On Valentine’s Day, my husband had a bouquet of flowers sent to my work. At lunch, I happily told some of my coworkers about it and gushed a little bit about my husband. In response, one coworker said that my husband seemed like a good guy and that we seem to have a good relationship. He said, “y’all still seem to like each other, which isn’t very common for people who have been together as long as you have.” At the time, I laughed it off and told him the secret was that I had married my best friend. I also shared with him my childhood belief that I had a “best friend curse” and that marrying my best friend was a way to break the curse.
This belief grew out of the fact that every single year from 1st through 6th grade, my grade-level best friend moved away. 5th grade was the worst because that was the year my very best friends, sisters who had lived across the street from me for years, moved away. When nobody moved away in 7th grade, I thought the curse had lifted, but then it struck back with a vengeance in 8th grade when I was the one who had to move away. I struggled to make friends in my new school, and even when I did, I didn’t feel close or “inseparable” from any of them as I had in my previous friendships. I couldn’t find a “ride or die” bestie like the one I had tearfully left behind in my hometown.
And then this really obnoxious redhead showed up in my life. He had two different social groups in common with me, and after a year of constantly spending time with each other by default, including chaperoning our good friends on dates because they weren’t allowed to go by themselves, we started dating. Almost immediately, I realized I had found that friendship I had been looking for. He wasn’t just a cute boy who liked me or an opportunity to say I had a boyfriend. We got along, we enjoyed each other’s company, and we had things in common. Sure, there was some love-struck aspect to the beginning of our relationship, but while so many relationships fizzle out when the newness wears off, we grew even closer because our friendship was the most important part of our relationship. It survived high school and college, and since marriage, it’s survived two kids and several moves.
Later that night, my coworker’s comment came back to me. Are my husband and I really that unusual simply because we still like each other? Sure, we’ve had our highs and lows in 21 years, but I can’t imagine going through all that we’ve been through without him being my best friend. In fact, I have to admit, I’m not sure I can imagine what a marriage to someone who was not my best friend would be like because my own parent’s marriage has been a model of what being married to one’s best friend is like for 41 years.
I know that divorce rates are high, but it made me sad to think that so many marriages have become relationships of habit and convenience, that so many married couples might no longer enjoy just spending time with one another. I’m in no position to judge anyone’s marriage, and since I married my high school sweetheart, I don’t have much experience with different relationships, but I’m glad I can still gush about my hubs after all these years.
And, of course, it’s a huge bonus that, since we’re married, if this best friend ever has to move away, he has to take me with him.