I remember a time, years ago when I was referring to a guy as my best friend and my mum corrected me. She told me that I’m only going to have one best friend in my life and that will be my husband. For whatever reason, that struck me as quite profound and although I didn’t really take heed to what she said and continued to throw the word around with whichever guy I was closest with at the time, I distinctly remember that moment; even the exact place we were as we drove down the a406.
You see, I grew up in a generation where it was cool to have a guy best friend, I was taught by films such as Love and Basketball that a perfect relationship was “based on friendship” and not just any kind of friendship; no no, you must be best friends.
As I grew older, the idea of having a boyfriend seemed way more appealing than someone to play playstation with, dates seemed more exciting than chilling watching tv, and the best friend desire faded. In fact, (and everyone is different, this is my opinion, no doctrinal beliefs!) the more I began to desire marriage, the more I realised, having a male best friend wouldn’t really work anyway. I mean, yes, I have male friends of course, those I would possibly even call up for a chat, but they’re now mostly in relationships too and well, the boundaries change naturally.
So when I met Aaron, I must admit, I was over trying to become best friends. I hardly knew the guy! We hung out as friends a few times, it was sometimes awkward and conversation wasn’t always flowing, but it was romantic, new and exciting! Almost like doing it backwards from all the other times I’d been in any form of relationship. Within months we were on the phone, talking for hours, sometimes catching each others humour, and sometimes not, it was just nice. We were friends. Maybe it was the fact that we didn’t date for years before getting engaged, that probably played in a role in the fact that there wasn’t an intimate depth to our relationship prior to marriage, but of course we were sure that this was the right move for us and totally felt God in it.
Even until we got married, I don’t know if I would’ve called Aaron my best friend, aside from the fact that I found it cheesy and forced, there were parts of me he hadn’t seen or known, there was still a special intimacy which was only going to be reserved for one person; my husband, and until that day, I had a ton of other words to use to describe him, we were engaged after all! I no longer wanted to refer to this guy as a friend, a buddy, he was the love of my life! My fiance. My future husband.
It wasn’t until a few months into marriage, and looking back, maybe not even then. But now, it’s like wow. He’s my best friend. Marriage is a safe place to let the guard down, to reveal the horrible, sinful parts of yourself with vulnerability and trust. We can chill for hours without an inch of temptation (oh the joys of marriage!), we don’t have a need to cuddle 24/7 and definitely need our own space! It also means I no longer have to care about him catching me looking rough, and there’s no place to hide if I smell… not that I ever smell… I’m a princess. 🙂 I’m convinced he’s seen me at my worst (already! poor guy!) not a dumbed down version of my worst when he can drop me home at the end of it, he’s seen me in darkness knowing he’s made a lifelong commitment to stick with me. Thats a best friend.
I look back at all the hundreds of people I’ve thrown that word at- from primary school to now, and maybe its just a word and I’m over-thinking, but I just wanted to smash this ideal that we have to meet a guy, be friends without ANY INTENTION OR ATTRACTION OR ANYTHING, then develop this BEAUTIFUL DEEP FRIENDSHIP WHICH LASTS FOR YEARS UNTIL WE FALL IN LOVE SO UNEXPECTEDLY AND GET MARRIED.
The joke is though- for some people, some of my closest friends even! (Hello Yemisi-Joy!) It does work like that, and its a beautiful wonderful journey, its a privilege even to be able to maintain purity when you know someone so well and love them so deeply.
But for others, maybe its just not that much of a love story, and that’s okay too. Love takes time to grow, and in marriage it tends to speed up very quickly- you’ll be make-up less and smelling ungodly smells in no time! So yeah, keep those boundaries in place! Remember God’s got a bestie for you and he/she is going to be an absolute gem to your life. Until then, keep that heart guarded and save that title for the one who will deserve it more than you can ever imagine.
For my now, best friend, Aaron Forbes-John
One of our first ever pictures together. lol.