I loved my husband very much on the day we said, “I do,” but there was something I struggled with inside: I didn’t quite understand why women called their husbands their best friend. I had a best friend, and it wasn’t Andy.
The root of this struggle, I think, was my desire to be known. Really known. My best friend had known me since middle school. Laurel knew my passions and dreams, my fears and my insecurities. She knew my weaknesses and loved me despite them. How was I supposed to suddenly shift my allegiance to a man who cared for me very much but didn’t have years and years of knowing me?
You might think everything changed after the wedding day, but it didn’t. My husband made me laugh and we created fun memories, but if I needed to share deep and intimate parts of my heart with someone, I called Laurel. I felt jealous when I heard Laurel describe her husband as her best friend. But I thought I was your best friend.
I just didn’t get it. Why was it so hard for me to think of Andy as my best friend? He was one of my best friends, sure, but… my best? (I should tell you I married at 21, in case you’re thinking it’s silly that a grown woman had these thoughts. I still had a lot of growing up to do!)
There was also the doubt that I was my husband’s best friend. I saw the way his face lit up when one of his buddies would call and I noticed he stayed on the phone with friends much longer than he stayed on the phone with me. (One possible reason: I know next to nothing about fantasy sports leagues.) I saw the look of dread when I would beg for a “walk around downtown” date and the look of excitement when his friends would suggest a game of golf. I couldn’t blame him. What did I prefer — playing video games for hours on end or popping into boutiques with my girlfriends? (Definitely the latter.)
I started to think the whole “my husband/wife is my best friend” thing was a bunch of baloney. Maybe it’s just something people say because they think they’re supposed to say it, I thought. It makes sense that girls enjoy doing girly things with their friends and guys like doing guy things with theirs. Why should we force it?
Once I stopped putting pressure on our level of friendship, I stopped feeling threatened by Andy’s friends, and by Laurel’s relationship with her husband. I felt more secure in my marriage and chose to focus on all of the wonderful things Andy and I did share.
Then, a series of events brought us closer than ever. We moved to a city where we knew no one but each other. The following summer a late-term stillbirth rocked our happy little world. We were determined to be partners in our grief and not allow it to separate us, even though we processed our loss in different ways. This year brought a second pregnancy and a second stillbirth.
Over these past few years Andy has seen me cry more than ever before. He’s watched my heart break over and over. He’s listened to my angry rants and my pleading prayers and my requests for grace. He’s watched my dreams crumble and my hands go up in confused surrender. And I’ve seen him do the same.
Now, without hesitation, I can say my husband is my best friend. Now we not only love each other but we know and accept each other. Now our lives are messy and our emotions are all over the place, but we choose to lean in close and rest in the security of our love. Now I see that as a young bride I was expecting a depth in my marriage that only years of living life together could bring.
Laura Rennie lives in Maryland with her hilarious husband and constantly shedding dog. She loves reading, writing and playing word games. Her greatest desire is to share Jesus through her words and actions as she learns how to be a better wife, daughter, sister and friend.