If We Weren’t Married, We Wouldn’t Be Friends


I’m in a slightly unusual situation. You know how people say, “I married my best friend?” Well, I actually married my best friend. As in, we were platonic best friends for a long while before we started dating. But because of that, when people comment that I married my best friend, my gag reflex totally comes into play. Because the thing is, I didn’t marry my best friend. When David and I started dating he stopped being my best friend and moved into a totally different role. Now he’s my husband. There are plenty of responsibilities that come with the role of husband, and for me, best friend isn’t one of them. On Monday, we talked about how having a community around you statistically helps a marriage to thrive, and I think that totally separate friendships is a key part of that. And it turns out, sharing values with your partner is vastly more important than sharing hobbies with them when it comes to long-term health of a marriage. So today we have Rowenna talking about how she wouldn’t be friends with her partner if they weren’t married, and she’s fine with that (as well she should be).

If We Werent Married, We Wouldnt Be Friends | A Practical Wedding

When my husband and I first got together, I worried that we had nothing in common. As we got to know each other, I realized that not only did he listen to completely different music than I did, he despised my favorite songs and artists. I gave him my all time favorite book to read, and it sat on his shelf for months, untouched. I took him to see my favorite movie, and he made fun of it. I thought, “How can I possibly last with him if he hates everything I love?”

He had his own group of friends, as well as regular hobbies and activities, few of which overlapped with my own. Even though we went to the same small college, our lives were quite separate. We struggled to find joint activities that we both enjoyed.

This made the beginnings of our relationship difficult, and I often questioned whether it would last. I was clouded as well by several of my prior serious relationships, in which I’d fallen fast and hard for a kindred spirit. I would find someone who loved the same things as me, and at the time, it felt like we were made for each other. We’d spend all of our time together and forget the rest of the world. Despite the fact that these relationships never went anywhere, this was my precedent for how things should be.

I was confused and troubled about the lack of common ground with Nate, yet we stayed together, and eventually got married. We’re thrilled to be married and have no doubts that we’re perfect for each other, but it still irks us every time we hear someone proclaim, “I married my best friend!”

We wondered about this recently after both having negative reactions toward the statement. We both confirmed that we certainly are not, nor have we ever been (nor do we ever plan to be) best friends. I asked myself what it means to be a best friend. Various sources say it’s the person who is closest to you, someone you know well and regard with affection and trust. Certainly, my husband fits that bill, but that does not make me comfortable calling him my best friend. That we were never friends before we began our relationship is one reason for this hesitancy. We maintain that if we weren’t married, we wouldn’t even be friends with each other, much less best friends. So what is it about our relationship that makes the term best friend seem like such an inappropriate description?

Even though we had very little “in common” when we met, that’s only partially true now. Sure, Nate still goes out with gaming friends every week, and though I’ve made attempts, I have no interest in that hobby. I have a season pass to Six Flags, and I go with my sisters and friends, but Nate does not share my enthusiasm for roller coasters. Even when we’re at home, we’re often doing our own things.

We also have found common ground. There are things we generally love—hockey, for example—which I’ve grown to love as much as he does, and crossword puzzles, which he’s become addicted to by exposure to my habit. He still hates my indie and alternative music and show tunes, and I haven’t exactly come around to his hip-hop tastes, but we’ve found new songs and movies that we both enjoy.

Even more than these superficial activities, we have all the important things in common. The truth is that you don’t need to like the same things in order to be married (or even to be friends!). What you need in order to have a strong relationship is shared values. He may hate the Barenaked Ladies, but he wants to live a frugal, debt-free life full of strong experiences instead of material items. He supports me in my career, but also in my desire to eventually quit to homeschool our children. Our long-term goals align with each other’s. In those things that are truly important, we don’t clash.

A best friend can be described as someone you can come to with any problem, issue, or request; someone you share everything with. Though there are many situations where my husband is the one I turn to, I don’t look to my husband to solve every problem, or fill every role. I still Skype my brother when I have a problem with my computer; I call my sister to talk about books and movies and songs; I gripe to my best friend about my job because she’s in the same field. No one person can fill every need, and if you expect your partner to be the right person to come to about every issue, that’s unrealistic. This is why there are so many people in our lives! Everyone needs friends, family, acquaintances, people to vent to. Some of these might overlap, but one person can’t satisfy them all.

My husband is there to support me, to comfort me. He is there to share my life—not to be my life. It took me a while to realize that my initial fears that this relationship was inferior to my previous ones due to lack of “chemistry” were actually signs that this relationship would be strong. While my head was thinking, “How can I love someone who doesn’t love my music??” some rational part of me was attracted to Nate because I knew what I really wanted. Because of this, our marriage is built not on what our tastes were in that first year we met (which describes the inevitable demises of my prior relationships—as soon as those commonalities changed, things dissolved) but on deeper ties that don’t change with our whims.

Five years later, I don’t worry about us not being good friends. At a friend’s party, while discussing my love for dancing, it came up that my husband and I did not dance together at our wedding. I assured them that dancing is something I love, and I had a great time dancing with other friends, while he had a great time watching and socializing. People seemed affronted that he wouldn’t have danced with me to make me happy, and I had a difficult time explaining that it didn’t bother me at all. Dancing is my thing, and I don’t need it to be his thing for me to enjoy it; he doesn’t need to participate in order to support me and encourage me in my interests.

After discussing this subject with Nate, we began wondering if we were in the minority. It became the new topic we brought up with friends and acquaintances, and it seemed a natural question to bring up with Meg at her DC book talk. I know that Team Practical has more to add to the discussion, and I can’t wait to hear all about it!

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  • Tegan

    I think it might depend on how you define “best friend,” like you touched on in the article. I am most likely to come to my husband first to talk or complain about life, but it depends on the issue. I still talk to, hang out with, and value my family and friends – but I see my husband every day. We also share a lot of hobbies, but still have our separate spheres.

    So I guess my husband could be defined as my best friend, and I think it really depends on the people involved if that’s a good thing or not for the relationship.

    • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

      As I read this I kept thinking, like you, it depends how you define best friend. And I wonder if introverts and extroverts would have a totally different view on this because of the different ways they look at friendship.

    • Tegan

      I get kinda freaked out seeing my name completely disagreeing with me. It made me wonder if I’ve actually commented…

      But I think it depends a lot on how many people you want in my life. My fiance is my best friend, but I don’t necessarily want anyone else in my life. I’d be happy to stay home with him all day. I want to complain about school? I tell him (and everyone else). I want to complain about how stupid dudes and ladies on dating sites are? I tell him. I want to complain about him? I also tell him — he just gets frustrated and wants to solve it then. :-P

      So yeah. If you’re looking for ONE person, you marry your best friend. If you want a large group, don’t marry your lifeblood — marry someone else who’s hopefully sexy.

  • http://www.minnesota-chic.com PA

    Some aspects of this post really resonate with me – I remember dating (which I hated, HATED), and beginning to think that having common interests was really no indicator of success. While my fiance and I share some interests, we do not share them all. However, we agree on our outlook on children, child-rearing, money, and lifestyle. So I agree on an emotional and practical level with this post!

    I’ve read that, historically, marriages in Western European and British societies were essentially business partnerships, formed to run a household successfully, and that the partners were expected and encouraged not to rely on the other party emotionally. A recent OpEd from an American man who ended up seeking a wife in India through the (somewhat updated) process of arranged marriage described the process of writing to each other extensively to see how compatible the two were on the metrics of child rearing, household maintenance, moral structure, and finances – metrics he claimed were more important than “chemistry.”

    Now, I don’t agree that housework outweighs love, but I do think that the point about lifestyle and household is a good one. While I think that marriage continues to evolve, and I am incredibly glad that love is an expected piece of a marriage now, I think that sometimes we forget that there are more everyday metrics like housework, finances, etc., that have huge effects on a marriage – even though those metrics are not the things to which we refer when we talk about “chemistry” or “compatibility.”

    Of course, it is ALSO no good to expect any one person to be all things to you. I really, REALLY agree with Rowenna that, “This is why there are so many people in our lives! Everyone needs friends, family, acquaintances, people to vent to. Some of these might overlap, but one person can’t satisfy them all.” And further, it’s healthy to have interests that are just yours; it’s healthy for the two of you to expect that you will spend time apart, doing your own thing.

    Thank you for sharing! I am really looking forward to seeing the discussion around this post!

    • http://unexpected-moments.blogspot.com/ Sheryl

      I’m reminded of Elizabeth Gilbert in “Committed” when she was speaking to a group of women somewhere in Asia, I think (it’s killing me that I can’t remember where), living in a small community that was deeply committed to preserving its cultural heritage. She was speaking to the women about their relationships with their husbands and what made a good husband – and being their friend really didn’t play into it at all.

  • http://www.queerskiesahead.com TheQueerBird

    Someone recently told me that *everyone* should marry their best friend, because otherwise your marriage won’t last. I balked. Really? My wife & I met, didn’t talk for several months, and then fell head over heels for each other. I would say that at no point in our relationship were we friends, let alone best friends. She is still my person: the person I turn to with exciting news, when things are hard, when things are murky. She’s my wife and my partner in many things (but not all things).

    To be fair, I’m not sure I have a best friend. But – ah, only I would say this – my friends are, ahem, like my dogs? Whenever anyone asks me which of my two dogs are my favorite, it totally depends on where we’re going/what we’re doing. I have a favorite dog for staying home and snuggling with and a favorite dog for going out in public with. For me, many of my friends are the same way: a favorite friend for calling when marriage things are hard or when work things are hard or when life things are hard or when super exciting things happen. And I love the community that this has build. For me, my partner can’t be my everything and I can’t be hers, and that’s okay – even good!

    Thanks for sharing this!

    • http://routinebrilliance.com Brytani

      You are so not the only one. I’ve never said it in front of other people, but I tell my dogs all the time that they’re my best friends. They understand, I know it.

      I think the “best friend” status does depend an awful lot on how you define it and also what your life looks like. We don’t have a lot in common outside of video games and our life together and I’m perfectly okay with that. We sometimes tag along to the other person’s interest just to be supportive but we still do a lot of things separately. We both have friends outside our marriage but there’s no question that we’re closest to each other.
      The big thing that sometimes forces us to be best friends is that we’re military and we live in a military-heavy community where we have mostly military friends. That means that things change for us all the time. Often, I make a friend and get close to her and she moves shortly afterward. Same with his friends. If you’re not an extrovert, it’s exhausting and sometimes discouraging. We’re also in our mid-twenties which means even more changing as people find that place to settle or career or partner. We just have to lean on each other probably more than most couples. It’s frustrating at times but we have to make the best of it.

      • http://aching-heart-dreams.blogspot.com/ Ahd

        Love it. My dog is my best friend and I have no shame admitting it to the world (and my husband!)

        • irisira

          My husband and I fight (not really) over who gets to call the dog “Best Friend.” :)

    • http://abasketcase.blogspot.com Basketcase

      I’ve never had a “best” friend. Ever.
      Sometimes that makes me sad.
      But because of that, my DH is the closest thing I have to a best friend.

      And I do have a circle of friends who I can do a wide variety of things with, and am constantly working on expanding that circle.

  • Rachel

    I totally agree with you that shared values matter a lot more than shared interests and hobbies. My partner and I have the occasional shared hobby, but most of our interests are different. Like you and your husband, we do share the same values of simple living, frugality, down-to-earth living, we want the same things out of life, and have compatible goals for the future, which is what really matters.

    That said, I still think of my partner as my ‘best friend’. For me, I think I just think of the phrase differently. While I know that if we’re going to be pedantic, ‘best’ sort of implies ‘one’ – but I’m a rebel and a rule breaker so I don’t define ‘best friend’ as a title only one person can have. I’ve never had an upper cap on the number of best friends I can have. Prior to meeting my partner I had 6 best friends, now that he’s an important part of my life, I consider myself to have 7 best friends. Like you were saying in your piece, we need various people in our life to fill different needs and share different things, and those 7 people, my partner included, fill those various roles in my life, and by my simple definition of best friend (someone who you trust, love, and enjoy spending time with) they all fit the bill.

    All that said, everyone’s going to have a different definition of what a best friend is, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with not considering your spouse to be your best friend. It sounds like you have a healthy, happy, wonderful relationship with your spouse, and I don’t see any reason why you need to add the label of best friend onto that if it’s not what works for you.

    • Rose in SA

      Yes! I am with you Rachel. My first thought on this post was that this is really semantics. Your personal perspective on the nature of ‘best friends’ is going to shape how you view your relationship with your spouse. My husband and I do refer to each other, in private, as best friend and we’ve defined it to mean the person you turn to first with both good news and bad news. That said, I think of myself as having 3 best friends (my 3 bridesmaids) who each fill a slightly different need in my life, plus a husband-best friend

    • http://breadandcheeseplease.com Charise

      I agree with this, Rachel and Rose. I have a few very close friends, all of whom I enjoy/turn to for different reasons. I consider my husband to be one of those people as well. I would say some of my other close friends I have fewer common hobbies/interests with than I do my husband, but we do have shared values and that’s why those friendships still work, too.

      BUT, everyone looks at the term “best friends” differently, and we gotta call it whatever works best for us individually.

      Any way you look at it, I think the important message we’re all agreeing on here is that we need communities around us, and can’t expect one person to be all things for you, and that it’s more than OK to have different interests than your spouse, as long as there are shared values and life priorities (and hopefully at least SOME fun shared hobbies/activities/interests!).

    • MDBethann

      I wholeheartedly agree with Rachel/Rose/Charise. My FH and I share both values (definite must) and some (but not all) interests. In most things, he is “my person” – I go to him first with news or issues I need to talk about, good and bad. On rare occasions, I go first to my sister or one of 5 women whom I trust implicitly. To me, the trust that I have in these 7 people is what makes them my “best friends.” I can go to them at any time for any reason and I know they’ll be there for me. They are also the ones that I can not see or talk to for awhile but when we do it is like no time has past. There are hobbies and interests I have in common with some but not with others – just because they are a “best friend” doesn’t mean we like all the same things or do everything together.

      Perhaps instead of “best friends,” maybe the better term is lifetime friends. There’s a saying/meme that categorizes those in our lives into “reason, season, or lifetime friends,” and these 7 people are definitely lifetime friends for me. I’m very grateful that the man I am marrying is one of those people for me; I’d be worried if he wasn’t. I don’t have a problem or find it sappy to say he’s one of my best/lifetime friends because I think it is important to not only love, but like, the person I am marrying since I am promising to be with him day in and out for the rest of my life. Besides, we each have different definitions of what constitutes “best friend.”

    • AnotherCourtney

      I have multiple “best friends”, too. To me, they’re the people who know absolutely all of me (as opposed to just the “fun” me or the “work” me) and still, for some reason, seem to love me. They’re the people who have picked me up at a train station during rush hour on short notice, who have called to tell me they’re pregnant even before they get home to tell their husband, and who have driven for hours just to cheer me up on a particularly bad day.

      My husband is absolutely one of these people, whatever you decide to call them. Sure, he’s not everything, just like my closest girl friend wasn’t everything before he came into my life. It’s dangerous to lean on any one person completely, whether you’re married to them or not. I call all those people my “best friends”. Rowenna might call them “my husband, my best friend, and my brother”. It’s just important you know who they are.

      In addition, my parents have spent my whole life telling me that “it’s more important to marry someone you like than someone you love.” I’ve always understood that as having a friendship with them in addition to having a marriage with them, but maybe it also means simply respecting who they are and where they came from. Either way, having a spouse you think is a cool person goes a long way in the happy-marriage department, shared hobbies or not.

  • http://Www.laughterinthelou.com Emma

    Truth bomb! Well said.

  • Kellyh

    “He may hate the Barenaked Ladies, but he wants to live a frugal, debt-free life full of strong experiences instead of material items. He supports me in my career, but also in my desire to eventually quit…”

    Yes to this. We, also, were never friends. We met through a common interest but we’ve both since moved on from that phase of our lives and now do different things. I think we’ve lasted because we have the same ideas about how to live life not because we are besties who do everything together.

  • http://theatreprojects.blogspot.com Jessamarie

    The timing of this post could not be more perfect. After a debate about politics last night, W asked if it worried me that we only ever seem to talk about politics, and then he told me that he had been noticing that we had no interests in common, that he would get ridiculously excited about so many things that I just didn’t care about. I had been lying awake thinking about it last night, and then worrying about it all morning until I sign onto APW and am reminded that our relationship isn’t about me being as excited about The Avengers movie as he is, or as excited about the emo music he loves. It’s okay that dancing is my thing, and that he doesn’t want to talk about my work all the time. What matters is that we love each other, we support each other, we’re working toward a future be both want together and we enjoy being around one another.

  • Hannah

    Yep, if you looked at the Venn diagram of our interests, the bit that overlaps would be a teeny, tiny sliver (um, Jamie Oliver and “Parks and Rec” and hiking?). I have other people to call and hang out with to talk about Victorian novels, and he has other people to obsess about sports with. If I looked, I could probably find someone who likes the Brontes more, or who likes lying on the beach more, or who likes yoga more, but I could never find anyone who loves me more. I could never find anyone who I’m happier to come home to at the end of the day, who makes me laugh more, who gets me more (even if he’ll never get what’s awesome about Downtown Abbey).

    • http://routinebrilliance.com Brytani

      Because it’s soapy without making you feel guilty! That’s what!

      …Sorry. Just had to.

    • http://livinglnf.blogspot.com Jo

      “I could never find anyone who loves me more. I could never find anyone who I’m happier to come home to at the end of the day, who makes me laugh more, who gets me more…”

      This.

      There was a very pivotal moment when (before?) my husband and I first started dating when I realized I was enjoying a sunset with him standing next to me in a way that I had only been able to enjoy things all by myself before. That was an early hint that this was it. Not because he felt the same way about the sunset, but because with him, I could be completely myself. I could feel at ease.

      We returned to that very spot when we got engaged. And there is no doubt that he gets me and loves me the most of anyone. Which is why it works. Not because we like to do all the same things (which we certainly don’t!). Not because he gets excited in the same way about things. Except for our relationship. :)

      • http://meditatingontherain.wordpress.com Aine

        YES. The ‘being myself’ around him was my biggest clue with my husband too. We both can be totally relaxed around each other- he is the only person who has the insight and the patience to figure out when I’m upset and why- and I’ve been described as having a ‘poker face of doom’ and clam up under the stress of any emotions whatsoever.

