“He said he’s not my best friend anymore,” Colby related the workthrough tears as he got in the car after school.
My (Bonnie here) heart went out to my little guy as he shared with me how his best buddy had stomped off to play with someone else during recess when Colby wouldn’t go along with what he wanted to play. You have to understand that hearing the words “best friend” usually rubs me like stroking a cat in the wrong direction for this very reason. I’ve tried to steer my two kiddos away from using that term because of what it says to their other friends. Calling someone my BEST friend says that everyone else falls short of first place. It’s an exclusive term than can even cause hurt feelings in grown-ups if it’s used carelessly. But what about in marriage?
Should our spouse be able to lay claim to the title of “best friend” in our life? When we call someone our best friend, it usually means that we have chosen them over everyone else. They know our shortcomings and choose us anyway. We prefer their company because we feel safe to be transparent with them. We believe we can trust them with our secrets and our heart. Isn’t this what marriage is about?
In our second year of marriage, we were young, immature, and still feeling our way through what it meant to be married. We walked through a couple of months when I didn’t feel like Daniel was choosing me over a series of circumstances. He would have said all day long that I was his highest priority. But entirely unintentionally, his actions spoke otherwise. It finally came to a head one day. In the middle of confronting a situation, I heard him say out loud, “If I have to choose between you and Bonnie, I’ll choose her every time.” Something about knowing he CHOSE me, preferred me, not just in theory, but in action, changed everything for me in our relationship. I felt safe, protected, beloved. My level of trust in my husband deepened that day and paved the way for a more deep-seated intimacy with him as my best friend.
A “best” friendship takes time to forge. It feels risky to let someone see the deepest parts of ourselves. That kind of exposure leaves us vulnerable to hurt and rejection. But that’s the beauty of the covenant relationship of marriage. We declare to the world that we choose each other above everyone else for all time. Some vows even include, “forsaking all others, I’ll cleave only unto thee.” What that means is I’ll choose my spouse every day over everyone and everything else that comes my way. I will choose my spouse over my job, my hobbies, my other friends, my family, even my children. We get to spend the rest of our lives learning to trust each other with our secret desires, passions, and pursuits. This is what best friendship is all about!
There will be a lot of days that we don’t choose well. But our prayer is that we would learn to offer the same grace to each other that we would extend to any other friendship worth fighting for. It’s all part of the highs and lows of this crazy Marriage Adventure!
“This is my beloved, this is my friend.” -Song of Songs 5:16
Enjoying the Adventure,
Daniel & Bonnie