I Didn’t Marry My Best Friend…

9118e5f4700100d322894dd9f93476b5When you read on Facebook or twitter the sugary sweet posts about being married to your best friend you probably have one of two responses.  You either share in that warm cuddly feeling and then immediately repost the sentiment or you throw up in your throat just a little.  I'm the second one.  I'm not married to my best friend.  My best friends are female and they are experts at being my best friends.  They have known me 4 times longer than he has.  They are wired to want to talk to me and outstanding at listening.  They are better at reading my mind (and my blog) than he may ever be.  They are fun and relaxing to go on vacation with and are always my first choice if I need to have a good cry.  We have experienced more milestones, seasons, stages, phases and changes together than he and I have had time for.  They know how to deal with me.  They get me.  But they've had decades of practice.  And they are women!    

As a therapist I see many marriages falling apart because women are saying, "He should know what I need, If he loved me it wouldn't be this hard, I'm tired of telling him what I need, He's not my best friend."  The truth is he shouldn't know what we need instinctively.  We don't always even know what we need.  And no matter how tired we are of telling him what we need, telling him is the most guaranteed way that he will know!  And just because he doesn't measure up to our best friend doesn't mean we aren't loved.  We are destroying our marriages and our men expecting them to have crystal balls, a female desire to befriend us and an accurate assessment of our ever changing needs.  We assume that if our marriages take work then I must not be in the right marriage.  Which is a lot like saying that I must be in the wrong career if my job ever feels laborious.  Or I must have had the wrong kids if they are ever difficult to deal with.  Good marriages are work and we are doing ourselves a disservice to compare our work in progress to somebody else's perceived finished product or Facebook post.  

I almost destroyed my marriage expecting for it to feel like a friendship I had with my girlfriends of thirty plus years.  I married a man.  A man who isn't as sensitive, compassionate or observant as my girlfriends.  A man who doesn't like to talk and who believes that listening can be done without eye contact.  But he is a man who nevertheless loves me.  A good man.  Perhaps, the best of men.  But not a good woman.  He infuriates me and fascinates me.  He introduces me to feelings of love and anger that I never knew existed.  Our marriage doesn't contain a lot of cloud walking, rolling around in flowers and chocolate eating moments.  We aren't a Hallmark card. What it does contain are a lot of faithful days of living life and trying to do the next right thing for each other and for our world.  
 
I've realized that my relationship with my husband is much like my relationship with God.  He loves me unconditionally and like God, is painfully silent sometimes.  He isn't motivated by my mood swings or tantrums.  And no matter how I treat him he is still there willing to try again as we figure out this journey.  He is almost impossible to make angry and always speaks the truth.  He is faithful to go to work and faithful to return home.  He knows who is and who he isn't.  He isn't my best friend.  And when I let go of the expectation that he should be it produced the freedom necessary for him to become my husband.  Which is really what I needed in the first place.  
 
 
      

6 thoughts on “I Didn’t Marry My Best Friend…

  1. Fran

    That is so well said, Missy.  Although I have to say, after 48 years of marriage my husband is becoming more and more my best friend.  No, he will never replace my female sisters.  But he gives me that males perspective that I need.  Sometimes in moments of frustration I think, "I need a wife!"  Then sanity returns as I think, "Really?  You would really want to put up with another you?"  I'm so glad he puts up with me and loves me!

    Reply
  2. DD

    just wanted to say thank you. i have no idea who you are but this post may have just saved me from giving up on a 20+ year relationship with a very good and kind man. i have been struggling with the "he's not my best friend/he just doesn't get me" narrative for a few years now — and maybe that's not the best barometer for assessing a marriage, or at least not mine. And maybe that is okay — or at least a reason not to ditch. thanks again for this post — you have no idea.

    Reply
  3. Donna Dunn

    Missy,
    You have such a gift of writing. I’ve already started over three times!
    I once made a statement that a few of my friends didn’t quite understand. I said I wasn’t “in love” with my husband. Later, I thought I said that all wrong. I love my husband. What I meant to say was I am not blind to his
    faults and what we have together
    and all you said about he is not my girlfnd and

    he doesn’t get it that I don’t want him to do
    anything, I just want him to listen. He is just a Guy and doesn’t get it! That’s ok

    Reply
  4. Donna Dunn

    Anyway, we are going to celebrate our 30th in August. We love each other more every day. Your right, he is not my girlfriend, he is my man!
    Donna

    Reply
  5. Nena Roberts

    Missy!

    Thank you for this! My husband is my friend, but not my best friend, and I used to waste precious time and energy being mad at him for not being something he couldn't be! This article is something every woman needs to read!

    Nena

    Reply
  6. Mark

    Bravo. A post that even a guy can appreciate. I'm not going to say anymore about it . . . because I'm a guy.

     

    Reply

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