    • http://bunniesnbeagles.blogspot.com Ms. Bunny

      I still don’t understand why my partner doesn’t love Downton Abbey as much as I do. But I guess I’ll never understand why everyone doesn’t love it. It really is the best thing on tv no matter what anyone says.

      • Liz

        Completely agree. BUT he let’s me get nerdily excited about (spoiler alert!) Branson and Sybil in revolutionary Dublin, obsess over Mary’s dresses, and the ins and outs of Banna before quietly handing me the remote and walking into the other room.

  • Aurélie

    Thank you Rowenna, thank you so much! (and thank you Meg for publishing those wise thoughts!)
    I’ve been worrying for a long time about having very few common hobbies with my partner and painfully searching what was wrong with us and wondering why our relationship hadn’t collapsed yet.
    But you nailed it. It makes perfect sense. Even if we don’t do the same thing (he climbs, I swim, he plays on his computer, I play on my piano, he loves metal, I’m more into brit-pop…), we do have the same values and we want the same things out of life, we’re making plans together…
    Actually, it all boils down to a quote from St Exupery my father used to say often when I was little “l’amour, ce n’est pas se regarder l’un l’autre, c’est regarder ensemble dans la même direction” (love is not gazing at each other but looking together in the same direction)…
    I can’t believed I had never truly understood that until now!

    • http://poppiesandicecream.blogspot.com/ Amanda

      Exactly…. Whenever I fill a guestbook I write that phrase to the newlyweds. It really is about walking together. Growing up I never understood how my parents got together since they are so so so different, now I understand that perhaps that is what makes it strong.
      And the fact that each partner has different hobbies / friends / viewpoints enriches the relationship.
      Like this post says so well, it is about sharing the same values in life, and I think it is what the phrase by St Exupery is saying.

  • Karen

    My partner and I met through an online dating site. When you meet that way the motives are clear, it’s not really and truly about finding a friend. So anyway, she was concerned about this lack of things in common issue and I said that what matters is how we interact and how we care for each other. I believe that the little things are the most important. The fact that we both like to sleep with the fan going (a source of arguments in previous relationships), we like to get chores over and done with so we can do other things, she is a great listener who really cares and she’s very considerate and thoughtful. Those are the things that matter, not if we work in the same field. We know that we don’t have to share the exact same ideas but we are open to learning from each other. Respect and caring is where it’s at!

    • http://www.stitch-witch.net Christina McPants

      I swear, the hardest argument in my marriage is sleeping with the windows open during nice weather. She loves it, traffic noise wakes me up and I get sore throat/congestion from the pollen. It is a difficult negotiation at the best of times.

      • http://bettencourtchase.blogspot.com Helen

        Well, at least THAT’S the hardest argument. ;)

  • Kess

    My SO is my best friend, and I think this comes into play because I am such a strongly expressed introvert. I really don’t want to cheapen the analogy, but similar to ‘spoons’ I feel that I only have so many spoons to spend on personal relationships. Because this relationship is so close and important and quite a bit of work, I just don’t have many spoons left!

    That being said, I haven’t really had a standard best friend since something like 2nd grade. I also consider my mother to be one, but that also is not quite standard as there are just certain dynamics between mom and daughter that can’t really be changed.

    Basically, in order to have close friends besides my family (my brothers are also close friends) and SO, I would be so drained all of the time that I wouldn’t be able to do much. Therefore if I want a best friend, it’s of course going to be my SO.

    I think what most people talk about when saying that your SO has to be your best friend is that you have to realize that throughout your relationship, sexual attraction will likely wax and wane. During those low times, would you still want to be together? Would you still have things to talk about? I think that’s really why people say you “have” to be friends to get married.

    • Emma

      Wow – this really closely describes how things work for me too, but does so much better than I normally can.

    • Amanda

      As Emma said, you just described my situation much better than I could too! My husband is my best friend. Hands down. It obviously depends on your definition of what a best friend is but I never really had close girl-friends growing up (although I had many regular friends). We too are both introverts with extremely packed schedules (working full time + school four nights a week + volunteering at a clinic on the weekend) and so at the end of the day I barely have time to call my mom let alone meet a friend for drinks. I have friends that I truly love but I don’t have the time or energy to develop those friendships into “best” friendships at this point in my life.

      Because I realize that having one person to fill every need can strain a relationship I rely on my mom, school/work friends, a few other friends, etc. for small bits but I also see a therapist once a week too. I’m a talker by nature and so it’s really nice to be able to talk to someone about what’s been going on (and work through issues) over my lunch break once a week. And not have to feel guilty about constantly canceling dinner plans with them.

    • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

      That’s kinda funny because I’d describe myself as an introvert as well, but the was I see it, my spoons had already been filled before himself and I got together (there aren’t a lot, mind you). As a result, I had to make a special exception to fit him in!

      Maybe because of that, I don’t see him as my best friend . . . yes, he’s my partner, but I’ve realized that just because we don’t have a whole lot in common doesn’t mean that we don’t have things to discuss. In fact, I’d wager that we bring our own interesting things to each other to share.

      He’s just in a category all his own.

    • Class of 1980

      “My SO is my best friend, and I think this comes into play because I am such a strongly expressed introvert. I really don’t want to cheapen the analogy, but similar to ‘spoons’ I feel that I only have so many spoons to spend on personal relationships.”

      Kess,

      I’m reading “Quiet – The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain. I highly recommend it. There is a big difference in the way extroverts and introverts experience the world. Their brains are even wired differently. Their needs are different.

      I totally understand what you mean by only having so many spoons for relationships!

      • http://unexpected-moments.blogspot.com/ Sheryl

        I’ve heard about that book a few times lately. I think this is the reminder that it’s time to check it out. :)

        • Class of 1980

          It’s super interesting. I also think extroverted parents who end up with an introverted child desperately need to read it.

    • http://aching-heart-dreams.blogspot.com/ Ahd

      I tried and tried and tried to formulate a response… to this post and another one similar to it on another blog… and I couldn’t do it. But you’ve done it for me. I feel like introverts
      (and introverted relationships) are sort of under attack right now. The assumption is seemingly that we’re obviously unhappy and overly reliant on our spouses… and someday we’ll wake up and be terribly unhappy for not having spent our lives as extroverts? But, in reality, we have our families and each other and we don’t have the time or the need or the desire for more.

      • Katey

        I have thought this same thing so many times. From what I’ve read, extroverts tend to feel bad when they don’t have enough socialization with others. I have the opposite experience. I try to force myself out into the world to make more friends, but end up feeling drained instead of energized. After reading the book mentioned above (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking), I’ve started to feel at peace with the idea that maybe people writing articles about the necessity of many friends outside the relationship are extroverts who need different things than I do in order to be happy.

    • http://hobbitsvselves.wordpress.com Zen

      Huh, I wonder if that’s how my partner feels! My comment on the post was going to be, my partner isn’t my best friend, but I think I may be his. I wonder if the introvert/extrovert distinction is the reason for that — I’m definitely an extrovert and like having all my different people (which includes two best friends, neither of whom is my partner!), and having a serious relationship hasn’t really changed that. Whereas Cephas is an introvert and the energy he’s put into our relationship has meant that he has less energy to build up other relationships.

    • Kess

      I’m definitely going to take a look at that book. I’m fascinated by the difference between extroverts and introverts.

      And wow – I usually don’t get many props for explaining things clearly! I feel very honored!

  • http://laurenmcglynnphotography.com Lauren

    Yes yes yes! Oh thank you for posting this and writing this. My husband and I started out with almost nothing in common & to this day we can’t stand each other’s music, I don’t understand the thing that he spends 80% of his time doing (Philosophy) nor do I particularly care too, he doesn’t enjoy most of the things that I love: swimming, biking, being outside. He is a highly reluctant model when I want to take pictures of him – & yeah – if we weren’t in a relationship we wouldn’t be friends.

    In the past I have fallen hard for 2 of my best male friends and it was always a disaster (I blame them). So I also roll my eyes a little when people say they married their best friend. Part of it is jealousy – I wish that Aidan and I had more in common sometimes – but it’s also because I feel like there is this narrative our there that that’s the ideal.

    The thing is – my husband is a wonderful partner, and we are good for each other, and our relationship is much better than the romantic relationships that I had with my best friends. My husband and I also share the same values and ideas about what we want from life, and we have grown together. We have worked to find common ground and to discover things that we enjoy doing together. 5 years in and we’re stronger than ever.

  • Jeannine

    part of the issue is that we don’t actually have excellent terminology to describe the romantic relationships–girlfriend/boyfriend, partner, husband/wife–that don’t have a lot of other kinds of social significance attached to them. all of which is important, but doesn’t necessarily get at the emotional part of the relationship. i think “best friend” gets added on to signal a companionate marriage, not just an economic/status/all-the-other-reasons-people-get-married marriage.

    i have to say, i fall into that narrative: not that i proclaim myself to be married to my best friend, but 1) if i’m not careful, the ease of our living together will de facto make my husband my best friend because i’ll have let my other friendships fade. and 2) if i don’t think about it, i’ll expect us to do everything together (do the shopping, take the dog for a walk, go to events), things i am perfectly capable to do alone or with others. it’s as if i fall into thinking of him as my +1 for every single thing in life–not good.

  • Alia

    YES! I feel exactly the same way about my relationship with my husband. While he does share some of the general qualities of the best friend definition, like you mentioned, I have never felt that that label fit him. We also have very little in common in terms of interests, but that doesn’t make us any less compatible. He’s got his friends who will come over and game with him, and I’ve got my book club and knitting group. But we’re each other’s supports for the big things in life – careers, education, hopefully child-raising in the not-too-distant future, etc. And that is definitely way more important than having a husband who would gush over the latest Snow Patrol album with me.

  • jessie

    Amazing timing, as per usual.

    My partner and I couldn’t be more different, and it took me a long time to be okay with that. It took it as a sign that we were doomed, as I usually do when I’m getting worked up about things. However, I like that our differences foster our independence and self-confidence, and if nothing else, mean that we always have something to talk about… even if that something is deadly boring to the other one. I think it makes me a happier me to be challenged to travel, explore, and learn on my own, but knowing that I have the support of a loving partner at the same time. Also, for all our differences, we feel generally the same about money, are open to negotiating the future, and have the same polticial and social values. That helps a surprising amount.

  • kathleen

    I met my guy on eharmony, and our second date we discussed what each of us were looking for. I very firmly said ‘I’m not looking for more friends’- and it’s become a line we return to again and again. I’m lucky enough to have a very very strong, big friendship net- I have a number of best friends, many of whom live far away but that I talk to everyday. Still, I get something out of my relationship that none of them can give me- a partner who is interested and invested in the structure and scaffolding of our future and who respects me more than anyone I’ve ever met. My friends fill very different (very necessary) other roles.

    Basically, Rowenna- I totally agree. I feel lucky my partner isn’t my best friend— it feels like I’m able to have more roles filled this way.

    • Hannah

      I absolutely LOVE this whole “scaffolding” idea. That’s exactly it!

      My fiancee is my best friend, I believe, but in our wedding planning/ceremony writing process, it’s also been very important to me to emphasize the importance of us as individuals as well. I can be better committed to/happy with our relationship when I am able to go out, experience things and grow–then come back home and processing those things with him. He is and will always be the shelter under which I can weather the changes, but he is not–and should not be, in my opinion–the whole world.

      I also think it’s wildly unfair and unrealistic to assume that one person can be your everything, and I wouldn’t want for a second for any of my friends to feel like I am leaving them behind to be with my husband. I am doing no such thing–each of my friends has come from a different part of my life and fulfills for me different interests, discussions, viewpoints, shared histories, and more, and I will continue to need all those people once I become a wife. I worry all the time about friends “leaving me,” and it is especially for that reason that I can value my future husband–he will always be there, every day, for every up and down.

      • kathleen

        Hannah, I totally agree about the importance of the individual and alone within the marriage, and it’s been a HUGE part of my relationship. My parents (who are marriage counselors and generally super wise types) once told me that some marriages are two people going out into the world together, and that others are two people who go out into the world as individuals and return to the home (and marriage) for rest, and to tell stories of their time “out there.” I’m definitely of the second type, and the refuge (and as you said, the constant-ness) of the marriage and relationship fills such a void for me.

  • http://warrenpimp.blogspot.com/ Contessa

    Until 5 minutes ago I had been working through a week of freak outs over how I don’t think of my fiance as my best friend and what does that MEAN for our marriage. I can’t believe how many times we fall into these social traps without even thinking about it. The idea that our signifigant others should be our “everything” is both pervasive and batshit crazy. I rejected out of hand the idea that I needed matching bridesmaids and that I needed to be the one to manage the household chores but I still fell for thinking he needs to be my best friend. Thanks Rowenna!

    • meg

      It means nothing. It means you’re awesome.

    • MIRA

      Yes. “Social Traps.” Totally.

  • Dena

    This article is amazing, and spot on. Me and my fiance actually had mutual friends in college that dated, and we had met, and didn’t even remember each other, and then 3 years later, we met and fell in love! I often feel our relationship is “inferior” to others, because we aren’t best friends, but I now know that it’s our personalities, and our independent nature, and we are perfect for each other because of these things. Most people don’t even realize I’m in a relationship until after talking to me for over an hour. I go on vacation with my girlfriends, and he has his own hobbies and likes. It’s what makes us “us”. I think the most important thing for any couple is to find what works for them, and if you truly right for each other, it’ll work out!

  • http://heyarandom.blogspot.com Laura

    This is actually a topic I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, because I’ve been seeing it pop up in books and blogs for awhile now. It seems to be a common idea that, if your spouse is your best friend, you must 1. not have anyone else important in your life, ie, they are your go-to for ALL THE THINGS, 2. you must have everything in common with your spouse and spend all your time together, and 3. you must kind of look down your nose at all couples who do things differently than you do.

    Color me a bit confused.

    I consider my fiance my best friend. We were friends for years before we got together. He’s seen me at my best and at my worst, and loves me anyway. You know, just like all my other good friends. We’ve got some stuff in common, but plenty of different interests. We’ve got a lot of the same friends, but we don’t invite each other to every outing. We’ve never been attached at the hip, even when we’re hanging out at home. I guess I just have to agree with everyone who has said that this is partly an issue of semantics.

    Rowenna, I completely agree that sharing values is super important. And you’ve clearly got an awesome marriage. As you say and most everyone agrees, it’s vital to have a community support you. I just don’t think having a community and being best friends with your spouse have to be mutually exclusive.

    • http://bettencourtchase.blogspot.com Helen

      I agree with this wholeheartedly, Laura. My wife and I were best friends before we got together, and have been together for years and still consider each other our best friend. I certainly don’t think this is the ONLY way, or the ‘right’ way to have a healthy and fulfilling relationship, but it works for us. I also don’t understand why anyone would look down on another couple for not being ‘best friends’ (different strokes for different folks, right?) but I agree with Laura that I don’t think that having a a community and considering your partner your best friend is an either-or situation. My wife and I do have to be conscientious in sustaining our other close friendships (both with mutual friends and friends we have on our own) and our individual interests (because although we share MANY interests and hobbies, we do have some that are separate: we love most of the same books and movies and music and outdoor activities, but I take bellydancing classes- which she would never ever do- and she plays videogames, which I hate) but as long as we’re mindful, that’s completely manageable.

      Also, I DO think that having the same goals in life and similar ideas about children, money, etc. is the MOST important thing in making a relationship work long-term (vs. having all the same interests) but luckily for me, my wife and I have that as well.

      Good post, Rowenna. :) I’m so happy you’ve found a balance with your partner that works for the two of you.

    • http://thewellexaminedlife.blogspot.com Rowenna

      I definitely agree, they’re not mutually exclusive. I knew the topic of how people define best friend would be a big one in the comments, because everyone sees it so differently, but I think whether you consider yourself best friends or not, what I said applies – you still need outside support and community.

  • http://thecelebrationgirl.com Marcela

    My husband and I are in the same situation: except with a few things we don’t like the same things, but we agree on everything that really matters. We believe we are soul mates because every single potentially difficult issue is easily resolved for us…yet he doesn’t like the same music, or most of the movies I like and doesn’t like that books I read. That’s ok, I have my old friends to talk about all that. What I have in common with him is so much more important than him liking Harry Potter!

  • ambi

    I consider my partner my best friend, simply because he is the first person I turn to celebrate or cry, he’s the person I share the juciest gossip with and trust the most with my secrets, he’s the one that I want to spend my weekends with, he gets it when I need to talk through frustrations or work issues, and he makes me laugh like no one else. A lot of this may have to do with the fact that we do share a lot of common interests and a very similar sense of humor. We don’t overlap completely – there are definitely things we each love that the other one can’t stand, and we have strong and vibrant friendships outside our relationship, too. And of course, I can’t turn to him when what I really want to do is talk about him. I think he and I would both say, without hesitation, that we ARE each other’s best friends, and we really like it that way. Actually, the more I think about it, I think the reason we would so easily call each other “best friend” is because we each have a very strong group of friends, but neither of us has a single individual that stands out as “best.” I have a group of five girlfriends that are so amazing and add so much to my life. We love each other completely and would do anything for each other. But there isn’t a single girl in that group that I would think of as my best friend.

    I love this post and the topic in general. I feel pretty lucky that my partner and I really are best friends. I’ve never been self conscious of that before. Now, I feel a little bit of hesitation saying it, knowing that Meg is probably cringing a bit. But whatever – in my relationship, this is how it works. He’s my best friend (and a whole lot more), and I am his. And I really really love it that way.

    • meg

      Oh, I share all that stuff with my partner too (remember, we actually were best friends before, hence we share a shit ton of hobbies and humor and gossip). BUT. He’s not my best friend anymore. Trust me, it’s different now. Now he’s a person I like a lot and love, but also someone with a shit ton of responsibilities in my life. While we still share that other stuff, it’s not the same as a best friend (who you don’t SLEEP with, EW.)

      • ambi

        Oh I assumed you (and everyone on here) probably share that stuff with your husbands too – I’m not saying we’re special. I’m just saying that to me those things are what makes a best friend. And for me, having a best friend that you sleep with just makes it even better. :)

        I don’t run around proclaiming to the world that he’s my best friend, but if I had to pick one, it would be him.

        • http://meaghantothemax.wordpress.com Meaghan

          Yeah, I really think it comes down to how you define “best friend.” To me, the fact that my partner and I share so many values IS what would cause me to use that term with him – it doesn’t matter if we don’t have the same hobbies, I know that he’s going to be in my corner and want the same things in life as me.

