“Any fool can have a trophy wife; it takes a real man to have a trophy marriage.” -Diane Sollee
You know you’re married to your best friend when you overhear other friends remarking about how good your marriage really is. My wife and I have had that experience, and I can tell you it’s truly gratifying. It’s even more so when we hear others speak in envy of what we have, and wish they had it in their own relationship. We’ve taken a bit of good-natured ribbing about the verbiage we use, how we’re ‘married best friends’, but we don’t mind. We write it off to simple jealousy, and go on. It’s just true; we are married best friends, and we believe that’s what every married couple ought to be able to say.
The following is a list of insights, a checklist, if you will, that you may use to determine if you might perhaps be married to your best friend. Bear in mind that describing yourselves this way may cause people to look at you funny, but that’s the price you have to pay, and believe us it’s worth it.
You may be married to your best friend if they’re the first person you think of with any kind of news–good, bad, worse, indifferent. You can’t wait to pick up the phone, text them, e-mail, something to let them know what you found out, and to share it with them. Everyone else comes later.
You may be married best friends if their name pops up in any discussion of any issue that is in any way important: career, kids, vehicles, bills, the house, pets, meal planning, friends, you get the idea. Talking about a hangnail may seem downright silly, but guess who you tell? That’s right, your best pal, and how convenient if it’s your spouse?
You may be married best friends if you’d rather go to Target with them than to Paris with anyone else. That may seem preposterous, but my wife and I can say that, and we mean it. I’d love to see Paris. I intend to see Paris someday. Go without her? No way.
So how does the average all American married couple attain the exalted status of married best friends? It might sound a bit disingenuous, but I’d hope you married that person right out of the gate. We don’t believe for one second that anyone, regardless of the reason they married in the first place doesn’t feel at some level that they’re with the person they should be with, the person they married. It may depend on your definition of friendship, but if so, here’s the continuing list. See how it matches up with your definition.
You might be married best friends if you think this discussion is downright silly and totally unnecessary. Why is that? We’ve also had people tell us, after looking through our website, that they don’t need what we’re offering; that they already have it, so they’re just fine, thank you ever so much.
Here’s what we tell them: We’re extremely happy for you. We feel like everyone should have a marriage based on friendship, and when we identify people who have that, we’re grateful for it.
You may be married to your best friend if, when you turn in for the night, pull the bedroom door shut, and huddle under the covers, there’s simply no place on earth you’d rather be than right there, holding that beloved person in your arms–I’m going to get mushy here, just a warning–feeling their soft, comfortable body next to yours, thinking that you are in fact the richest person in the whole world. You might be married to your best friend if you know they feel the same way.
Okay, so how do you maintain that, that’s the real question. If we said it was easy you’d know we were either ’round the bend or newlyweds, or both–the two conditions are mutually exclusive–so here’s the deal. Here are a number of ways to keep that friendship from ebbing, and your marriage alive and friendly.
This one is going to seem terribly naive, but it truly is the simple stuff, kind of like what your mother told you. Be nice. It really works. Even when you feel awful, or have an issue, you’re tired, or stressed, make an effort to be gentle with each other. Consider your marriage a safe harbor where your mate really wants to be. Take a breath, bite your tongue if need be, count to ten–okay one hundred, and go easy even when it’s not exactly how you feel. My wife and I use this little acronym: ACK, always choose kind.
About that ‘issue’, here’s how to tell when to hold ’em, and when to fold ’em. Whomever feels most passionately about it wins. It’s a rare issue about which you can’t unanimously agree that one of you simply cares more, or more likely the case, one of you cares less. Something else we use is the win-win, as opposed to the zero-sum: Winning an argument doesn’t mean the other loses. It just means one felt more strongly about that particular issue. End of discussion. Have you ever come away from a dustup feeling a bit silly about how much heat and how little light there was at the end? You can agree to disagree, and that’s the friendliest way to go.
Kids. Wow, how much energy, time, resources do we put into our children? And guess what? They leave. Too many of us ignore the fact that kids are truly secondary to a marriage. That may seem like an outrageous statement. But imagine how the kids would feel about it if they knew all your attention to them could lead to your own separation? Our guess is that, given almost any level of understanding, the kids themselves would opt for the two of you hanging in there as a unit.
Here’s a typical phone interchange between married people: “Hello, hey did you remember to pick up the laundry at the dry cleaners? Great, and how about the tickets to the..? Got them? Great, then have you..?” See what’s wrong here?
How about this instead: “Hello, have I told you lately that I really love you, and that you’re the most beautiful person I know? I haven’t? Shame on me. Hey, while I have you, did you remember to..?” Different? Sure is. Silly and inane? Possibly, but take the chance. We need to be more loving, affectionate, and even silly with each other. Hey, it’s what best friends do. Be kind; be affectionate; be more loving and considerate. It really is pretty easy.