I am aware that in many marriages people consider their spouse to be their confidant, their secret keeper and their other half. I believe a spouse should be all those things when you are building and living a life together as partners; but is there really anything wrong with saying I also have a best friend? It’s almost become taboo to say such a thing. As if my marriage is weakened if my spouse is not my everything. Two words: Not true.
I lived a lot of life before I met my husband and it included a lot of different people who did not cease to exist after I got married. I’m not suggesting that my husband is less important that anyone I knew before him; he is my partner, the person I have chosen to spend my life with; to create a family with and share this journey with. However, without any formal vow and big white dress, I have essentially made the same choice with my best friend. It’s a friendship, a sisterhood that spans 30 years of ups and downs. A friendship that has endured through adolescence, high school, college, separation, boyfriends, marriages, divorces, deaths, births, triumphs and each other. She is as much my tribe as my husband. How can that relationship be discounted?
Let’s be real, I met my husband at 33. He missed a whole lot of awkward teenager, bad decision-making co-ed, struggling 20’s and quite frankly my thinnest, hottest time (sorry honey!) But there is someone who was there through it all and remembers every agonizing moment. And since we are being real, let’s admit that we can all appreciate someone who remembers us as young and vibrant and crazy and weird who reminds us of our failures and accomplishments and isn’t afraid to put us in our place when we get to full of ourselves. I love my husband completely but he simply doesn’t know about the big red barn we drank wine coolers in or the “Little Ho Peep” costume that we laughed about for hours or all the adventures in our 20 years of girls weekend camping that help keep me sane when too much responsibility and pressure and adulting wears me down.
For my husbands’ part he is fully on board with my having another life partner as we call her. He knew it was a package deal when we were dating. He considers it a bonus. For one, there are many interests I have that he has no desire to be a part of (I’m looking at you chick flicks and foodie restaurants.) He has even on occasion uttered the precious words, “Can you do that with your other life partner?” Second, he gets a lot of help when it comes to milestone birthdays, and commemorating special events. Last, and certainly not least, he genuinely likes my friend and understands how important it is to me that I make time for her too. I’m pretty sure having the TV to himself during football season weighs in there someplace too.
He is learning the old stories and we are making new ones. We have mastered our own shorthand language and inside jokes. I am perfectly ok with having two very different life partners. So is he. It is not a betrayal, nor is it a diminishing factor in the importance of our marriage. It’s just how we do.
So if you are lucky enough to have this friend in your life; consider it a relationship as important as a marriage. If you have that friend AND a spouse who sees you with all your flaws and all your gifts; shares your joys and sorrows and chooses you every day, then you, my friend, are blessed.