          Maybe it’s because I actually don’t share a lot of hobbies or interests with most of my close friends, but to me shared values are what make long-lasting friendships (and relationships, period). I have some casual friends that are a blast to grab drinks or share a hobby with, but if I need to pour out my soul to somebody who’s not my partner, it’s going to be one of my best girlfriends with whom I have nothing in common on the surface.

          But again, it’s semantics of what the words “best friend” mean. Romcoms make us think that we should love drinking cosmos and shopping with our friends, but that we should fight a lot about each other’s life choices – I’m not convinced.

          • meg

            Yeah, I agree with you on all this. I just think it’s important to separate things out. The role of husband and partner is HUGE, and it’s more than enough for one person. Reminding myself that my husband is not ALSO my best friend (and that it felt very different when he was, we shared different things) is a reminder that he’s not my world. I think there is a huge amount of pressure for your partner to be your everything, and I think it’s not healthy. Why should he be my best friend? Husband is enough.

      • Anne

        I hadn’t realized what was bothering me about using the term “best friend” to describe my SO until reading your comment — he’s not my friend, he’s my partner. It’s those responsibilities to each other that make it different. I still (probably) share more with him than I do with my best friends, but it’s a different kind of relationship, and there’s something about it that makes labeling it as a friendship feel weird, at least for me.

        • meg

          Yes, yes, yes. Also, he has to call you back even when he’s PISSED at you. Because he’s signed up for a bunch of very specific responsibilities. Heck, he has to hang out with you even when he doesn’t like you very much ;)

          Also, my husband has a best friend (I don’t, just lots of friends). BUT. His best friend shares things with him that I never could, and is things for him that I never could be, and that’s such a BRILLANT thing. It makes him so much better a person (and hence partner). We’ve mostly been talking about our OWN best friends, but at the end of the day, I don’t want to be my partner’s best friend. It’s too much responsibility (I’ve got enough on my plate being a wife) and it removes the opportunity for him to have someone in his life totally different than me, who makes him better.

          • http://meaghantothemax.wordpress.com Meaghan

            For sure, it’s a really loaded role. I don’t honestly think I do have a best friend (more of a top-5 speed-dial list) but if I was pressed, I would probably name my partner based on what we do share. I don’t necessarily think it’s good to dump all that responsibility on the relationship, either, although I do know people for whom it’s genuine.

      • Sharon

        Pretty much in the same boat as you Meg. Went from being “best friends” for over 15 years to something different when we started dating about 3.5 years ago. The shared interests are many (we had to go through possessions and weed out duplicates when we moved in together), but still we do some things solo. One of the major differences is that he’s no longer the person I go to for relationship advice, that’s for sure. ;)

  • Elizabeth P

    I so agree! This has come up with us and my partner is the first to say we aren’t best friends and I’m okay with that. At first it feels like you should be, but we understand we have other people in our lives who fill that role for us. We have something else, something special that goes beyond friendship. We have very different interests but also more in common than an outsider would ever guess. Great post and great to know we aren’t alone in this!

  • katieprue

    Love it! I agree, my partner and I would probably not be friends (at least not super close) if we weren’t together romantically. We just really don’t have that much in common in everyday interests. When we were younger it used to really bother me. How could I love this person so much when some of the TV shows he watches made me want to throw the set out the window? But Meg and Rowenna have really nailed it: it is the the big stuff that you and your partner need to have going on. My partner and I are so much alike when it comes to how we manage money, our feelings on religion, level of involvement with families of origin, how to be awesome kitty companions, etc. Sure it would be great if I could talk about zombies for hours with him and his friends, or if he wanted to come sew with me and my best friend and listen to NPR. But alas, we are simply nerds of a different breed.

    I have teased him in the past but maybe it isn’t so silly after all: I would laugh and say, “Oh honey, I’m not your friend. We’ve never been friends.” Really, we met, started dating right away, and fell in love and those are just the roles we (gladly) fill for each other.

    • http://thewellexaminedlife.blogspot.com Rowenna

      Your comment about the TV shows reminded me of when I first met my husband. The first time we hung out with a group of people and watched the Simpsons. I had been saying for years that I would never like/date/hang out with anyone who likes “stupid funny” cartoons… I still have to leave the room or put in some earplugs when he wants to watch Family Guy or Futurama, but I realize now that that was no basis for judging partners!

  • http://ladybrettashley.wordpress.com lady brett

    i love this. i think it’s so important to uphold that different things work for different people.

    i’ve always been uncomfortable with the idea that my wife would be my best friend. but i think for me it’s just because she’s already my wife, which fully describes her position in my life, so the “best friend” description is kind of moot, whether it is accurate or inaccurate.

    i do worry sometimes about relying too much on each other – that i am supposed to have this mythical network of friends to turn to. but i am not a very emotionally open person, and i have never had more than one or occasionally two – and sometimes zero – people to turn to, and i don’t see that changing.

    i also think that, because we do (strongly!) share values, our interests are slowly becoming more similar as we do the slow work of making our life more closely reflect our values.

    at the same time, as we become more comfortable in our relationship, i think we are also becoming more comfortable doing “our own things” when the other is uninterested. though, to be honest, i like spending time with her so much, i would often (not always!) rather do something that doesn’t interest me much together than something i like more alone or with other folks…

    • MIRA

      The thing about all those notions of what makes a relationship “healthy” is that they may make sense specifically, but as generic advice, they kind of suck. People function in a lot of different ways — and so do relationships. If you’ve never had more than one or two other friends to turn to, maybe you don’t need more than one or two.

      I think the important thing is to not ask more of your partner than they are able to give — even if they’re willing to give it. When everything is going wrong and your partner is just as overwhelmed as you are, you will figure it out. Maybe you do have that mythical group of friends to confide in. Maybe you’re lucky enough to have a really great therapist. Maybe you find ways to carve out some space for a run or a session with your journal.

      • http://somewhatbookish.wordpress.com Carrie

        ‘I think the important thing is to not ask more of your partner than they are able to give — even if they’re willing to give it.”

        I love this statement. It really resonates with me – especially since I have the tendency to keep giving, right over that line between helpful to someone else and detrimental to me. Likewise, my wife sometimes gets herself so stressed trying to be helpful to me, especially now that we have a baby, which isn’t good either. Happy, relatively unstressed spouses are more important than any specific assistance, I find.

    • meg

      “i’ve always been uncomfortable with the idea that my wife would be my best friend. but i think for me it’s just because she’s already my wife, which fully describes her position in my life, so the “best friend” description is kind of moot, whether it is accurate or inaccurate.” <— THIS.

  • http://workoflove.wordpress.com Shaelyn

    My husband and I joke that our individual interests form a venn diagram with the slimmest overlap ever, but it works. He struggles with the fact that I don’t like sports (and don’t ever plan to), and I wish he got as excited as I do over theme parks, but as long as we feel like we’re working together towards a lifestyle we can both be excited about, it works. And luckily we each have friends with whom to share all the other interests that our spouse isn’t enthused about. Win-win-win.

  • MIRA

    So much of what you all have said resonates with me — but the “not my best friend” realization actually functioned a bit differently in my relationship.

    I’ve always dated men who had slightly different interests, because it gave me a chance to explore new things — and it was no different when I met J (also online, btw). The biggest difference was that he’s even more of an introvert than I am (definitely a first). He has small number of very close friends with whom he has a great deal in common, while I have a larger, more eclectic mix of close and not-so-close “friends for all occasions.”

    We fell hard and fast, and he was eager to meet the people in my life, which is not an easy thing for such an introvert. But some of those friends, including ones I’ve known my entire life, just didn’t seem to “get” him, and didn’t seem eager to try. This was very painful. At first, I got all wrapped up in my head (“Am I changing myself for this relationship in bad ways? Is this a sign of something not-good?), and then I got angry (after all that time I’ve put in getting to know your nutty exes, you’re really not going to bother to get to know this wonderful man?).

    Eventually, talking with my sister, I had the realization: if J and I weren’t involved romantically, I don’t think we’d be very good friends either. I can not describe the relief I felt when I realized this — though it would obviously be a terrible shame to not have him in my life, even as a platonic best friend. The thing is, he’s a very private person. He opened up to me in ways he rarely opens up to anyone else, but if we hadn’t been dating, he wouldn’t have. In fact, if our relationship hadn’t moved so quickly, he also probably wouldn’t have opened up in those ways.

    In time, all my friends have gotten more comfortable with J. At first some of them might have been making an effort for my sake — but I’d like to think that they eventually got to know him, too. I honestly don’t know if we are “best friends” — but with all the other ways we support and care for one another, I’m not really sure it matters.

  • http://somewhatbookish.wordpress.com Carrie

    Hear, hear! At our wedding, I introduced my aunt to my best friend and she said to me, “Oh no, your wife is your best friend now.” And I was very adamant that my wife was my wife and not my best friend, because for me it is so important to know that there are great people who are important to you and support you outside of your primary relationship. I feel like otherwise there is too much pressure on the marriage to be all things – and no relationship can be all things. I love my wife and she is definitely the most important person in my life (my daughter is a close second – but while she brings me joy, at 9 weeks old, she isn’t a huge emotional or practical support!), but she’s not my best friend and that is what works best for me.

    • Alyssa

      I was just about to say this! I adore my husband, but I already have a best friend, thank you very much. A best friend who’s held that title for 25 years and would be very PO’ed if he were to be usurped. As he says, he’s put a lot of time and effort into me and I don’t get to throw that away because I fell in love with some boy. :-)

      It’s romances like Rowenna’s that keep me sighing in happiness even now that I’m no longer looking for love myself. There are so many different types of marriages and relationships and happiness comes in so many shapes and sizes, and it’s not always perfectly happy and covered in puppies and kittens and rainbows. Pigeon-holing the way a marriage should be can be comforting cause we humans do love our categories, but only if you FIT that particular hole. So yay for stories like this, yay for Rowenna who also has an AWESOME name and yay for different types or marriages!
      (This is where I’d put “vive la différence,” with lots of exclamation points, but I don’t want to be that guy. You’re welcome.)

      • http://okokwhatever.com marissa

        yes, yes, yes. the role of ‘best friend’ in my life has been filled since kindergarten.

        my husband is my partner. it’s totally different. our tastes in entertainment are generally very different, our tastes in food over lap a fair amount, but not completely, he likes metal (like, real metal) and i like post-grunge-alt-pop-whatever. but our values are very similar. shortly after we started dating, i told him that i want marriage and babies and he was on-board. i recently asked him if i had told him that i did not want any babies, ever, would he still have considered me for a serious relationship and he said no. we both wanted to be carfree so we got rid of them an now we are. we both wanted to get out of debt, so we did. we both want to be as “green” as possible and we try! we both wanted babies, so we had ‘em! our parenting philosophy is ever-changing, but it’s because we want our kids to be well adjusted and smart and happy. when something isn’t working, we are usually on the same page when it comes to trying something else.

    • meg

      THIS. And also what Alyssa said. I think we’ve moved to a place, culturally, where there is way more pressure for our partner to be our EVERYTHING. And that puts a ton of pressure on our relationships, and can actually damage them (or so the studies say). Our partners have SO MUCH responsibility already… they don’t need one more layer. (and I mean, I don’t even have a best friend, I just have lots o’ friends).

      I recently read about a woman who thought she needed to divorce her husband (I shit you not) because she couldn’t talk to him like she talked to her girlfriends. Now, what the HELL is that??? Who told her that you should be able to talk to your husband like a girlfriend? I’m not even sure that makes sense. When I read that out-loud to David he made a little 0 with his mouth, and looked panicked.

      • http://bettencourtchase.blogspot.com Helen

        I think the difference here is that I definitely consider my wife to by my best friend, but she’s not my ONLY best friend. I have three other extremely close friends who I consider to be my ‘best friends’ as well.

        I agree with a lot of the above commenters– part of this is just semantics. I DO very strongly feel, though, that while I think it is totally amazing for every single individual couple to find their own balance, whatever way that is, it shouldn’t be considered BAD that some of us consider our partner to be our best friend as well as partner.

        Cultural pressure to all fit into one box (no matter what box that might be)=bad. Everyone finding their own path=great. Mine just happens to be that my wife is my best friend as well. This wasn’t the case with anyone I dated in the past, but it is with her, and that works wonderfully for us.

      • http://landlockedlove.blogspot.com Kelly

        I actually think the fact that I can’t talk to my fiancé like I talk to my girlfriends is awesome, and pretty important to the health of our relationship. In fact, recently I invited a mutual (female) friend of ours over to the apartment, but I asked my fiancé to get out of the house and do something else while she was over. “I need some girl-talk,” I said.

        It’s not that I said anything to my friend that I wouldn’t (or hadn’t already) said to him. It’s just that I needed to say it in a different WAY. Or say it to someone who would give me the reaction that I wanted. Or just that, damn, whatever.

        But divorce him because I couldn’t talk to him like a girlfriend? What?

      • http://www.verhext.com tamerajane

        I can definitely see an issue with feeling like you cant relax or talk to your husband the way you can with female friends. I pretty much talk with everyone I like in the same way, so if there was a point where I wasn’t able to be myself with my husband that would be a HUGE red flag for me.

        • http://landlockedlove.blogspot.com Kelly

          For me it’s different than being myself, though. Of course I can be myself with my partner, arguably in ways I can’t be with anyone else.

          But I think that’s something entirely different from being able to chat with him the way I do with my girlfriends. Or, forget being “able” and let’s just say wanting to. I don’t want to talk to my partner the same way I talk to my girlfriends. I want to talk to him the way I talk to HIM. In all the silly, intimate, wonderful, mundane, angry, exhilerating ways that we talk. But the way we talk is not the same way I talk to other people, and I don’t think it needs to be.

      • Class of 1980

        “I recently read about a woman who thought she needed to divorce her husband (I shit you not) because she couldn’t talk to him like she talked to her girlfriends. Now, what the HELL is that??? Who told her that you should be able to talk to your husband like a girlfriend? I’m not even sure that makes sense. When I read that out-loud to David he made a little 0 with his mouth, and looked panicked.”

        You only need to worry when you can’t talk at ALL. ;)

        Or when you can’t be yourself.

      • http://www.embracerelease.com aly

        I have a question about straight relationships! I know a lot of straight women who just don’t talk much at all with their husbands or boyfriends, *especially* about things I would need to talk to my partner about. Like, they won’t share traumatic or significant details of their pasts, even though they share those things with women friends. One woman I met had a 10 year relationship with another woman but wouldn’t ever tell her current husband that because, well, I don’t know why. I realize this whole not talking about significant things could just be a marker of unhealthy relationships but I find this coming up a lot with all kinds of straight women acquaintances.

        So, are we (me and my queer friends) the odds ones in that we tend to tell our partners our detailed back stories, and pretty much everything else*, and then process them for the rest of our lives together?

        Also, I’m really curious about people who wouldn’t be friends with their SO if they weren’t married or partnered. In another world where we’d never gone down the dating road, I’d still enjoy my partner’s company. I mean, my friends aren’t my friends because we share hobbies. They’re my friends because they’re funny and kind and super liberal. (Shared values?)

        *Except right after we have babies and our relationships almost explode. :)

        • http://medeamaterial.com Jules

          Now that you mention it, it might be why I have had full disclosure with my now husband about all the details of my previous meaningful relationships, hangups and known issues. I never considered it had to do with being queer, I just thought it better to be up front about my history before things got serious in case he objected to any of it, I could then just skedaddle out of there before becoming emotionally involved. I’ve seen horrible breakups in the past when someone discovers that their straight partner had a colorful and diverse history and they can’t deal, so I proactively protected myself against that!

        • K

          I for one don’t share every detail of my past and past relationships with my husband partially because in my 20s I had relationships in which we *did* do that, and it turned out to be spectacularly unhelpful for the relationship. I need to know how you treat me; I do not need to know how you ended up first sleeping with every girlfriend you’ve ever had, thanks. My husband and I met when we were ~40 so we both had plenty of living behind us. I think we both know the really important stuff, but there is plenty of stuff that is just not that important, including some stuff that was oh so important when it happened, but it happened 20+ years ago, and I just don’t think about it all that much anymore, much less want to spend time rehashing it after all these years. Does that make sense?

          btw loved your post the other day!

          • http://www.embracerelease.com aly

            Right, I agree. Lots of details are unnecessary, especially the longer you are from those details. I’m mostly talking about major life experience stuff that I hear women not sharing with their male partners. Like I said, I could just know a lot of women in very dysfunctional situations.

            And, thank you!! :)

        • Class of 1980

          Aly,

          I do know that countless advice columns have counseled against telling your boyfriend/fiance/husband too much about your past romantic relationships. And vice versa.

          I heard an old song by Carly Simon the other day called “No Secrets”. The lyrics expressed this very issue …

          We have no secrets
          We tell each other everything
          About the lovers in the past
          And why they didn’t last

          We share a cast of characters from A to Z
          We know each others fantasies
          And though we know each other better when we explore
          Sometimes I wish
          Often I wish
          That I never knew some of those secrets of yours

          the lyrics go on …

          In the name of honesty, in the name of what is fair
          You always answer my questions
          But they don’t always answer my prayers

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4C3g31hZeiU&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PL18B0887F6BE72746

          I don’t know what other straight couples do about this. I only know there is strong advice not to tell too much. I’m not even sure what I think about it. Probably depends on the guy I’m with.

          • http://www.embracerelease.com aly

            Oh I don’t mean we tell everything about our pasts, more that we share the big stuff and tend to talk about the present everything. I agree that sharing some kinds of details (especially around sex) can be damaging but I’m talking about major stuff like being assaulted or having had a drug problem, that sort of thing.

          • Class of 1980

            Oh my goodness! You know straight couples who don’t talk about that stuff?! Now that is weird.

            The the major events of our lives have everything to do with who we are today and how we feel about all kinds of things. How can couples not talk about that?

            Now that I understand what you meant, I can definitely say that most straight couples DO talk about that stuff.

        • Christy

          Well, I’m straight, and I’ve told my fiance pretty much everything about my history. I can’t imagine making a commitment to someone, and not telling him about big chunks of my life – especially the traumatic stuff and parts of my life that I’m not especially proud of. If he couldn’t handle all of that, then that would tell me we shouldn’t be together. All of that is part of who I am, and I just can’t imagine having to hide that from the person I live with and see every single day. He’s the same way.

          I can’t speak for all straight people, but to me – hiding something as significant as a ten year relationship would be a HUGE red flag that there’s a problem with trust or communication or something. You don’t have to lay out your whole life story on the first date, but eventually -yeah.

