best friend. In fact, he is more of a loner type of person, but now his loner "space" includes me ALWAYS...

    Don't get me wrong! I LOVE my girl best friends but to be married and have a "different" guy as a best friend throws up HUGE warning signs for me. I had a lot of guy best friends in college and it almost always ended weird. If people are doing having other opposite sex best friends while married, I think they are probably disillusioned or lying to themselves about the other person's feelings or their own....guess I have a few opinions too!! :) :)

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  6. My wife Andrea and I were not what I would call "best friends" when we got married. I knew of her for several years, but from the time we started seriously pursuing each other, until the time we got married, it had only been five months...not really long enough to become lifelong friends through the best and worst of times; but plenty of time to fall completely in love with the person that was handpicked for me at the beginning of time. That was 11 years ago, and she has, without a doubt, become my absolute best friend; even closer than my friend Steve, a 27 year "closer-than-a-brother" friendship.

    I feel that how you define "love" in relation to your spouse is much more important than "is my wife/husband my best friend." We have 4 children (#4 due in Nov.), so if there is a disagreement, we don't always have the luxury of being away from each other for short periods, or "taking time to cool off", because children watch and imitate everything. I am very hard-headed when it comes to conceding an argument, but it is imperative that our children see that love is absolute selflessness in a marriage.

    Engaging your lifelong best friend may slightly reduce the infatuation consistent with the idea of marriage, but nothing can truly prepare you for marriage like true love (read: absolute selflessness). *(Guys...pay extra close attention to the wedding vows, and NOT your bride's plunging neckline, so that you know what you're getting yourself into)

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  7. My hubby and I are definitely best friends...We dated three years before getting married and we most certainly, in those three years became inseparable and the best of friends. He is who I talk about everything to, plan fun things to do with and just love to be around.

    I think having good girlfriends is important too, which I do, but my bestest friend has to be my G!

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  8. I want to speak on behalf of the coworker you tried to play matchmaker for. I doubt she was saying she didn’t want her future husband to be her best friend. But I do think she was saying that she didn’t want THIS best friend to be her future husband. Just think, what if John married his best girlfriend before you? Or you married your best guy friend before John? It would not have been the right person for either of you, although they were probably great people-and perhaps friends on the outside looking in thought they were perfect marriage material for you and/or John at the time. A BFF could end up being your spouse (and how great would that be!), but that person could also be just a really faithful friend and no one should be pushed to date them because they have had a solid friendship for years. It seems to me (single as I might be) that one does not “vow” anything before God and man when having a best friend, but one does “vow” when he/she takes a spouse. No community holds a best friendship together – only a marriage. That said, I am sure when your coworker or even myself gets married someday, we are looking forward to a marriage built on love AND a deep friendship. Until that time though I am going to have to say “no” to dating my best guy friends…they are too much like a brother to me ;)

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  9. We didn't start out as best friends. In fact, I wouldn't say that we are "there" yet either. Not that it's a bad thing, but communication is just not B's thing. If I want to gab about something, he'd rather I call a girlfriend. That's not to say that we don't talk or that we don't enjoy being together. I think we'd rather be with each other over friends anyday. But I think the title "Best Friend" holds a lot more weight for girls than it does for guys. I know that my husband would "be there" any time I needed but he's not the one I "talk" things through with. He's too much of a fixer when I just need ears. But we're getting there. I think it just takes time to figure each other out.
    On a side note, I don't think it's EVER ok for a married person to have a best friend of the opposite sex. Too much gray there. There's something special about having a best friend of the same sex though. There's a hormonal bond I guess :D

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  10. Well, I have tons to say on this subject. I work with couples in all stages of their lives together; pre-marriage, newly married, new parents, long term marriages....all coming due to some need to work through gridlocked issues, communication breakdowns, conflict regulation, difficulty compromising on important life decisions. The list of reasons are endless. And in my experience the couples that find their way back to one another are the ones who truly love and respect one another and treat each other as friends.
    My soon to be was-band and I weren't fit to be life partners, but we are very dear and close friends; like family to one another. Marriage IS more than a friendship,it is much deeper, much more intimate as it should be, but friendship is just one of the important ingredients for a sustainable marriage.
    My two cents.

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  11. i say marry your best friend and keep this person as your best friend. people do fulfill different roles in one's life, but your spouse should be your partner in 99% of them!

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