“My husband is my best friend”, is a phrase I read online daily. I am a member of various marriage clubs and groups, amongst which this phrase is popular. I rarely ever see the opposite, “My wife is my best friend”, but that’s a conversation for another time. Because of the increasing popularity of this declaration, and the fact that this notion did not serve my husband and I well in the beginning of our marriage, I wanted to explore why this concept can be problematic.
My husband and I have a relationship which began platonically. We often discussed our past and present relationships and dating situations, as well as future relationship goals. We were open and honest with one another, all the way down to the dreaded list of sexual partners. It was easy to divulge tons of info because we weren’t looking to date. Early in our friendship, he was dating (not official boyfriend and girlfriend) with a young lady who was a little high maintenance. He would often have empty pockets as a result of taking her on dates he couldn’t afford. He was never invited to her home—she would not visit him, so any time he wanted to see her, he had to be prepared to spend money on an outing. And then his phone bill sky rocketed when he kept in touch during her trip to Africa, which limited the dating budget temporarily. Soon after that, his birthday came. He elected to spend the day with her. After all, he and I were just friends. She gave him the gift of taking her to breakfast, and then informed him she had plans (that did not include him) for the rest of her day. Which left him sitting at his job (on his off day) hanging with co-workers.
When they fell apart and he and I got closer, I was determined not to be ungrateful or unobtainable. I wanted him to be comfortable with me. So as we grew from friends into a couple, not a whole lot changed. We mostly watched T.V at my place (my mom’s house) cracked jokes, and told stories from our past—we both had a lot of good ones. We fell in love, and got married. Without ever mastering or even journeying into romance. I was a home-girl, turned wife. And it actually bit me in the butt. The first few years were quite tumultuous because he never surprised me with anything or did anything special. No candlelit dinners, lingerie, planned day, or even something modest like a picnic. There was no forethought or thoughtfulness behind anything he did, and my attempts at all the above were awkwardly received. He continued to do what he had seemingly done to get me, crack jokes, play wrestle, watch T.V, and talk. Even after I expressed my grievances, he had trouble making the adjustments. He was definitely my best friend, but it didn’t make for a happy marriage.
I met my real best friend when I was 13 years old. 18 years later, I have never planned her birthday activities months in advance. She doesn’t save up to surprise me on our friend anniversary. We don’t think up ways to show each other appreciation. We don’t give each other massages or write one another love notes. She doesn’t buy me things she’d like to see me in and we don’t go on romantic getaways together. And we never have talks about ways to be a better friend, meeting each other’s needs, or how to be better lovers.
You know why? Because friendship-- established friendship is low maintenance. You talk, you laugh, you do lunch occasionally and that’s it—unless the friend has a problem—then you show up with ice cream, a shoulder to cry on, and the occasional brick. But anyone who is married, knows marriage is so NOT low maintenance. Marriage is more work than any job you have ever had. The emotional, physical, and spiritual work required to love the same person, in new ways, for the next 50 years, is intense! Loving sacrificially, unconditionally, and uncomfortably (because no one is always easy to love) is required daily! That, ladies and gentleman, is not the way we interact with our BFF.
But beside the obvious romantic and intimate challenges to this brand of thinking, there are a few more issues. You’ll find them below.
1. It Removes Individuality
Yes, you and your spouse become one, but there are elements of your lives that will remain individual. Such as your career, your first name, and your friendships (unless they negatively impact the marriage). He and I are a couple. But I am Kamesha, he is Calvin; we are not Kamalvin. We can develop healthy relationships with one another’s friends without seeking to dissolve meaningful friendships, or replace them. The whole idea is weird, like something from Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
2. Too Much Work
Why would I replace a great best friend with a husband? Doesn’t he have enough work to do? Providing, protecting, praying for, and pleasuring me PLUS having his own passions, hobbies, and goals? Why would I unnecessarily boggle him down with a bunch of girl talk, lady problems, and things he just doesn’t have interest in? And then feel un-loved, un-heard, or un-something, when he doesn’t fulfill all those needs. No wonder why men are weary of marriage, that’s far too much to carry.
3. Kills All Mystery
Yes, we should be transparent with our spouses, but do they really need to know everything? Do they need to know when we’re cramping, when we are constipated, or when we’re not feeling too fresh? Do they need to help clean the wax out of our ears, pop our pimples, or discuss in-grown-hairs on our bikini line? Those chats are for best friends, because best friends don’t need to be, and shouldn’t be sexually attracted to us.
4. Because You Were Never Meant to Get too Common with Your Spouse
You don’t honor or submit to your friends. You may be open to their opinions, but a friend’s opinion doesn’t trump yours, or perhaps I should say, you will not defer to a friend’s opinion when making life choices. But you are called to respond that way, to your husband’s lead. But if you have turned him into your girl-friend-- when he puts his foot down, it’s comical.
5. Good-bye Privacy
Of course, marrieds shouldn’t have secrets. But we should have privacy. My bff used to have my Facebook and email passwords. We responded to text for one another, because we knew what one another would say. The same thing happened with my husband. He would read text from my friends, and then respond for me. It wouldn’t be anything major, like a super private convo, but it was MY convo. A friend of mine may say anything, thinking she’s texting me. Meanwhile, I’m snoring and he’s texting “I’m tired, I’ll hit you up tomorrow”. Again, it was innocent. But it’s the principal with some things.
I'm all for your spouse being your confidant, team mate, lover, and friend-- but best friend? Not really.
Published by Kamesha Hayes