          • http://www.embracerelease.com aly

            Incidentally, that woman who wouldn’t mention her past relationship with another woman to her husband? He’s very anti-gay. And she’s not. (She’s even still friends with her ex!) It’s so confusing.

        • EM

          Enjoying someone’s company and being best friends are really different things — I don’t think I’d be best friends because we don’t communicate in a “best-friends” kind of way.

          For example: when I’m going through something difficult at work, my default response has always been to process things out loud with a friend — although sometimes this just works me up even more instead of calming me down. With my SO, who’s not much of a talker, it’s enough to just say “I had a shitty day.” A few moments of peace snuggled up on the couch is often enough to make me feel better — and usually, to figure out how to handle things the next day.

          The “cuddle and the world looks better” option would kind of be off the table if we had a platonic friendship — but it’s essential to the ways we relate to one another.

          **From the other side, when a hug and a glass of wine isn’t enough to deal with his crappy day, he’ll talk to me about what happened and we’ll strategize a solution. While that’s something I used to a *lot,* it’s an incredibly intimate thing, for him — something he rarely does even with his closest friends. I doubt he’d feel comfortable being vulnerable in those ways if we were “only” best friends.

          • http://www.embracerelease.com aly

            Right. I didn’t mean that we would be best friends if we weren’t married. But we could/would be friends. Maybe there’s a divide here too between straight and lgbt folks. Maybe straight men/women are less likely to cultivate friendships with people they’d otherwise date? Does that make sense? Of course I could be totally off the mark here and making crazy generalizations. I’m really just thinking out loud.

        • ambi

          I have never thought of it this way before, Aly, but I see what you are saying. I talk to my (male) partner about stuff, but I’ll admit that I talk to him differently than I talk to my girlfriends. In my mind, neither one is getting “more” – it is just different. My conversations with my guy tend to be more back and forth, informative, and factual. My conversations with my girlfriends tend to be more comparative and relational. Very interesting observation! I hadn’t (until now) factored that difference into my analysis of partner-as-best-friend.

          • http://prettypicturesbydanielle.tumblr.com/ Danielle

            Aly, I was thinking this too! Because in girl-girl relationships, it’s so easy to be friends and just wanna hang out all the time, the lines between friend and girlfriend/partner can be blurred (in my experience). Whereas in my relationships with guys it’s easier to have some emotional separation, and rely on them differently than I do with my friend-friends.

            And you know, all those jokes about lesbian couples merging together and just hanging out with each other all the time… you don’t hear those jokes about straight relationships. You just don’t.

    • NF

      I totally agree that getting married doesn’t supplant any relationship with someone else. At my wedding I told my husband that my best friends were now his best friends-in-law, they are not going anywhere just because I’m married, just like my family isn’t going away even though I’m building my own family now.

      Also, about a year after I got married I was sitting on a couch with my husband and one of my best friends, and I told my best friend I loved her (we do that a lot). My husband replied (mostly jokingly) “I hope you love me more.” My response: “I love you different!”

  • http://cheaperthanwisdom.com Emily

    Um, YES. I really can’t imagine being friends with my husband (our feelings towards each other are not exactly platonically appropriate). And I have best friends, about whom my feelings are completely appropriate, so there you go. The expectations and responsibilities and commitment of a spouse feel wildly different to me than those of a friend, even a best friend.

    My husband often says to me, “You’re my favorite.” Which I think is kind of what people are getting at when they give the “marry your best friend” advice. I don’t think that most people are actually BFFs with their partner before they wed; I think it’s more about thinking they’re the best person ever and liking them a whole lot. Granted, there are plenty of times when we are decidedly NOT each other’s favorite person; but when that feels true, I assume that’s the sentiment that folks are pointing to when they use the misnomer of “best friend.”

    • meg

      Smart stuff here.

    • http://tubetopix.wordpress.com Beb

      Amen to the “you’re my favorite” thing. My fiance and I say that to each other, too, and we mean it, but we’ve never thought of ourselves as friends, let alone best friends. It’s a completely different category of relationship, with, as Meg points out, a completely different set of responsibilities (and benefits!).

    • AnotherCourtney

      We say “you’re my favorite,” too! Love it! :)

  • lorna

    my husband is unashamedly my best friend. we were good friends for a year and a bit before we started a relationship. we don’t have that much in common hobbies and interests wise, but then neither do i and my other best friends (i have a small collection…)

    i think it goes back to definitions, like other people have said before. we have our own stuff, and our own friends and our own things we like to do, but i define my best friend as the person i want to talk to, hang out with, argue with, eat with and generally be with the most. that’s him. closely followed by my group of friends and my brother. maybe its different for us because we were part of one social circle before we got together. we always hung out together as a big group of friends. we still do, i just go home with him now.

    just felt i should stick up for the people who feel this is the right way for them to describe their relationship. i don’t really care if it makes other people baulk, it’s right for us!

    • meg

      This is, of course, the popular cultural opinion, so you’re vastly in the majority, at least in the US. I’m arguing for role separation, but you don’t have to agree.

      • http://bunniesnbeagles.blogspot.com Ms. Bunny

        People should define relationships the way that feels best for them. If role separation makes it work in your world, do that.

        If saying my significant other is a husband, partner, best friend, lover, etc. works for me, that’s what I’m going to do. He can play all these roles, but maybe not all at once.

        AND I can have multiple best friends and have different relationship styles with each. I really hope no one on APW is advocating that their partner is their world — I certainly haven’t seen anyone say so.

        The big take away I’m getting from this post is that we shouldn’t judge others’ relationships based on how they define themselves.

        And down with the dominate narratives! We are human beings and human beings are varied and complex. Dominate narratives negate that complexity.

        • em

          I think the takeaway is actually not to judge *our own* relationships for being different. There have been a lot of times I’ve sat silently and worried about us not being best friends, and what that means for our relationship long term. It’s a lonely place. after this lovely post Im not going to worry any more. The assumption I’ve bumped into floating out there that not besties=doomed is clearly just wrong.

  • http://www.kyliewrites.com Kylie

    I’ve often thought vaguely along these same lines, but I’ve never been able to articulate my worries about the fact that my partner and I share values but not as many “interests”. You wrote so beautifully about this situation which falls outside our normal spouse-narratives, but I’m guessing isn’t uncommon at all.

    What finally set me at ease in my own relationship was that I realized that my partner and I both care deeply about being kind — to ourselves and others. When I discovered that this was one of our main shared values, I figured the rest would work itself out.

    • Lethe

      What a lovely way of describing your shared values!

  • Lethe

    It’s really interesting that in everyone’s comments, the people who define their partner as their best friend aren’t necessarily the same set of people who report that they share a lot of interests with their partner. The two things may or may not go together. That’s definitely the case in my marriage – we have excellent alignment in our fundamental values, which I think has spilled over into sharing many of the same day-to-day interests (politics, fitness, healthy cooking and experiencing nature) but I would never call my wife my best friend. We were friends before we dated, but for me the “best friend” relationship is necessarily platonic. My best friend(s) are the people I feel close to, but without all the complexities, vulnerabilities and fulfillments of a romantic relationship. (But that’s just me – it’s clearly different for everyone.)

    • meg

      Yup. This. I do actually share many interestes with my husband, but it’s different.

  • Alison

    I didn’t really realize it until today, or maybe I was just afraid to realize it, but I’m not sure my fiance and I would be friends if we weren’t getting married. This piece really resonated with me, and made me cognizant of what was going on in my own head. Is my fiance a wonderful man who I love more than anything in this world? Absolutely. Is he one of the most important people in my life? Definitely. But I have a small group of best friends who, along with my fiance, make my life more rich, more complete, more fun… than if I just had any one of them by themselves, fiance included.

    Thank you, Rowenna, for writing such a smart piece. And thank you Meg, as always, for talking about the stuff that matters.

  • http://grapesodakitchen.wordpress.com SpaceElephant

    I dunno; I feel like this is definitely all semantics. I have good friends with whom I share lots of values but few hobbies. I don’t get the hobbies= friends, values=spouse dichotomy. I won’t deny that sharing values with your spouse is of paramount importance, but I don’t think that sharing or not sharing of hobbies is any kind of predictor for the quality of a marriage.

    In Middle and Early Modern English, the word “friend” was often used to refer to one’s romantic partner or spouse.

    Point is, even if I wouldn’t say “I married my best friend” or refer to my husband as my best friend, I certainly wouldn’t gag or judge when other people do so. Different strokes for different folks, and all that. I enjoyed Rowenna’s writing about her own thinking about friendship vs marriage, but feel like the “F*ck marrying your best friend” framing is a little judgmental and off-putting.

    • meg

      That’s what we do here sometimes: take the dominant cultural narrative and say we totally don’t agree with it, and see where the discussion goes. That’s APW. It’s always been a collection of my (and now others) very strong opinions. We’re not trying to be everything for everyone (man, would we fail at that), we’re trying to make you think, and make ourselves think.

      • Laura

        That’s interesting! I’m not sure I’ve heard about the marrying your best friend thing as the dominant cultural narrative. I guess it must be, because I keep seeing arguments against it! I just figured, some do, some don’t, neither way is wrong. I don’t think I’m wrong for marrying my best friend–I don’t think I blindly fell into some trap of societal expectations, you know?–because he just IS. And that’s fine. And anyone who isn’t marrying or married to or dating their best friend is totally fine, too.

        I respect debate; I really do (even if I’m a bit sensitive sometimes). But a few parts of this discussion sound a little like “my relationship is right and yours is GROSS,” and that isn’t an attitude I’ve encountered on this website before.

        • http://warrenpimp.blogspot.com/ Contessa

          If you feel like you married your best friend that’s valid (and lovely) and not neccesarily falling into a trap of thinking. BUT if you don’t feel that way and are worried that your relationship is essentially flawed because you don’t, that could create problems where there are none, no?

          • Laura

            Of course! I think that’s what Rowenna’s piece really addresses–that at first, she did worry about it, but then she came to realize that she and her husband didn’t need to be best friends to have a strong, wonderful marriage. I think it’s important to have a story like hers out there, as it’s obviously resonating with a lot of people. There’s no “right” way for every relationship; each one will necessarily be different.

            It’s true of weddings, too–I don’t think anyone visiting this site would ever bash someone for choosing to go traditional, traditional-ish or completely non-traditional with their ceremony, because of course different things work for different people. The important thing is being genuine and honest. Talking about it reminds us all that we shouldn’t feel bad about doing what’s right for us, whether it fits in with whatever cultural norm we’re used to or not. I just think the conversation loses something when, rather than celebrate that there ISN’T one right way to do things, we put down anyone not doing things OUR way. Thankfully, I’m not seeing too much of that here. :)

            (sorry for rambling!)

      • http://www.foodiewashere.com kc

        But can’t we do that without tearing each other down? This is what puts me off about this conversation every time it comes up here, the idea that one narrative is superior to another. We all define ourselves in the way that is best for ourselves and our own relationships.

    • http://heyarandom.blogspot.com Laura

      I completely agree. It’s so interesting to me to hear about other relationships, and I’d never put someone down for thinking about it differently than me. If it works for each partner, it’s awesome.

      • meg

        Sure. But you’ve all heard the dominant cultural narrative upheld everywhere, your whole life. Part of what we do here is flip the tables, sometimes a little hard, and see what shakes up. It’s my FAVORITE PART of what we do, actually.

        • ambi

          I totally agree with the importance (and fun) of flipping the tables and talking about relationships that don’t fit the dominant cultural narrative.

          I think the point here is that, for several of us, “marrying your best friend”is neither a common cultural narrative nor held up in our lives as an ideal. Within my group of girlfriends, I am alone in feeling like my partner can also be my best friend (most of my girlfriends come from backgrounds that included much stronger female friendships than what I grew up with – they have life-long best friends that could never be edged out by their husbands.) My parents have always seemed to be best friends, and do not have very many close friendships outside their marraige, other than their siblings. However, in college I remember studying a sociological phenomenon that lower-income marriages and familes are more insular with fewer outside friends, hobbies, and interests as compared with weathier families. It clicked with me then – it isn’t that my parents are very best friends who love all the same things, it’s that they basically had no free time (both my parents worked multiple full-time jobs, and what little time was left over was filled with child care, chores, etc.) – they were struggling tooth and nail to get by, which left basically no time for outside friends, but which also bonded them together in a way I can’t describe very well. Now that they have more free time, they have made a few new friends (notably, they befriended another couple, so they still spend a lot of their “friend time” together), and they have kind of developed mutual hobbies together – gardening and traveling. So, maybe for me it was a common narrative, but not necessarily a positive one – I remember thinking that, if my parents just had a more comfortable life, they would branch out from each other and enjoy outside friendships more, take up separate hobbies, etc.

          My partner’s parents, on the other hand, come from a higher income bracket, had more free time, and most definitely aren’t each other’s best friends – they clearly have best friends outside of the marriage. My partner grew up with this family model – his parents spend a LOT of time apart, enjoying activities with their friends. He was always taught that your spouse can’t fill all those roles, and he would never have expected his mom to go kayaking with his dad or his dad to take up painting with his mom.

          So we were both sort of pleasantly surprised when our own relationship organically evolved into one where we (luckily) are able to spend free time doing things we love (outdoor sports, gardening, travel, live music and sporting events, etc.), and we ended up prefering to do them with each other (and additional friends too, but it isn’t the separate spheres that he grew up with).

          I have no idea whether this income/class element is a real factor or not, but I think we should at least acknowledge that “marrying your best friend” may be a dominant cultural narrative for some people, while “don’t expect your spouse to be your everything” is just as strong a narrative for others.

          Whatever it is, it is damn interesting!

          • Class of 1980

            “I remember studying a sociological phenomenon that lower-income marriages and familes are more insular with fewer outside friends, hobbies, and interests as compared with wealthier families.”

            That is so interesting and it’s kinda something I’ve thought about before. I know that entertaining on a regular basis is correlated with having more funds. Hobbies tend to require money also.

            Clearly, having the free time and funds makes a difference in one’s choices. Even simple things like the ability to hire help makes a difference in the amount of free time available to devote to other things.

          • Victwa

            I actually think this is an important element. As I commented later, when I think about what we’ve got going on each day, trying to balance work and family, for me, finishing a dissertation, for him, going back to school, it’s a tremendous amount. We’re freakin’ TIRED a lot, and sometimes I just want to have a couple of hours to myself, rather than try to have more social interaction (and I’m a total extrovert, which my fiancé is not, meaning that he’s even less likely to run out and want to have more social time). I know that for me, the end is near for the dissertation (well, then I’ll have a baby, and we all know how much free time is left after that!), and I’ll have at least SOME extra time to spend with more friends. However, it’s way different than it was when I was not part of a family. While I don’t think that we’re trying to run everything around the kids, hey– they’re pretty important, and between meeting the financial needs of a family and really being clear that we want to have a family that communicates well with each other and is close (which takes a large investment of time and energy), there’s just not a ton of time for nurturing lots of other relationships. Do I think they’re important? YES! And I’m still working on keeping them in my life, and following other, non-fiancé and family related interests. I just think that when you are working to meet the needs of little people (ESPECIALLY on a tight budget), it shifts where your relationships and connections go, and I think that’s an important piece of this discussion.

          • ambi

            It has been (many) years, but I just remember sitting in sociology class dumbstruck because the phenomenon they were describing fit my family perfectly. It basically said that lower income families are much more likely to socialize, have friendships, and spend free time within the family, and have fewer outside friends and activities. Growing up, I’d say 90% or more of our activities were either immediate-family-only, or if they were more “social” (dinner out, Fourth of July picnic, birthday celebration), they included grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I knew adults that my parents worked with and were friendly with. I knew a few people that my parents went to high school with. But my parents didn’t see those people on anything like a regular basis (more like we would accidentally run into them while out around town and catch up for a few minutes).

            As an angsty college student, this whole idea that their relative lack of friends was a sad result of their financial situation drove me crazy. I really lamented the fact that my mom didn’t get the same kind of female bonding, girlfriends having drinks together and talking, deeply comforting friendship that I had with my best girlfriends, and that my dad didn’t regularly get to kick back with his guy friends and watch a game and drink a beer. But now that I am older, I realize that my parents are genuinely happy with their lives. Whatever the cause and effect, they are who they are now. I have changed my thinking from “if only they had more money and could live differently, have more friends, enjoy the happiness that comes with developing as a person apart from your spouse . . . ” to “who is to say one approach is better than the other – they’re happy.”

            I guess this is just ot add that (at least for me), I tend to have a deeply ingrained bias to anything that can be culturally identified as pertaining to higher income people rather than lower income – as in, of course, the way wealther people live is how we would all live if we only could. But maybe not, with this one. My partner and I have the time and money to develop friendships and activities and hobbies outside our relationship, and we have, but we still choose to essentially have each other as our best friend and the center of our social lives. It is what I grew up with, but it is also what he prefers even given his upbringing.

        • http://bunniesnbeagles.blogspot.com Ms. Bunny

          Sometimes sass can be misinterpreted. I certainly did when I first read it.

          After reading these comments, I think you were saying f*ck to the cultural narrative, not to relationships that actually do consider each other to be best friends.

          And I know that spelling that out sometimes makes the joke less funny, but waking up first thing to a tweet that says f*ck to the kind of relationship I have can be jarring, especially before I’ve had my caffeine.

        • Edelweiss

          I’m confused as to how “spouse is best friend” is the dominant cultural narrative. We grew up in a generation of divorce and broken families and sitcoms and commercials continually perpetuate the concept of husband as sports-obsessed dofus and wife as someone desperately seeking time to shop, spa, and complain to her girlfriends. I know a lot of people use the term “best friend” in their vows, but that’s not the evidence that’s thrust in my face everyday.

          • Amanda

            Totally agree. My parents weren’t best friends, nor were any of my aunts and uncles, or any friends’ parents that I knew of. Thinking of a spouse as friend seems pretty fresh and new to me…and I like the idea.

    • http://greyandshiny.wordpress.com Nina

      Yes you put my thoughts into words perfectly. I also read this post with some confusion and frustration at the implications.

      “A best friend can be described as someone you can come to with any problem, issue, or request; someone you share everything with. Though there are many situations where my husband is the one I turn to, I don’t look to my husband to solve every problem, or fill every role.”

      “it’s the person who is closest to you, someone you know well and regard with affection and trust.”

      Yep, my husband is those things to me and therefore I have no problem calling him my best friend. That doesn’t mean we do everything together or have all the same hobbies or are each other’s everything. A non-spouse best friend wouldn’t be ALL those things either! If that’s how we want to define a best friend then I guess none of us have one because such a person doesn’t exist.

