By Julie Sanders, Crosswalk.com
I picked him up at the airport just before midnight, scruffy and weary after two days of travel. We had been apart for a month, a decision we prayed about and made together. Though I stayed behind, I felt like part of what he was doing. Questions about our commitment to each other never entered in. It’s one of the best things about marrying your best friend.
Follow the hashtag #bestfriend on Instagram and you’ll find over 61 million images including pets, marriage proposals, babies, teenagers, and more pets. A lot of couples describe themselves with the label “best friend” on social media before they marry and on special occasions later on.
It isn’t until life partners live in the pressure cooker of life together that they dig deeper than companionship and cultivate true friendship.
Best friends aren’t born, they’re developed. Treasured friendships usually grow over time and through shared experiences spanning seasons leading to uncommon understanding between two people. Some like to think marriage and friendship are best kept in different beds.
However, marriage between best friends takes both matrimony and friendship to a whole new level. Here are 5 of the best things about marrying your best friend.
Be married to the one who knows you best.
Have you ever played the Newlywed Game at a marriage event or small group? Everyone wants to be the couple who knows all the answers about each other. No one wants to be the disconnected partner who can’t remember their lover’s favorite drive-thru order.
Ironically, recalling our favorite comedy and the song we first danced to doesn’t always indicate how good our married life really is. “Knowing” goes way beyond the facts of casual friendship.
The Bible uses the same word for “knowing” each other sexually that it uses to describe the understanding of a person inside a love relationship. “But whoever loves God is known by God,” (1 Corinthians 8:3). To be genuinely loved is to be genuinely known. To be genuinely known is to be genuinely loved.
By learning to have full knowledge of each other, we understand each other. Nowhere else does a relational level of knowing reach the depths of who we are at our core than in living life as partners, including sharing physical intimacy with each other. One of the best things about marrying your best friend is the liberty a couple finds.
The freedom of friendship expresses itself in open communication, cooperative partnership, and yes, unhindered intimacy. It’s so good to be fully known by a best friend who has marriage partner level “clearance.”
Choose to accept the one you love.
The love of a husband for his wife leads to acceptance. As he exercises “agape” love for her, he intentionally turns from other priorities, accepting her, and joining himself to her. This decision to attach comes from a divinely created design to develop a best friendship. With the full acceptance of an intimately known friend, a husband and wife experience certain acceptance.
Acceptance doesn’t come with a guarantee of constant delight, cooperation, or satisfaction. Instead, matrimony purposing to get to the best friend level assures both partner that when the going gets tough, the friend won’t get going. The decision to gut it out through ups and downs demonstrates that the relationship is more than good company; it’s committed to stretch through the seasons.
Honest married people will admit to having had head shaking moments of frustration with their spouse. They may even think back to a “different option” who had best friend potential but didn’t embark on the journey of seasons and years, of highs and lows, to get to the kind of knowing you only know in marriage. But being married to your best friend allows for the benefit of full acceptance across the landscape of feelings.
Being married to your best friend means, “the two will become one flesh,” (Ephesians 5:31). Husband and wife accept one another into one another so that they join their separate lives into a single life. We know they maintain their uniqueness as God created them, but in a mysterious way, being known in one flesh overflows into being accepted in that oneness.
Believe in the best friend next to you.
When you’re deeply known and totally accepted by the best friend you’re married to, you get to a level of safety you didn’t know you could reach with another, imperfect human being. You find yourself there at the table, in the pew, in bed, and online. You trust.
Experiencing trust with a marriage partner doesn’t exclude having a BFF of your same gender. Husbands benefit from someone to hang out with on a guy’s night. Wives find it helpful to have a girlfriend to share with. In fact, closer friendship with your spouse usually results in further freedom to have a dear friend of your own kind.
Confident belief in the trustworthy reliability of our mate leads to a stronger bond.
Remember the early days of your relationship? Maybe you wondered if you were really both serious. Maybe you wondered if someone else was moving in on your territory. Maybe you questioned if your mate enjoyed flirting with others. Maybe you wanted to see who was texting. There’s no substitute for time and testing to develop trust between friends and, even more, between married partners.
Friendships fall apart without trust, and so do marriages. But trust has a way of forging strong bonds taking friendships and marriages to “best friend” levels.
Love being with the one you love.
God gave Adam all of creation to enjoy, but He made a husband and wife to enjoy other exclusively. Eve was no animal! And despite what wives may think at times, a husband is no animal either. While neither mate is created to provide all the other would need, the Creator makes it clear His carefully matched design is intended to bring joy.
After God acknowledged man’s state of being alone was “not good,” He responded to the need by making a woman. Instead of being perpetually separated from anyone who would “get” him, God prepared a matching mate to be the kind of partner who would be known, accepted, and trusted. In a garden of first-born created creatures, God brought the first one flesh union together with an invitation to, “Enjoy each other like no other.”
The invitation to know, receive, trust and enjoy each other was in a class of its own. It’s as if God forged marriage and friendship together in a relational category all its own. So few go there when they settle for companionship or even relationship. To build marriage on best friendship is to go to a sacred place.
“Adam, my friend, this is the best friend you’re hoping for.”
“Eve, my daughter, this is the best friend you’ll be dreaming of.”
I don’t have to be my husband’s hiking buddy, just like he doesn’t have to be my pottery class partner. Having our own interests makes us more interesting! But actively pursuing shared experiences and mutual interests moves us one step closer to being married to our best friend.
When we live in a veiled version of harmony, less than best friends, we miss out on God’s invitation to fully enjoy the other half of our one flesh union. Without pursuing depth of friendship, husbands and wives risk hovering in shallow layers of life together without taking the plunge into the purest streams intended for their oneness. No one wants to stay in murky, standing water; it tends to stagnate.
Hold fast to your friend and mate.
A deep, clear quality of married life to a best friend is a place we want to stay. Are you suddenly feeling like your marriage is a thin substitute for what could and should be a rich life married to your best friend in life? If you want the confidence and security that comes with being one flesh this way, you’re not alone.
If you want more for your marriage, you’re wanting exactly what God wants. He planned for this amazing potential to move in powerful ways in our marriages. No one can pray for a husband like a wife or husband for a wife. No one can be such a completely safe relationship as a wife for a husband and a husband for a wife. Marriage can be a safe, powerful, inspiring place to be when you’re there with your closest friend. When a marriage bond also becomes a best friend bond, it’s a powerful place to be.
Rather than fear you’ve married the wrong person or lost the chance to go deeper, be encouraged that it’s not too late. Best friends aren’t born, they’re developed. Your marriage and your friendship hasn’t become all it can be yet. There’s so much more to develop and discover together.
Genesis 2:24 explains that when a man and woman get together, it’s the beginning of learning to “hold fast” to each other. Marriage is created to be a safe place to find a sacred quality of security.
God wants you to get to genuine #bestfriend status in your #marriedlife. These are just five of the best things about marrying your best friend. Put the power of prayer and the Holy Spirit to work to get to know, accept, trust, enjoy, and keep the best friend you married.
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Julie Sanders loves helping women find God’s peace in today’s challenging times. She is the author of Expectant, The ABCs of Praying for Students, and the creator of How to Prayer Walk for Your School. She and her husband call Central Oregon home, but serve leaders globally and cross-culturally. Julie can be found at juliesanders.org.