      Like many other commenters have said above, clearly it comes down to semantics. And since it does, I don’t understand the need for implying that people who consider themselves married to their “best friend” have less of a community and therefore less healthy of a marriage.

    • http://oversized-cliches.blogspot.com Zan

      Middle English! I love etymology! Nerd alert!

    • Anna Bryson

      In german ‘my boyfriend’ is ‘mein freund’… my friend

  • http://www.little-white-dress.com Alexandra

    Thank you for this post. The timing on these are impeccable. Today I needed reminding that I can’t expect my fiance to be my everything. I have friends and family so they can be there for me in their own ways. My fiance is the person closest to me emotionally and physically so I often find myself turning to him for everything out of habit and convenience. And that’s something to work on, so thank you for that.

  • Joanna

    I don’t say it to everyone else (to prevent major eye rolls), but I always tell my partner he’s my best friend. To be fair, I have maybe 5 best friends. So I’m really generous with the title. However, straight up – he is.

    Our values all line up, but we also enjoy the same music, a lot of the same activities… Of course, when he plays video games, I’m probably sewing or baking. And I wouldn’t be able to drag him on a shopping expedition. But I’m completely comfortable with identifying him as a best friend, in addition to being my partner. Our world is not just romance mixed with financial and household responsibilities, we enjoy sharing our lives in the way that best friends would. I think that’s okay.

    • http://aweightymix.com Danielle

      You took the words right out of my mouth. Thank you for posting this; I was starting to feel like some weirdo for considering my husband my best friend. We weren’t friends before we began dating, but through our relationship (we’ve been together for 9 years, married for almost 2), he’s absolutely become my best friend. I LIKE hanging out with him, playing board games, listening to similar music, etc.

      We absolutely have different interests in other respects, similar to yours, but in the end, he’s my best friend. I love spending time with him, experiencing new things with him, etc.

      Don’t get me wrong, my sister and my best friend from growing up I’ll go to with problems that maybe Matt won’t understand/can’t help with (usually issues with my in-laws or his family or my family), but overall most things I know I can go to Matt with, and he can come to me.

      Again, thank you for posting this.

  • Bmerry

    There was a point in my relationship with my fiance that we started referring to each other as best friends, but after reading this, I was reminded that he and I have many differences. However, what it seems that we do share is our dating style and values or goals, but not so much all of our hobbies. Reading this article just reminded me of how different our interests are and how we’ve picked some new interests from each other. I think he and his mother are the reason I started cooking (well, mostly baking).

  • NF

    My husband and I were best friends for years before we started dating. And, while our relationship has certainly changed since then, I don’t think that the things that made us such close friends before have changed, so I see our relationship/marriage as supplementing the fact that he’s my best friend, not replacing it. And right now that’s been really important. Due to outside circumstances romance hasn’t been very easy to find at times, so knowing that even before we were romantic we enjoyed spending all of our time together has made me feel much more secure. I don’t think it’s necessary, but it helps a lot.

    The other part for me is that I think (like others have said), the idea of a “best friend” isn’t necessarily either a clearly defined concept or exclusive to one person. I have three best friends who I’ve known for forever, and I also have my husband who is my best friend. None of those friendships interfere with the others, and all of them are unique in some ways, although they have common elements.

    Having my husband as a best friend doesn’t mean that I don’t NEED the other friendships. But I don’t think I could be happy if my relationship with my husband didn’t share some of the qualities that have sustained my other friendships for 10-20 years through periods when we’ve had nothing in common, when we’ve fought, etc.

    Being best friends doesn’t necessarily mean we have lots of common interests, or always want to spend time together. For me it’s a description of the strength of the foundation of a relationship.

  • KateM

    Someone above mentioned a ven diagram and I think that if you look look at the characteristics of a best friend, those of a spouse, and those of a mother, many of them are overlapping. I am not best friends with my FH, he knows more and less about me than those friends do. We got engaged after 6 month, there is no way he could be my best friend, there wasn’t enough time at that point. He is about to become my husband, that means he loves me, has the same values we plan to raise our children with, supports my ambitions, the one I confide in absolutely. Many of those things are also shared with my best friend and with my mother but that doesn’t make any of them the same role. I cringe when people say there mom is their best friend, she is your mother and you may have an awesome mother/daughter relationship but not best friend. The attributes of best friend can belong to other people in your life.
    Aside from that, I think especially in relationships* the differences make it interesting, push me to continue expanding and changing and being challenged. I learn new things on a regular basis, and now sadly, have a much larger range of trivia knowledge regarding Star Wars, which I did not need :)
    *Healthy relationships, sometimes differences are just to big to make something work, compromising on who you are or what you believe are not differences that should be overcome.

    • meg

      THIS. Very well said, smart, yesness.

      • KateM

        I would also say that this topic is a trigger for me, because like you Meg, I fell for my best friend. legit 10 years platonic best friend. It didn’t work out and I was pretty devastated at the time. When it does work it is great, because of the shared history etc. but when it doesn’t it is brutal. There is no going back because the relationship is different. And when someone knows you that well, and rejects you, it is bruising in a way I have never experienced before or since.
        It worked out in the end, because he isn’t the man I am marrying and I am thankful for the man that I do have, he is more than I ever wanted in ways that I didn’t know were good for me.

    • Class of 1980

      Oh, I don’t know.

      My sister and her daughter are really each others best friend in every sense of the word. This probably makes them very unusual, but it’s the truth. They can just look at each other and know what the other is thinking. Last year, they even bought a house together!

      What is interesting about it is that my sister never tried to be her daughter’s best friend. She believed a child needs a parent; not a friend. My sister was very good at providing boundaries.

      But once her daughter got into her twenties and became self-sufficient, their relationship changed into best friends. I think they are as surprised by this as everyone else is! I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it.

      • http://thewellexaminedlife.blogspot.com Rowenna

        I think the analogy of mother and daughters being best friends is really helpful here. Yes, a mother can encompass everything that a best friend is, just like a partner can encompass everything a best friend is. The reverse however is not true: your mother is not ONLY your best friend, and a partner is certainly not only a best friend here. So best friend can definitely be a describer of a relationship, but it does not define ALL of the aspects of that relationship. I think this is why I hesitate to use the term best friend about my husband (or even my sister, who probably is my closest friend) because the term husband seems much more encompassing to me – it means that he’s the one I turn to in good and bad times, the one I talk to, the one who comforts me, and the one I like to spend time with, which I could say about a best friend, but he’s also the one I want to have children with and share my money with and plan my life with, and yes, the one I want to sleep with!

        I don’t think there’s anything wrong with calling your partner your best friend – it’s not what I choose to do, and I don’t think anyone who doesn’t should feel badly about it, but it’s a perfectly fine choice if it feels right to you. As long as you recognize that your partner is not merely your best friend, but something more, then I think we’re all on the same page. Semantics it may be, but I’ve always been one who likes to use the most precise language possible, so husband feels best for me.

        • http://greyandshiny.wordpress.com/ Nina

          Now THIS I can agree with. I certainly would never think my husband’s role of ‘best friend’ was more important than his role as ‘husband’ – I did marry him after all – it’s just an additional term that helps to describe the type of relationship we have. He is my husband AND the person in my life who most closely fits the bill of best friend. I’m sure the roles overlap for many of us, some more than others. In my case the overlap is big, that’s all.

          • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

            YES. I see it this way too. I guess I see the term “best friend” as having a bit of stretch to it. I have my husband (who I also definitely consider my best friend though that is certainly not the primary descriptor I use for the relationship because I think the spousal relationship is much bigger than that.) Then there is my best friend who has been my best friend for 15 years or so. She is still my female best friend and he is still my husband (with the additional category of best friend included in that) Then there are those friends I consider in the next circle of closeness…the next-best-friends or whatever you want to call it. I guess I just use the term with some looseness. But, I don’t really think how people label things is what is important, since we are all operating with different definitions anyways, and on top of that, with different desires and goals for a relationship too. Long as the approach works for the couple… :)

            (And I do think the conversation insular relationships as related to introvert-extravert tendencies and social class to be particularly interesting. And I would guess stage of life is also a huge factor too.)

  • Allison

    I definitely felt like I was marrying my best friend and I think that was perhaps not the best way to think about him. It definitely put him in this platonic category, whereas I really should have been thinking about him as my partner, my lover, the father of my future children. But a friend? Maybe. I think there are QUALITIES of both a friend and a husband that should be shared (that whole venn diagram thingy) but I don’t necessarily think a husband needs to be a best friend, nor do I think that every friend could be your husband. I also don’t think that hobbies = friends, either. I have plenty of very good friends with whom I do not share every single interest/hobby with. That’s what makes them fun too! Because I learn stuff and we have stuff to talk about.

    But there are clearly unique qualities to being a husband that a best friend or friend wouldn’t necessarily possess.

    Common interests and compatible personalities are two of those qualities, but there is more to it and so that’s why I think people who have a history of platonic best friends are much more aware of those differences. Personally, I have not had many best friends in my life, boy or girl. When I met my husband, I had almost no friends and so he really very quickly became my social circle. He was my best friend by the sheer fact that I spent all my time with him. That was NOT healthy and it has led to some not-so-good things in the last few months.

    My point is, I think there are kernels of truth to what everyone is saying. I think if you marry someone you wouldn’t be friends with is kind of strange, but I also think that a husband clearly has many more qualities and traits that your average friend or BFF wouldn’t have. Because THAT’S why you’re marrying them.

  • Brianne

    I’m pretty sure that if I called my husband my best friend, my best friend would lose her shit! My husband is wonderful support in so many ways, and a truly amazing partner. But my best friend, my best friend is the girl who drew picture notes back and forth in algebra in middle school, who did stupid things in college and who I can talk about anything with (including my marriage) without judgement, and as a sounding board- and who won’t automatically go into how can i fix this mode. My best friend was my best friend for long before my husband ever came around and will continue to be there- through weddings, marriage, eventual babies, etc.. There are places for many people in our lives- aren’t we all lucky that way?

    • Kristin

      See, I DO consider my husband my best friend because he’s the person who best fits that description. I don’t have any other been-there-for-years, talk-about-anything, call-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night friends. I have pleny of casual girlfriends who are great for getting drinks with or pursuing mutual hobbies, but none of those friendships are super deep.

      Rather than smug, this makes me feel sort of embarrassed or socially deficient. I worry sometimes that we will fall into the trap of needing to be each other’s everything. We do have a lot of common interests, so it’s easy to just always hang out together. We are both interverts and not great at meeting new people, but we try to cultivate separate friendships and interests because we understand how important it is.

      As many people have said, I think it’s about your definition of “best friend.” Sure we have the same taste in music and movies, but more importanly, my husband is my favorite person, the first person I want to share good or bad news with, who shares my most important values, and married or not, that what “best friend” means to me.

      • http://theaftercath.blogspot.com Cathi

        If it makes you feel any better, my fiance and I are one of each. I’m blessed to have a Best Friend who I made bff bracelets with when we were 13, who always introduces me to people as “my best friend, Cathi.” I also have a sister whom I’m ridiculously close to. So my guy is…my partner. My favorite. The love of my life. But not my best friend.

        For him though, I am his best friend. He’s never been one to maintain extremely close friendships, and has always been very busy and therefore whatever free time and emotional reserves he has are dedicated to me. He doesn’t mind that, sometimes, I have to take distress calls at 3am or that sometimes I just need to “woo!” He knows the place of honor he holds in my life is second to none, even if its different than other high ranking positions. And I don’t mind being 90% of his social and emotional system, he’s pretty self sufficient in those departments anyway.

  • Victwa

    I agree that this is somewhat semantics. There’s also a bunch of research on marriages being stronger when couples exercise together. Is this values? (I.e., being healthy, having a healthy lifestyle) or hobbies (both people like to hike)? I met my fiancé through ultrarunning, and part of it is about something we both love to do, and part of it is about being healthy. However, that’s also connected to something we both value and want to have in our family– time spent together outside, and fostering an appreciation for the natural world. We go hiking and backpacking with his kids, and we plan on doing that with the baby-to-appear-in July as well. So is this a value we are building our family on, or a hobby? When I look at my parents’ marriage, happy together after 40+ years, they’ve got both things going on– they love spending time together and have various activities they have in common (hiking, backpacking, skiing, wine tasting, etc), and they have things they do separately (my mom LOVES tennis, my dad loves road biking). However, they would also both say that the other person is the one they come to first with most important news, concerns, etc. Does this make them each other’s best friend? They would say so. The other thing is that really, when you add kids into the equation, it becomes just hard to maintain a bunch of relationships, and so by proxy, they became the main relationship in each other’s lives. Plus, my dad just isn’t someone (like my fiancé) who HAS a ton of outside friends. I am definitely the person he talks the most to, and he would call me his best friend. I personally think what makes our relationship work is a combo of hobbies and values, but I think part of it is, as people have pointed out, semantics.

  • tirzahrene

    I will say from experience: Shared values trump shared interests ANY day.

  • Liz

    Reading all of this with so much interest, as this is something I think about a lot.

    Question: when people here (or reading) have said “sharing values”, which values are most important to you? This is a conversation I want to have with my partner, and I want to have a list to go in with. (Compulsive much? Yes.)

    • http://bettencourtchase.blogspot.com Helen

      Money (how you will handle it, what are your financial values), children (if you want to have any, how many, when, and what are your predominant ideas about child rearing), religion (not that you have to have the same spiritual/relgious beliefs but you should at least know where the other stands and how you each feel about that) and what each of you want out of life in general. Also: where you want to live (mostly this comes down to large urban area/smaller city/country, but can also matter if you want to live in New York City specifically starting next year and your partner hates NYC), free time (how much you should have and what you should do with it), family (how you each feel about your family of origin, how often it is important to each of you to see them), sex (the expectations each of you have and how you will deal with differences), and fighting/conflict (what is the right way to deal with things when they go wrong, what are your fighting styles, etc.)

    • tirzahrene

      Personally? How you treat people. What family means to you. If you want a family. How you deal with money. How you handle the hard things. How hard you’re willing to work. What your priorities are. What you care about when the chips are down. How you deal with a bad day, yours, mine, or ours.

  • Annette

    “No one person can fill every need, and if you expect your partner to be the right person to come to about every issue, that’s unrealistic.”

    YES. Thank you for this bit, in particular. I loathe the expectation in our current society that your partner is your “everything”…and I love my beau/domestic partner, absolutely, and we are sharing and building a life together…but that doesn’t mean that he alone is my world. My world is full of amazing, wonderful, kick-ass people.

    Thank you, Rowenna, for your perspective, and APW, for sharing it with all.

  • Alyssa

    It probably is semantics, but I think the overall attitude of the post is that no matter what, the relationship is valid and right because it’s what works for them. People who think of their partner as their best friend are awesome and lucky; and Rowenna is just going, “I have the direct opposite and I’m awesome and lucky too!” It’s just an indicator to those who might feel left out that they’re fine too, not a condemnation of either side.

    Featuring a type of relationship and then having lots of people go, “ME TOO! AREN’T WE AWESOME?!” doesn’t mean the other side is less awesome. OR that the other side tried to demean that type of relationship. OR that the other side is even all that different…whatever, my point is rapidly running away from me.

    I guess what I’m saying is:

    YAY FOR EVERYBODY!

    HUGS AND PONIES ALL AROUND!

    • Kristin

      Thanks, Alyssa. This is sort of what I was trying to get at above, but instead I got a wee bit defensive.

      Everyone is awesome and lucky!

      • Alyssa

        Nah, not defensive! It’s just hard because I feel this is an off-shoot of the calling your partner your husband, wife, fiance, girlfriend, partner, etc. conversation. It’s highly important to some, semantics and a non-issue to others.
        But all are valid!

        I AFFIRM YOU! :-)

    • http://bunniesnbeagles.blogspot.com Ms. Bunny

      Love you Alyssa. Hugs and ponies right back at ya!

    • Class of 1980

      I would really like a pony. When can I expect him or her? ;)

  • Lys

    Bringing together the closest friends from different parts of our lives for the wedding really drove home that my husband and I are only “best friends” by default – because we can’t talk to these amazing but busy and far-flung people every time we have a joy or sorrow. If only daily life could be like the time around our wedding, when my husband played golf and pool every day with his best guy friends from childhood through college, while my lady friends and I drank fancy cocktails and gossiped on the beach. Even when we only see each other for a short trip or talk on Skype, the 10- to 20-year best friend bond is still obvious and special, and I want to honor that. Maybe someday we’ll all retire to the same beach community.

  • http://jameystegmaier.com Jamey Stegmaier

    For the most part, I greatly agree with what this article describes. I’m single, but I strongly support the idea of having a best friend or two outside of your marriage (or my marriage, when the day comes). I also fully support having completely different interests than your spouse.

    However, there are two things that surprised me from the article and the comments:

    –The idea that friends are people with whom you share interests, hobbies, and taste in movies, TV, and music. To me, shared values is a much more important component to friendships (and spouses, like the article says) than shared interests. For example, the friends with whom I choose to spend my time are those who treat people inherently well, not those who happen to like the same type of music I do.

    –That best friends are people who fulfill your needs. Many people in the comments mention how they have different best friends to whom they go when they need something. To me, that’s a sad shell of a friendship. In my opinion, your cadre of friends isn’t your own personal team of therapists that you use whenever you need something. Best friends are the people whose happiness you care about the most.

    Under that definition, I’d put your spouse at the top of your list of friends. Maybe top 2.

    • Kristin

      “In my opinion, your cadre of friends isn’t your own personal team of therapists that you use whenever you need something.”

      I think that’s a bit harsh . People have different talents, interests, and stengths, and different roles in each other’s lives. Reaching out to different friends in different situations isn’t “using” them; it’s just recognizing who is best suited for that situation, or who would most enjoy experiencing it with you.

      • http://jameystegmaier.com Jamey Stegmaier

        Kristin–I would definitely agree that reaching out to different friends based on who would most enjoy experiencing various activities with you is a very healthy form of friendship. The focus is on them, not you.

        But I think it’s very different when you’re focusing on your needs when you reach out to friends. Perhaps you have a friend that you call whenever you have a bad day. Are you really treating them like a friend in that situation, or are you putting your happiness before theirs? Unless that friend truly enjoys listening to you, I would think that’s a role better covered by a therapist. What do you think?

        • Em

          Jamey, you’re right to point out that a friendship consists of a lot more than crisis management — however, the handful of close friends that I have stayed in touch with over the years and across the distances have remained my closest friends not only because I enjoy spending time with them, but, yes, because we have been there for one another in hard times.

          When one of them had a horrible break-up with her live-in boyfriend, I helped her find a new apartment, long-distance. She didn’t introduce herself to me our first day of high school so that she’d have emotional support eight years later. Similarly, I didn’t maintain a relationship with my closest friend from middle school on the off-chance that one day, should I ever be diagnosed with a chronic illness, she’d offer me a kidney — but that was literally her first response when she found out that I had been.

          Neither of those friendships would have withstood the test of time if they were unidirectional.

          • http://jameystegmaier.com Jamey Stegmaier

            Em–Definitely, I completely agree. Friends are definitely there for the rough patches as well as the highlights of our lives, and we’re there for them as well. I think it’s the whole concept of “using” friends that gets to me. Many of the comments here say that people have some things that they go to their spouse about, and there are other things that they use specific friends for. Maybe it’s just semantics, but I think we’ve all used our friends before, and we’ve all been used before.

            Here’s a situation based on the example you gave–your friend had a horrible breakup, and you helped her find a new apartment. That’s awesome–that’s the kind of things friends do. Now, what if from then on, that friend designated the friend she goes to whenever she breaks up or needs a new apartment? Maybe it’s a conscious choice, or maybe she doesn’t even realize she’s doing it. But over time, you realize that pretty much the only time you hear from that friend is when she goes through a break up or moves. (That’s an extreme example, but I guarantee that we’ve all been used in that way, and we’ve all probably used someone else in that way.) How do you feel about the friendship then? Is it still a friendship, or are you simply providing a service for her?

            Like I said, I think we do this sometimes without realizing it. Just as I wouldn’t want to designate my spouse as the person I go to for X, Y, and Z, I don’t want to do that to my friends. And if I realize I’m doing it–if I realize that I’ve stopped thinking about a friend’s happiness and started making the relationship all about me–that’s when I need to take a step back and re-evaluate my life and my relationship with that person. They deserve better than to be used.

            What do you think?

        • Kristin

          Jamie-healthy friendship is reciprocal. When I call a friend after a bad day, I am focusing on my needs at that moment because I’m the one who needs the support. She probably doesn’t truly enjoy the actual act of listening to me, but she does listen because she cares about me and wants to support me. In this case, she is putting my happiness before her own. However, when she calls me after her own bad day, I do the same for her, and this time we focus on her needs, and her happiness comes before mine.

          If I expect her to be at my beck and call whenever I need her, but I’m not there for her in tough times, that would indeed be selfish. It’s a lovely thought that we should always put others’ happiness before our own, but most of need emtional support from time to time, and I think seeking out support from a friend can stengthen the friendship, as long as that support isn’t abused.

          Of course, therapists are a great option, too, but for run of the mill bad days, I think calling up a friend to vent IS treating them like a friend, when that friendship is based on mutual support.

          • http://jameystegmaier.com Jamey Stegmaier

            Kristin–That’s a good point; reciprocity is a key element for a successful friendship. When things become one sided or if you use a friend for only that purpose, I think that’s when things get icky. Have you ever had a friend who called you for support every time something bad happened, and yet you realized at a certain point that (a) you were no longer reaching out to her in the same way or (b) that was literally the only time you heard from her, when something bad happened? Did that feel like a friendship? How did you deal with it?

        • Kristin

          Jamey, it won’t let me reply to your comment further down…I can’t think of any specific examples of that scenario in my own life, but I one hundred percent agree that that’s when things get icky.

          When many of the commenters said they have different friends they could call on for different things, I don’t think they meant that was their only purpose in maintaining each of those friendship. But I’m totally with you: when 1) the only contact is when something bad happens, and 2) it becomes one-sided, that is a role better suited for a therapist.

          I believe we are on the same page now :)

    • Victwa

      Nicely said. I may amend what I said previously to agree wholeheartedly with this.

    • http://thewellexaminedlife.blogspot.com Rowenna

      I want to address your first bullet here because I’ve been seeing a lot of comments regarding this. People I consider closest and “best friends” to me are the people who do share my values, just like my partner does. They don’t mind staying in and playing Scrabble rather than going out to a bar, they enjoy talking about the same deep topics that I do, etc.

      But I also have lots and lots of friends who have completely different values to me. I have friends who think a lot of the things I do are crazy, but we like the same activity or the same movies, music and books. I have many friends who I only share a pretty narrow interest with, but they’re my one go-to person for that. Just like my partner doesn’t need to be everything to me, neither do any of my friends. I think it’s totally acceptable to have friends with different values. I don’t think friends are ONLY people you have interests in common with, but I also don’t think all friendships are extremely deep and values-oriented, and that’s okay with me.

      When I say in the title that my husband and I would not be friends if we weren’t married, it’s true for ME. Although in the past five years we’ve grown very close, developed similar hobbies and gotten to know each others’ values strongly, when we first met none of that was there. It takes a long time to learn what your own values are, much less what someone else’s are, and I don’t think we’d ever have gotten to that point without entering into a romantic relationship.

  • http://medeamaterial.com Jules

    Loved this post. I had a couple of tear filled discussions with my husband when we were first dating that boiled down to “we don’t have anything in common, our relationship is doomed”. 5 years later, we are happily married and discovering that we are finding new things that we can share. We’ve changed and grown and have discovered we have new common interests. I understand that he may never come to love the thrill of rollercoasters or that he’ll rather have fun exploring virtual dungeons with his friends from the comfort of home while I go underground and crawl around in actual caves. At the end of the day we’ll be able to get together at dinner and tell each other about our days and share our experiences: we may not get why something is exciting for the other person, but we’ll appreciate and respect the fact that whatever happened was relevant and meaningful for each one. And that rocks.

  • http://warrenpimp.blogspot.com/ Contessa

    This is not a pleasant thought but it’s real and I’ve been there before; when your husband is your “Best Friend and Everything” and you divorce there is a real chance you will have no “life without him” and will have to go back and figure out who you are.

    I’m not saying your spouse can’t be your best friend but investing too much in one person can be tricky.

    • Class of 1980

      HA! I kept my ex-husband as a friend! ;) He always will be.

      • http://warrenpimp.blogspot.com/ Contessa

        In the end, I did too which is nice but in the short term there was a feeling of, “I used to have friends…I used to DO things….”

        • Class of 1980

          When I got divorced, I realized I’d been giving my own family the short end of the stick. Really unfair, since they would naturally be there for me more than him after the divorce!

          • ambi

            So . . . I have definitely thought about this, both for my own relationship, and more so for my parents (who are absolutely each others “everything”) – I think there are risks and benefits both ways, and different things work for different people. If my parents had divorced (or if/when one of them dies) would/will it be even harder, even more terrible because they didn’t really develop a life outside of the marriage and don’t have close friends to lean on? Yeah. I think so. And that sucks. But at the same time, I can point out times where the fact that they were best friends, each others everything, has helped them, made them stronger, and even kept them together. I think most choices in life have both positive and negative consequences and each person decides what works for them. The fact that divorce/death will be even worse if your partner is also your social life/support system is a valid concern. But for some people, it is outweighed by the (I believe unique) joy of having that kind of marraige.

          • Class of 1980

            Ambi … YES. Life is full of trade-offs and risks. You can’t always live in such a way as to make minimizing risk the main thing.

  • http://www.koruwedding.blogspot.com Koru Kate ⎨Koru Wedding⎬

    “He is there to share my life—not to be my life.”

    This is the BEST line! Very, very important. I consider my husband one of my best friends. However, we have our own friends & our own interests. We’re often in different directions enjoying our passions. But he is the only person I want to come home to & tell all about my adventures.

  • http://www.spillerena.com Serena

    “No one person can fill every need, and if you expect your partner to be the right person to come to about every issue, that’s unrealistic.”

    So true, and I find that when I’ve gone a longer time than usual without talking to my best friends, I start to get a little depressed. I love my husband, and while we are definitely friends (and I’d like to think that even if we were not married, we would be friends), he doesn’t fulfill the same roll that my best friends fill.

  • Lizzie

    As usual, very thought-provoking – thanks Rowenna and Meg! I’ve been trying to figure out whether my reaction to this post is based on semantic nitpicking or actual disagreement. Here’s what I’ve got so far (arguments are my restating of points that have been made by Meg or Rowenna in the intro, post, and comments – hopefully I haven’t botched them up too badly!):

    ARGUMENT 1: Strong marriages need relationships and communities outside of themselves.
    Agree.

    ARGUMENT 2: No one person can be everything to another person.
    Agree. The topic of “spouse as creative partner” hasn’t even been broached here, but for me, that was the really potent image I had of an idealized relationship, and it took me a long time to reconcile with the relationship that I do have. I am still sometimes envious of people that have this mix, although I can also see it being pretty volatile.

    ARGUMENT 3: Platonic friendships are inherently different from romantic relationships.
    Not sure on this one, and there is a whole cannon of popular culture to back me up here. I would be hard-pressed to think of any meaningful (non-familial) relationship I have where the line between admiration and attraction hasn’t at some moment blurred. In retrospect, now that I’m all “settled down”, I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t sleep with more of my close friends when I was younger.

    ARGUMENT 4: Marrying your best friend is the dominant cultural narrative regarding what makes a good relationship.
    Yes, this probably is true. If nothing else, it’s certainly a cliche. But I’m going to take a moment to appreciate that cliche, because what it describes is not a narrative that has always been dominant, and I much prefer it to a lot of matrimonial models that came before. I think at its heart, saying that your spouse is your best friend is saying that you understand marriage as an institution based on equality and mutual respect and affection, rather than it being a transactional relationship or a relationship that requires a nice high pedestal for women so that it can burn forever on the fuel of everlasting passion. To the extent that the best-friend narrative has now become one that some people find oppressive because it doesn’t fit their own very healthy relationship, that’s regrettable, but it’s also probably just a testament to how far our collective notion of marriage has evolved, which is a GOOD thing.

    • Amy

      “I would be hard-pressed to think of any meaningful (non-familial) relationship I have where the line between admiration and attraction hasn’t at some moment blurred. ”

      I think this is a personal thing, because I know plenty of people who DON’T feel this way, but I have to say that for my own life, this has also been my experience. At one point or another, I have felt some level of attraction for most of my good male friends, even ones I would never desire a romantic relationship with. But I know this isn’t the case with all people, so this may be to some degree a very individual thing.

    • ambi

      Lizzie, I LOVE your analysis! So thorough and methodical! You’re a woman after my own heart! While we don’t perfectly agree on each point, I think the approach is important – this isn’t really about semantics, but where we each stand on particular ideas.

      And I love your point about the blur between platonic and romantic relationships. This probably isn’t true for everyone, but I think that is kind of the point! For some people, maybe a lot of people, romantic attraction can actually be pretty similar to friendship attraction. For me, and I am kind of baring my soul here, so be kind, I only really ever romantic and sexual attraction to people that I am first friends with – maybe it is that I have to first become comfortable and feel safe enough around them to then allow myself to develop romantic feelings? I don’t know. But it is definitely a real thing for me – I have never (and I am being honest here, never) found myself romantically/sexually attracted to someone that I wasn’t first comfortable with as a friend. Random hot guy at a bar – nope, don’t even notice him (really). Is developing sexual attraction to friends instead of random people that I don’t know weird? Maybe. But that’s my reality, and maybe a lot of other people’s too.

      So, anyway, I guess I just wanted to speak up and say that I am constantly amazed (and fascinated) by how other people view and experience the world. Obviously, my experience of friendship, love, attraction, partnership etc. is very different from someone who (1) isn’t sexually attracted to friends, and (2) views their partnership as a very separate entity from a friendship.

      • ambi

        Hey, where did the comment go that talked about being “demisexual” and had the link?! I was about to respond, and I can’t find it now. :(

        Anyway, it was really really REALLY interesting – I have never been exposed to anything like these ideas before! I just thought it was natural not to have sexual feelings for someone unless I first developed a friendship/relationship – and I guess it is natural, for me, and it has a name! :) I guess I do want to clarify, though, that this doesn’t in any way dampen or lessen the ultmate sexual attraction, it just means that I never register any such attraction to people that I don’t know. I have to first develop a comfort level and connection with the person (basically, friendship). Also, this doesn’t mean that I am trying to jump into bed with all my friends! Just because I have a very close friendship with someone doesn’t mean I’ll become attracted to them. It just means that friendship is a prerequisite, for me, to attraction.

        I guess all of this is to say that, while for some people, thinking about your husband as your best friend who you also sleep with may be kind of icky, for others it isn’t icky at all. For me, friendship, attraction, love – it is a spectrum. I love my closest girlfriends without being attracted to them, and I am both friends with and attracted to my partner. For me, there is no ick factor.

        • Hannah

          Sorry! I messed something up and had to repost! Should be there now, and thanks for your comment! I also would add that although I haven’t acted on those attractions to male friends, they were still there.

          I’ve also had other kinds of attractions to guys, where I’ve really wanted to be around someone all the time–a non-romantic attraction–but not been sexually attracted to them. As in, their presence has been really uplifting and energizing for me, and that presence was something I really needed in my life at that point. Sorry, though, don’t know if there’s a term for that! :)

      • Hannah

        This is a really interesting comment! I had a female “friend” (I put this in quotes because she caused me as much strife as companionship and friendship) who was extremely focused on sex, and was basically always telling me I should have sex with random guys because it would make me feel liberated. I kept thinking to myself that I would never be able to do that, and I didn’t think it is because I am repressed.

        Then, later, I learned that there’s a term for that! Demisexual. Basically, that’s someone who needs to feel an emotional attachment before a physical one could ever happen–which explains why I’ve been attracted to guy friends who I knew would never be good partners! Hallelujah!

        I don’t believe in labels, but sometimes having a word for something helps it make more sense. Here’s more info about the demisexual: http://www.asexuality.org/wiki/index.php?title=Demisexual

        Read more: http://apracticalwedding.com/2012/03/when-your-spouse-isnt-your-best-friend/#ixzz1pDSsH4nY

      • Lizzie

        Heh. I felt a little pedantic writing it that way, but I was having enough confused reactions of my own that it was the easiest way for me to think through it all. In any case, Ambi – I’m glad that it resonated!

        I was of course being a little bit flip about wishing that I’d banged more of my friends, because lord knows I’ve always managed to surround myself with enough drama mostly without doing that. It’s just that when I think back on a lot of friendships – at least at certain stages – I would have been very likely at the time to say, “(Person’s name)? Oh no, I don’t think about him romantically at ALL – he’s like my brother!” I have a brother, and trust me, it was always different.

  • Amy

    My own perspective on this is, I think, colored in part by my parents’ experiences. My mom’s especially, because she has talked about it more.

    My mom was married once before she met my dad. And although she loved her first husband dearly, there was no friendship there. My mom believes that this was part of her mistake with her first marriage. My dad IS her best friend, and they’ve been happily married for 30 years now. Now, that isn’t to say that they share a ton of interests. They both like movies, and some board games, but that’s pretty much where it ends. My dad loves golf and politics and puzzles. My mom enjoys new experiences and being social and volunteering. My dad’s conservative, my mom’s liberal. But they can talk to each other. They share values. They support each other. They are each other’s number one priority.

    I think when people talk about being ‘best friends’ with the person you marry, they aren’t saying that your significant other has to be your everything. Or at least that’s never the way I’ve taken it. I think they mean that attraction will wax and wane, even love will wax and wane, and your marriage will have trouble if the attraction and the love were all that was holding you together. The best friendship is meant to mean: do I share values with this person? Can I enjoy spending time with this person? Is this person the person I want to go to to share the exciting news? Is this person the person I can talk to honestly and openly? Do we have a foundation of trust that we can rely on?

    There was a period of time in my life when I had a best friend, and I had a boyfriend, and they were most certainly not the same people. I loved my boyfriend. He was a great guy. We shared some interests. And I had a best friend. The person I relied on. The person I confided in. The person I trusted. (And, interestingly enough, I shared LESS interests and hobbies with my best friend than I did my boyfriend) And what I eventually realized is that this way of doing things? Didn’t work. I lost interest in my boyfriend. I never actually invested fully in that relationship.

    Now I have a significant other whom I do think of as my best friend. He’s not JUST my best friend, by any means. He’s so much more than that. But that friendship IS there, and I do think it is important. He’s not my everything, but he is my number one priority, and he’s the person I confide in, and he makes me laugh, and we share some interests and don’t share others, and that’s okay. I have friends, too, and sometimes I’ll confide in those friend things that I don’t confide in my boyfriend with, and if I had a friend in my life that I thought of as a best friend, I’d call them that.

    But the important thing for me is that there’s something underneath the romance and the lust when it comes to my significant other. And I think it is worth talking about that, because whether you call that thing friendship or not, there are too many couples out there that DON’T have it, that don’t even realize you are supposed to have it (like my mom in her first marriage), and who end up falling apart because of that lack.

  • Liz

    I stinkin love this post, but I definitely married my best friend. We were best friends before dating, but I still consider him my best friend now- even moreso, maybe, because now I confide in him about girly things I didn’t before. (he has an intimate knowledge of my monthly cycle for starters, and offers really valuable advice in choosing appropriate undergarments for cocktail dresses)

    The interesting thing, is that while we don’t share ALL of our hobbies (he will never ever join me in dancing to Lady Gaga at a club or sipping an amaretto sour; I will never ever understand the whole zombie fascination or why someone would want to suffer through straight scotch), our joint hobbies have only become more plentiful since getting married. The stuff we didn’t have in common before? Some of it’s become joint interests- like how I introduced him to the glory of black and white movies and he showed me how delicious a good Manhattan can be.

    So, yep. Still my best friend, only BESTER and FRIENDLIER.

    • Umpteenth Sarah

      Totally. I’ve been feeling uncomfortable with the term ‘best friend’ as I’ve been reading through this, because, like Meg says, he’s my husband so it’s a little different… but, since I’m sort of new to a place, I don’t have a cadre of girlfriends where one is the BESTest, nor do I have that special person from my past either. Or maybe I do, but that’s different too? I have friends, yeah, and some who I see more than others, of course, but by far the most important and bestest and friendliest friend/partner in my life is the one I’m married to, and it’s only gotten better since marriage.

      But anyway, like you our joint hobbies — and even values, his attitude towards the pro-life/choice dilemma has pretty fundamentally changed since we’ve been together — have smushed together a lot more, with both of us giving and taking. So yeah, bester and friendlier.

  • http://bunniesnbeagles.blogspot.com Ms. Bunny

    What I’m really interested in is why this became the cultural norm.

    Is it just the most popular so it gets the loudest voice? I have no problem with it being most popular. Heck, this is the kind of relationship I see for myself and my partner. But just because it might be most popular doesn’t mean that it should drown out the voices of relationships with different definitions or structures. Hello, humanity is complex and messy. Let’s celebrate that, not shame those who function differently than us.

    Is it because we have been fed that our spouse has to be our be all and end all? And if it’s this, why did that narrative come about? Does it have something to do with divorce? I mean, if someone is billed as your whole world, it probably makes it harder to consider divorcing them. (Although I would note that my spouse is not my world even though he is my best friend. Just wanted to make that clear.)

    I don’t think princess/fairy tale is to blame (even though there is much to blame on that bill of goods). I’ve never really felt like the fairy tale narrative uses friendship as much of an element. The fairy tale tripe is built on the idea that the man is some kind of hero/savior, which does not yield a relationship with a lot of equality. And friendship, especially best friendship definitely has an element of equality to it.

    What do the rest of you think?

    • http://warrenpimp.blogspot.com/ Contessa

      I love this line of thinking, WHY and HOW did we end up here? I don’t have an answer but I suspect it lies somewhere during the time women were told/realized (because it’s different for everyone) that we can have it all and should want it all. If that’s the case then maybe we looked at the partnership of marriage as a means to having it all. Is it possible that we swung from expecting nothing from our husbands other than a paycheck and a mowed lawn, to 40 years later, expecting equality in every aspect including mutual support to reach our dreams? With a healthy perspective and a sense of personal responsibility this could be “Ambition Squared” but with a less developed sense of self it could come off as, “You are and I are best friends and we will make each others’ lives Wonderful.” I’m just spit ballin’ here…

      • ambi

        Good lord, this post has spawned a thousand interesting side conversations!!! I absolutely, whole heartedly, vehemently agree that, as part of any discussion about whether your parther is/can be/should be your best friend, we also have to look at whether “husband as best friend” is the cultural norm (I argue that this isn’t actually all that widespread), and where it comes from.

        I love this post and all these forhead-smackingly brilliant comments!

      • Class of 1980

        I think that is it, Contessa.

        The “I married my best friend” thing is a kind of an offshoot of the ideal of an equal partnership.

        And it is a recent phrase.

    • Audrey

      I also wonder if it’s partially because people are so widely-flung nowadays. People do a lot of moving and are less likely to be (physically) close to old friends and family. Sometimes people are “forced” to rely on their spouse more than in the past.

    • Liz

      I think it was the pendulum’s backswing in reaction to the fairytale/princess stuff.

      Marrying the handsome/rich prince wasn’t working out, so let’s all just marry the nice guy who listens to good music. The one who listened to us complain when the prince didn’t work out.

      enter: romantic comedies

  • Rachel

    This post is phenomenal for this line alone: He is there to share my life—not to be my life.

    My husband and I were never friends, and if we had not dated, I doubt we would have become friends. We like each other a lot and share enough of the same hobbies to have some things to do together, but the majority of our hobbies are different. I enthusiastically support his just as he supports mine – but we haven’t mutually taken them up together. How boring it would be if our lives were always the same! Doing different things gives us something to talk about.

  • Kelsey

    I’ve never commented on this site before, but this post compelled me to finally comment! Thank you SO MUCH for this post! It’s such a relief to hear these thoughts that I’ve had spelled out so well, and it makes me feel better about gagging every time I hear someone say “I married my best friend”

  • Cassandra

    My fiance (eee, it’s neat to get to say that) is my best friend but it still kind of makes me gag when people say they married their best friend. He’s my best friend in that he’s the first in a short list of people who I a) trust with my life, b) can discuss things with openly and honestly, c) enjoy spending time with, d) share similar values about things that are core to our being. We have similar interests in some ways (we met while pursuing different grad degrees in the same department, we both *love* food, we aren’t into a lot of pop culture stuff, and we had the same group of friends while in school together) but also HUGELY different interests in terms of music, books, our specific research interests, etc. It’s the same as my relationship with my other best friends in that we share things of course, because we met in one way or another doing something together, but have a lot of things we don’t hold in common, which doesn’t change the fact that I can trust them, share with them, and enjoy them in my life.

  • Hannah

    Hannah writes:

    This is a really interesting comment! I had a female “friend” (I put this in quotes because she caused me as much strife as companionship and friendship) who was extremely focused on sex, and was basically always telling me I should have sex with random guys because it would make me feel liberated. I kept thinking to myself that I would never be able to do that, and I didn’t think it is because I am repressed.

    Then, later, I learned that there’s a term for that! Demisexual. Basically, that’s someone who needs to feel an emotional attachment before a physical one could ever happen–which explains why I’ve been attracted to guy friends who I knew would never be good partners! Hallelujah!

    I don’t believe in labels, but sometimes having a word for something helps it make more sense. Here’s more info about the demisexual: http://www.asexuality.org/wiki/index.php?title=Demisexual

    Read more: http://apracticalwedding.com/2012/03/when-your-spouse-isnt-your-best-friend/#ixzz1pDSsH4nY

  • http://warrenpimp.blogspot.com/ Contessa

    Is saying, “I married my best friend” a new status symbol? A cultural marker of success and happiness?

    (This question might upset some people, I know. Sometimes it’s a 100% sincere statement but sometimes…it’s just weird.)

  • Audrey

    While this article didn’t touch me personally (I happen to be in a relationship with someone similar to me who has a lot of shared interests) – it reminded me of how easy it is to assume what works for you works for everyone. Many people in this world seem to think that everyone is like them, and if everyone just did what they did life would be peachy. It causes so many problems/frustrations. Sigh.

  • G

    I also have a problem with this becoming the cultural norm. I live in Northern California, where there are wineries within a short drive from, oh, everywhere. The past few weekends I’ve gone wine tasting with two different girlfriends — just the two of us each time. Both times we were treated like we were a couple, I assume because we obviously were close. One of those girlfriends also went to a bridal expo with me and they asked if she was the spouse!

    I support everyone’s right too marry, so I would rather have people treat us a little too intimately than discriminate. But it does make me wonder about the bigger picture — do they really not see very many best girlfriends laughing together and just enjoying each other’s company? Why aren’t women doing this? Or are they just going somewhere else?

    Or is everyone just being politically correct — as close friends we weren’t offended by the assumptions, but business owners worry a gay couple might be if they were assumed to be just friends?

    I’m curious to hear others’ take on this.

    • http://bettencourtchase.blogspot.com Helen

      Wow. My WIFE and I live in Arkansas, and we can walk down the street holding hands and lots of people just assume we’re friends or sisters. Seriously. It is so interesting to me how different some parts of our country are!

      • ambi

        Helen, I’m sorry to hear that! I too live in Arkansas, and while I know you are right about our area, I hope we can change that soon!!!

      • G

        Wow. Yes, it is fascinating how we’re all part of the same country but some areas are so different!

        I have fond memories of Arkansas — I traveled there a few years ago, to Fayetteville. It was beautiful.

        • http://bettencourtchase.blogspot.com Helen

          I live in Fayetteville! I love it and it is definitely our home. I’m excited to see things change, though, in this way.

  • ambi

    Alright, so . . . I am preparing for backlash here, but I want to speak up about some of the tone/language of this conversation. I’ve noticed that no one is commenting that people whose partners AREN’T their best friends are in any way lacking or have a lesser relationship or anything negative like that. And yet, several of the comments on the other side use words and phrases like “gag,” “weird,” “roll eyes,” etc. when describing people who do consider their partner their best friend. It seems like people think it is okay and acceptable to question the sincerity of people’s assertions that they married their best friend and to make blanket statements that having best friends outside of your relationship makes marraiges “stronger” and “healthier.” I completely understand and agree with the APW philosophy of recognizing relationship styles that haven’t been part of the mainstream cultural narrative (although I’ve talked a bit above about whether this particular topic really fits, since so many of us don’t recognize this as the mainstream narrative in the first place). BUT, my point here is just that we would never deem it okay for me to say “if you and your partner aren’t best friends, you two must not be as close as I am with my partner” or “I feel sorry for those women who have to turn to their girlfriends for emotional support – they must be missing something in their relationship,” so why does it seem okay for people to say that my relationship makes them “gag?” I think there is a way (if we all keep it in mind and try) to have these conversations, and highlight narratives outside the norm, without using language that makes one side out to be better (or “healthier” or “stronger” or less gag-inducing) than the other.

    • http://fromasmallstep.blogspot.com Kinzie Kangaroo

      I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s a great thing to examine another way of doing things, or the flip side of the cultural narrative coin, but it’s also extremely off-putting and alienating to approach the “majority” with such disdain and judgement. That’s no way to make people see “the other side.” (I use quotes around “the other side” because like you said, Ambi, I don’t think this is an issue which is so polarized. But maybe I’ve just missed this aspect of the WIC or something…”)

      • ambi

        Actually, Kinzie, I think you just said it MUCH better than I was able to! I want to clarify that I don’t actually think any of those things that I used as examples of what wouldn’t be appropriate to say. I just mean that it is kind of hurtful to hear that women you deeply admire view your type of relationship as something that would make them want to gag.

    • http://landlockedlove.blogspot.com Kelly

      As a person who used the term “healthier” in one of my comments, I want to both apologize and clarify. I meant healthier only in the context of my own personal relationship and in my life: X is healthier for my relationship than Y–not make a general statement about all relationships. My own relationship is the only one I’m an expert on. And although there may be aspects to other people’s relationships that I know will absolutely never work for me personally, I don’t mean to imply that other ways of doing things are wrong or inappropriate.

      • http://fromasmallstep.blogspot.com Kinzie Kangaroo

        Thanks for clarifying, though to be honest, that’s not one of the posts that riled me up. It’s more people saying, “Thanks for this post– now I feel better when I gag at other people who are bff with their partners.” That’s a real problem.

    • http://thesaucykitchen.blogspot.com Jess

      Thank you. I was sort of offended by some of the wording of comments also. I know it wasn’t meant to hurt, but when someone says that your relationship makes them gag, isn’t healthy, etc. it does sting a little.

      Because I do think my husband is my best friend. He may never agree to join me for a yoga class or the fabric store and I don’t jump up and down to go participate in some of his hobbies. But we do share some common interests, though not as many as you might think. I don’t consider him my everything, but he is my most important.

      • http://fromasmallstep.blogspot.com Kinzie Kangaroo

        Well, here’s the thing: regardless of whether or not I consider my partner my best friend, we should all be able to exist in our individual relationships without feeling like we’re “right” or “wrong.”

        I’ve just felt like so many people on here are saying, “I agree with this post, my partner is NOT my best friend, and anyone else makes me want to barf.” — as opposed to saying, “I agree with this post, that’s how I am too, glad to see there are others out there like me.” There’s nothing wrong with finding people in similar situations, but it doesn’t make the other side WRONG.

        • http://thesaucykitchen.blogspot.com Jess

          Totally. You are much more eloquent than I am, which is why I stick to exactly!-ing most of the time. Different people have different needs and wants in a relationship and the ability to choose what makes them happy. No need to make others feel badly about their choices.

    • Class of 1980

      I think as a society, we are still a long way from recognizing how different needs really are from person-to-person. We sometimes want to make pronouncements based on what fits us, not realizing that what fits us doesn’t work for someone else. I see this in every aspect of society, even medicine.

      Lately, this point is really being emphasized for me. I am reading the Blood Type Diet book and now know there are loads of studies showing that many diseases are more common with certain blood types. Even the way our bodies handle stress is determined by type. For instance, I am Type B and our bodies clear nitric oxide super fast which enables faster recovery from stress.

      As an introvert, I’ve also been super interested in the book I mentioned earlier “Quiet – The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”. I am not mystified by what’s in the book, because I’ve lived a lot of it. But it would be a revelation to an extrovert. What drains an introvert often energizes an extrovert, and vice versa.

      BTW, this explains why one child revels in day care and never wants to leave all that stimulation, while another child can’t wait to go home.

      I know a couple who are both extreme extroverts. They not only entertain constantly; they have even entertained when one of them has been in extreme pain recovering from difficult surgery!!! I used to think they were NUTS, but I’ve dropped the judgment because it’s obvious that it WORKS for them.

      I always joke with the husband that he’d better be glad that he didn’t marry someone like me because his career (very social) would have been derailed. I’d never agree to entertain several times a week!

      • ambi

        Overall, I think having this kind of discussion is a positive thing, so I don’t want my friendly reminder about being nonjudgmental to be blown out of proportion. I can’t say how happy it makes me to be a part of such a vibrant debate about these issues! I just kept getting this really vivid mental image that many of you view women who happily proclaim “I married my best friend” a little bit like that Disney-obsessed girly-girl character from Bridesmaids :)

        Whatever type of relationship you are in, no matter how mainstream or unique, if you say “my partner and I have found that ____ works for us and makes us happy,” that should be enough, and the responses should all be respectful of the truth in that statement. Yet somehow, it seems like when we say “I married my best friend” some of the responses (1) call into question whether that is true, or (2) question whether that is good.

        Anyway, I really love that APW spotlights narratives that aren’t celebrated elsewhere. I just hope we can work on somehow celebrating them in a way that doesn’t inherently slam the more mainstream alternative that the narrative provides a counterpoint to.

        • http://fromasmallstep.blogspot.com Kinzie Kangaroo

          “Anyway, I really love that APW spotlights narratives that aren’t celebrated elsewhere. I just hope we can work on somehow celebrating them in a way that doesn’t inherently slam the more mainstream alternative that the narrative provides a counterpoint to.”

          Yes. THIS.

          • ambi

            Okay, so . . . I just reread the comments and this struck me. Meg said:
            “That’s what we do here sometimes: take the dominant cultural narrative and say we totally don’t agree with it, and see where the discussion goes. That’s APW. It’s always been a collection of my (and now others) very strong opinions. We’re not trying to be everything for everyone (man, would we fail at that), we’re trying to make you think, and make ourselves think.”

            And, if I am being really honest, I guess that is part of what I feel so uncomfortable with is saying “we don’t agree with it.” That has a value judgment imbedded in it. It isn’t just shining a light on narratives that aren’t represented, but making a judgment call about which ones are right or wrong.

            And, yes, it’s Meg’s site, and she is of course entitled to express her own opinioins, as is any editor, post author, commenter etc. And her opinions are why we love her! And part of me thinks, yeah, this is why APW works – it sparks really excellent conversations by voicing an opinion. But at the same time, if the goal is to be accepting and supportive of ALL types of relationships, I just feel like it can’t start from a place of “if you fall within the dominant cultural narrative, I think you’re wrong.”

            Just my very humble two cents, because Meg has created an AMAZING community here and obviously knows what the hell she’s doing, but I think it is important to distinguish between “here is the dominant cultural narrative and why I disagree with it,” and “here is a great alternative to the dominant cultural narrative IF that cultural narrative doesn’t work for you.” The first one puts people who DO agree with that narrative on the defensive, while the second approach assumes that the dominant narrative is totally valid for some people, while others may choose something differnt.

            All of this is based on an assumption that APW can be for everyone. That a person who agrees with 75% of the dominant cultural narrative can still be a part of APW, learn from this community, and participate in the dialogue. And hell, maybe that isn’t the right assumption – it is absolutely valid and is Meg’s perogative if the site is more geared toward “here is an alternative narrative that is much radder and more awesome than the dominate narrative.” I’d still read it. But I probably wouldn’t try to interact/relate as much.

            This is SUCH a huge (and cerebral) topic, that it is hard to articulate. But basically, I just wish we could find a balance where we can talk about choices that aren’t supported by the mainstream without bashing anyone’s choice to go with the mainstream option. This has been a consistent comment through several posts, but I think it is most obvious here. Funnily enough, the topic of “is your husband your best friend?” is probably less contentious than name changing and stuff like that, and yet it spawned some of the most clearly derisive language (sorry, but I am not sure if there is another way to interpret the “gag” comments).

            Ultimately, all I am trying to say is that I find it really dissapointing that a site that I believed was based upon openness and acceptance and validation of ALL kinds of relationships, without judgment, allows for and includes negative judgments about relationships that fall within the dominant cultural narrative. I guess I feel like “my relationship is just as right and valid and worthy of respect as yours” should apply regardless of where we fall on the spectrum of cultural acceptance.

          • http://fromasmallstep.blogspot.com Kinzie Kangaroo

            ” it spawned some of the most clearly derisive language (sorry, but I am not sure if there is another way to interpret the “gag” comments)”

            Aha, but here’s exactly why this post incited such language, whereas name change discussions don’t — Meg, in the intro, said this: “But because of that, when people comment that I married my best friend, my gag reflex totally comes into play.” And… fine, she’s talking about her own experience, but when you use that sort of language to introduce a post, you’re giving permission to the commenters to use that tone as well. And that’s where we’ve ended up with people telling me/others that when they hear about us being bff, they gag.

          • http://thesaucykitchen.blogspot.com Jess

            “Ultimately, all I am trying to say is that I find it really disappointing that a site that I believed was based upon openness and acceptance and validation of ALL kinds of relationships, without judgment, allows for and includes negative judgments about relationships that fall within the dominant cultural narrative. I guess I feel like “my relationship is just as right and valid and worthy of respect as yours” should apply regardless of where we fall on the spectrum of cultural acceptance.”

            Yes. I know Meg doesn’t want to be everything to everyone (understandably so, that would be quite difficult). But I guess in my specific circumstances, I feel very much in the minority here on most occasions (housewife, no kids, couldn’t wait to take his name, etc.). That’s usually fine because most often, I feel that even though I’m not in the majority, no one is taking aim and judging my relationship. This time the comments definitely felt different.

          • ambi

            Jess and Kinzie, I agree, and I’m glad we’re voicing our opinions too (hey, that’s what it is all about, right?)

            I do see the other side of it, which is basically that if our choices are constantly validated by society, we shouldn’t have such thin skin when they are criticized here. I guess I just reject the premise that this community should be criticizing ANYONE’S choices, even those of us who fall within the mainstream. You know, if that is what it is about – debating the pros and cons of different choices and arguing in defense of your own path, then I can do that. And I won’t be so sensitive about it. But I thought the whole point was to learn from, listen, and support each other, even when we have drastically different relationships. If that is what it is about, I should be able to come in to this community knowing my choices are going to be respected as much as anyone else’s.

          • Liz

            This is in response to Ambi.

            You quoted the following from Meg- I can’t speak for her, but I can offer how I interpreted the statement.

            “That’s what we do here sometimes: take the dominant cultural narrative and say we totally don’t agree with it, and see where the discussion goes.”

            I think when talking about disagreeing with a cultural narrative, we’re not speaking about the OPTION presented by the narrative, but the insistance that that is the only way. Put a better way, I don’t think Meg was saying “I disagree with this idea” as much as “I don’t agree with the fact that our culture forces this on us.”

            An example of what I mean is that we discuss the cultural idea of a wife as someone who quits her job, cooks and cleans, and raises the children. I disagree with the fact that society has made this THE ONLY definition of wife. And I say that as someone who quit her job, cooks and cleans, and raises my son (“primary caregiver” is the term that comes to mind, since I’m the one home all day). On APW, we talk about that concept a lot- not because being a cooking, cleaning, stay-at-home wife is BAD. But because being forced into that mold is bad.

            Similarly, I took Meg’s comment to mean- not that having a “best friend husband” is bad, but the cultural narrative that makes everyone feel they NEED TO is bad.

          • http://fromasmallstep.blogspot.com Kinzie Kangaroo

            Yeah, Liz, I totally get what you’re saying, and I also agree with you that Meg’s point is not to discount the mainstream, but instead to examine the other possibilities.

            My problem lies in the language surrounding the discussion of the dominate cultural narrative. Though Meg didn’t say this herself, there are several commenters who *are* saying that considering your partner your best friend makes them want to gag.

            That shouldn’t be a part of this discussion. If you’re talking about yourself, gag all you want. But don’t pass that judgement on other people. And that is what I have had a problem with surrounding this post.

          • Liz

            Yeah, and I totally understand that concern- which is why I made sure to reply to Ambi specifically.

            I understand the sentiment (self-proclaimed best-friend married, as mentioned above), but I also appreciate being able to be frank with one another. So I’m not sure how I feel about the “gag” comments. For example, I think of comments I made on previous posts where I said that I thought sit-down dinners were boring or that I think it’s unhealthy when people say they don’t talk about their marital problems with other people. I’ve also tweeted that I get grossed out when people use the term “date night.” I think we can have opinions across the board- particularly when it comes to semantics- without them being reflective of how we see one another. All of my opinions listed above are about marriage in general- other peoples’ marriages, even.

            All of that to say, I think those broad, general opinions about marriage are okay and even necessary to foster conversation. Is it just the dismissive nature of the whole “gag” thing that’s problematic?

          • http://thesaucykitchen.blogspot.com Jess

            Liz – I’m terrible at writing my thoughts, so I don’t know if this makes any sense whatsoever, but I’ll give it a shot. Best friend is one of the terms I use to define my relationship with my husband and saying that it makes you (though not you personally) gag makes me feel a little bit like, in your opinion, my relationship is viewed as inferior and I guess, because of the wording, disgusting.

          • Liz

            I guess I think things are gross about other peoples relationships all the time (date night? really? gross.) and it doesn’t bother me when people say the same (so what, I call my husband “babe!” shutup, it’s cute!)

            I think what I’m asking is how can we have those opinions and voice them appropriately? Or is the request for us to not voice those opinions at all? Because I like having those and hearing them from others!

          • http://fromasmallstep.blogspot.com Kinzie Kangaroo

            I guess the distinction, for me, is that you’re saying you don’t dig something specific, like date night, and that’s voicing an opinion of a type of thing. That is different than qualifying the existence of an entire relationship.

            If Donnie and I want to go out, and we want to call it a “date night,” and you don’t like that terminology — well, tough sh*t! It’s still our date night! But if you’re saying that our *relationship* is not good because of xy or z (which you’re not), then I have a problem with that. Because each relationship is so different, and how can we possibly generalize all relationships in one fell swoop?

            I should also say that I’m glad these conversations can happen, and I’m glad this post has facilitated them, but the conversation we’re having in this thread is very different in tone than many other comments on this post. This thread feels safe, while some of the others feel… fragile.

          • ambi

            Hey, this is in reply to Liz. First, before I say anything else, I want to say that I really love APW. I am not trying to stir up drama or be critical of Meg or the site or anything like that. I just felt (feel) like this is an aspect of the conversation that we need to be having.

            I agree that the best thing about APW is that we can talk openly here, and we aren’t really going to be able to do that if we all have to walk on eggshells trying not to offend someone else. So, I’d always err in favor of honesty and openness than careful language.

            But . . .after a lot of thought, I think the reason that I got a bit riled up by the post (and the comments, mostly) was (1) the dismissive and disdainful tone of things like “gag” and “roll my eyes,” combined with (2) the fact that for some us, viewing our partner as our best friend is a pretty big deal. Unlike date night, which I doubt defines anyone’s relationship, the concept of marraige between two best friends gets at the heart of how we view our relationships. It is absolutely fine if other people have happy healthy relationships that aren’t based upon the partners being best friends. But some of our relationships ARE built upon that, and it is fairly important to us (just as important as, say, building a relationship that fosters and supports each partner’s separate and unique interests, goals, and friendships and allows each person to continue to have a fulfilling life outside of the marraige). So, unlike previous posts about sensitive issues like name changing, where the entire tone has been more respectful of people’s individual choices, this post seemed to be clearly arguing for one approach (separation of roles), and didn’t seem nearly as respectful of the other perspective. And again, I hate to harp on negative stuff like complaining about the tone of the post and comments, but judging by the number of people who have said similar things and have hit “exactly,” I think it was work talking about.

            Just as a side note, in my own relationship, we have promised to never roll our eyes at each other. I read somewhere that it is the single best predictor of divorce becuase it is indicates that you don’t take what the other person is saying seriously – it is such a dismissive gesture. (Clearly, this isn’t true in all situations – I roll my eyes to my guy when I am expressing to him how ridiculous a situation is – I just don’t roll my eyes AT him).

            I want to end with another really strong exclamation about how freaking awesome APW is, especially lately. It has always been great, but the awesomeness has taken off exponentially in the past month or so. I love APW!

    • NF

      I understand where you’re coming from (and my first reaction was somewhere in this direction), but, I think that perspective misses part of the point of this discussion. From my perspective it’s a discussion about how all of us have come to terms with how our relationships do or do not fit into one aspect of the standard cultural narrative about marriage. And if part of coming to terms with it is being able to say that the standard narrative makes you want to gag, then I’m thrilled that APW exists, since I’m pretty sure there’s almost no other public forum where you can say that without having everyone react negatively.

      And I don’t think any of the posts have been attacking any relationship—nobody has said “it’s bad that your husband is your best friend”, they’ve just been saying that that way of portraying a relationship makes them uncomfortable/unhappy. If somebody responded to a comment that stating that “my husband is my best friend,” by saying “gag”, that would be inappropriate, just like it would be inappropriate for someone to respond to “my husband isn’t my best friend,” by saying “then your marriage is doomed.”

      • EM

        yes. this.

  • http://amerrywife.com Mary

    This post + these comments.

    EXACTLY what I needed right now.

    I love my husband and he is one of my best friends. We started out as friends and I’m glad we did because otherwise we wouldn’t have ended up together. But I have found that now I’m very much at risk for letting him become my ONLY best friend since I moved away from my own family and friends to live in his home city. I don’t want our circumstances to push us towards only being best friends (in a platonic way) instead of husband and wife which is why I’m trying to get my own set of friends in this new city and develop new interests and activities I can do on my own or with other friends. I definitely think our marriage will be stronger when I build back up some of my own activities and friends and spend more time alone. I want him to be my husband, which is a great place of importance of my life that doesn’t really need the added best friend title or the requirement that we do everything together.

  • Erika

    I have a best friend and other close girlfriends. My husband has friends but not a best friend. We have friends in common and friends separately. It means that when I am going through some Hard Stuff (whether related to the marriage or not) I have a great resource in my best friend. My husband doesn’t have this exactly, as he’s not bonded like that to his friends. I wish he had that, because I think it’s really important to have access to someone trustworthy and intimate outside the marriage, which otherwise can be kind of an echo chamber, you know?

  • April

    Read this post today and nearly fell outta my high heels. So much of it rang true for me, it brought tears to my eyes and made me seriously THINK about the demands and expectations I set for my husband, and how it’s made for some stupid arguments and hurt feelings between him and I over the past few years.

    Although from the get-go, my husband and I discussed and agreed on our “Big Five / Life & Value List” (things like money, children, religion, tolerance, careers, etc. the “deal breakers”, as it were), it has been only recently that I’ve accepted that we are NEVER going to be best friends that share every aspect of our lives together. Because for as much as we love each other, we just can’t be everything for one another, as our personal likes, interests and hobbies are wildly different. I am coming to grips with that on a daily basis, and broadening my circle of friends, rekindling acquaintances and pushing myself to do things on my own, or, with others who *do* share my interests. It’s not been easy. At times I feel lonely and worried I’ll be scrutinized if I show up at Sur la Table on a Friday night, alone, while the rest of the room is filled with couples. But as my husband and I slowly figure out what things we’re good at together and also apart, the arguing has dwindled (YAY!) and we appreciate each other more when we are together (YAY!). And that truly feels right and so much better.

    But I’m human, too. Am I envious at times when I’m at my yoga class, or attending the opera or gallery opening with a gal pal and see other couples enjoying those activities together? Yes. There’s a part of me that is bummed that my husband just won’t give it a try. But he’s not interested, so there it is. On the upside: he truly is a wonderful person in so many other ways, I know it is selfish of me to expect he be interested in everything I like.

    • Sabrina

      Your post describes everything I am thinking. And yes I do envy pcouples who can enjoy most activities together. Its especially hard since I have no friends here (moved states to live with him) and all my friends are in a different state and my family in a different country. He doesn’t keep tight contact with his fam other than son and the grandma. He has no friends neither, although been growing up here. It makes it harder when theres little in common.

  • ambi

    Just a random thought: Maybe the reason some of us are getting so worked up about this topic is because it goes to the heart of how we see ourselves and our relationships.

    For example, and this is really difficult to try to paraphrase, but “I am an independent woman with many different facets; I was a fully formed human being before my marraige and I don’t need my husband to be my everything because I proudly maintain a full and happy life in addition to my marraige” vs. “My husband and I are a team, the two of us against the world, we put our relationship first, we nurture it and feed it and work at it, and in return we are rewarded with amazingly strong bond that nothing else can compare to.”

    Of course, neither one is a full picture of anyone’s relationship. What I mean is just that this issue drives at the core of how we choose to define ourselves, our relationships.

    • http://warrenpimp.blogspot.com/ Contessa

      Absolutely! Everyone creates a personal narrative and no matter how open minded they think they might be, challenging the story you created about yourself and your family is scary. Deliberatly challenging our assumptions about our lives and core beliefs is healthy and good – and painful and difficult and not for the faint hearted.

      It’s very possible that some of the people (including me) making “gag me” comments about people married to their best friends, while logically knowing they are ok, are secretly just a little bit scared and envious that they don’t feel that way too.

      • ambi

        And in exactly the same way, some of us who do identify our partner as our best friend harbor deep insecurities that (1) we shouldn’t make him be our “everything,” (2) it means we are lacking in the friend department, and (3) some people view this kind of relationship as slightly icky or gross.

        I think it is really interesting that this topic, which originally seemed less serious than some of the others, has really struck such a nerve with so many of us!

  • Gillian

    Yes, exactly to this entire post, and thank you for sharing your thoughts about an issue over which I have secretly been wondering and worrying about for a long time.

    I was surprised to see so much dissension in the comments from people defending their view that their spouse is also their best friend and that is okay. I think that is wonderful for people that feel that way but I like this dialogue that affirms that just because I don’t feel that way, that it is also okay, so please don’t take that away from us!

    To me it might come down to definitions again. Of course your partner is likely going to grow to be someone that you naturally closest to and spend the most time with and share many hobbies and values and responsibilities. But to me that is the definition of a partnership and a marriage, not a best friendship. My best friend is someone I talk to every few months and see once or twice a year and who I go to for advice on issues concerning my husband and other parts of my life.

    Put it this way – if you separated or divorced – would this person still be your best friend? Probably not. A friendship is not the same as an intimate romantic relationship. You likely wouldn’t continue because you’ve lost something from the dynamic. And that shows that the vital part of the relationship was not just a friendship, but something else entirely. At least, this is how it would be for me.

  • Kelly

    Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I’ve always disliked the term “best friend” in general. There are so many special people in my life, why do I have to pick a “best?”

    It’s possible the term reminds me too much of middle school… You know, labels and catty young girls ostracizing eachother.

    In relation to not being friends with your spouse beore getting married, My fiance and I HATED each other before we started dating (some people argue it was because we were so alike), but now we make an excellent couple. However, we do everything together now. I’m very jealous of your confidence in your relationship. You seem like a very independent person.

  • Marina

    Wow, what a great post, and what terrific discussions in the comments!

    I want to go on the record as disagreeing with the “just” semantics argument. Words should mean different things–if they don’t, language is kind of pointless. If we mean different things by “best friend” I think that’s really worth talking about, and probably is the surface of a big ol’ iceberg about how our culture does relationships. Is a best friend the person we spend the most time with, or the person we have the most interests in common with, or the person who was there for us when we needed support, or the person who knows the most about our history? Any/all of those things says a lot about what we think a “friend” is.

    Personally I agree with the title of this post: if my husband and I weren’t married, we wouldn’t be friends. We don’t have many interests in common. We have a fair amount of differences in values, even, although I think not the really crucial ones. But where we are the same is that we both love learning from the other person. I know far more about anatomy and health care now than I ever would on my own, because that’s his passion. His attitude towards work and money has changed a great deal in the ten years together, I think at least partially because of my influence. Both of our musical tastes have expanded hugely. I REALLY appreciate that, and it’s a huge part of what I value about our marriage–I don’t understand people who worry about running out of things to say to each other after 50 years of marriage, because each of us is always learning new things and eager to talk about them to the other.

  • http://www.marriedwithkittens.blogspot.com MWK

    I loved this post. In fact, I spent last night in the presence of my three best friends – all women who I’ve known since middle school. My husband was around for some of it, and he gets along well with these friends (and with me, of course), but the husband and the friends fill completely different roles in my life. I couldn’t have a phone conversation with my husband to save my life but I get a lot of sustenance from talking to my girlfriends who live far away, even if it’s just to catch up on gossip. I agree that having the different kinds of relationships is really important (and I hate the “married my best friend” crap, too).

  • Jessica

    I agree with those who say it might just be how you define “best friend” and it that it might be different for introverted people. I am an introvert. I have no problem with that. My husband really IS my best friend. Yes, I agree, one person can’t always be everything for you. I talk to my mom about shopping, movies, shoes, etc., and share some work problems with co-workers (although I also do tell my husband because he’s in the same field). I actually WANT to spend most of my time with him. To me, he is the definition of best friend in my world.

    Part of it may be that we live in a city away from family and all our friends growing up, and believe it or not, it is hard to make new friends in a new city when you’re an adult outside of work. So we have had to make each other our go-to person for a lot of things, but I really feel it’s strengthened our relationship to be on this new adventure just the two of us. We still have other people in our life only a phone call away and we do keep in touch with them, have friends come visit, etc. But I don’t think it’s a weakness or a problem (depending on your situation) to have your spouse be your go-to or best friend. Again, it’s how you define it and it depends on your unique situation. It might be good for some couples, and not others.

  • Karen

    I would go a step beyond saying that it’s ok to be with someone who isn’t your best friend. For me (and this is totally subjective, and not meant to be judgemental of couples who have everything in common and do everything together) being different is what makes my relationship with my future husband exciting, and will keep us strong and together through all sorts of circumstances. Jason and I have been together for one week shy of six years, and we still teach each other new things all the time.

    Last weekend, for example, we restructured the studs in our garage and replaced the garage door and all the trim. This is not something I would have done without Jason’s influence (and it’s not something I would do again on my own given the choice). For me, it was difficult and frustrating at times, but Jason was in his element, and was able to guide me through the tough parts.

    I have so much respect for him because he has skills and abilities that I simply don’t, and I’m reminded of that every day. Having different interests and complementary skill sets also pushes each of us to challenge ourselves and engage with different perspectives. There are things we share, as many have said above, but I think it’s the ability to negotiate our differences that has made me confident enough to commit to a lifelong relationship with Jason for a couple of reasons: 1.) I know we’re not going to get stuck in a rut or feel obligated to do something for the other person if we really don’t want to and 2.) We know how to be supportive even if we don’t agree.

  • Christy

    Thanks for reflecting on this so-often-quoted, but I think too often not-deeply thought about cliche. I think that being uncomfortable with any widely-accepted concept and having dialogue about it is SO healthy!

    I have to say that I really resonate with a lot you said in the article and the definition of what a “best friend” is to me is too linked to the idea that you can only have ONE. I have always had a problem with that concept even before I got engaged! So yes, I consider my FH one of my best friends, but not my ONLY “Best Friend.” I can say that for us, this is something that has grown to be true after a little over four years of being together, but I cherish just as much and for different reasons the amazing friendships with my girlfriends, my brother and sister, even my parents, but recognize that their value to me comes from that lovely fact that each one of my relationships with another human being is UNIQUE.

    Love love love the Reclaiming Wife series and all the discussion it spurs. Keep it comin’!

  • http://englishyerrors.blogspot.com Madeline

    I know I’m late to the party, but: Thank you for this, Rowenna. It helps me better articulate the reasons why my husband and I aren’t best friends, and why we’re also annoyed at married couples who say they are. I’ve had similar experiences with people being put off by our articulation of that view of our relationship, but it’s never been something we could explain.

  • http://blindirishpirate.blogspot.com Blind Irish Pirate

    “He is there to share my life—not to be my life.”

    Well, yeah! When we got engaged, I said something along those lines to him, almost like a defense, as well as a reminder to my inner. For me, this subject and Maddie’s story about her community is so, so closely interlinked. Partnership is joining hands, etc., to experience the world, not about the other person consuming your world. The all-and-all dedication and short-sighted scope of vision of the latter just seems so young and hopeless, and it really detracts from the importance of community and retaining one’s own sense of self.

    I could NOT figure it out, either, when a friend lamented that she wasn’t sure if she and her boyfriend were going to “make it” because they didn’t like the same music. Like, WHAT are you talking about?

    I ordained online so I could perform the ceremony for my best friend and her husband last year, and I loved teasing, “I married my best friend last month!” People just stared at me, because they just didn’t get how that worked when I had been married for three years. I love it – thanks for sharing!

  • Christy

    My SO and I have a lot of common interests, but I still struggled with what is mentioned in this post. I would describe myself (with some reservations) as an intellectual. My SO? Not so much. I am entering a masters program in the fall. I love reading and discussing politics and social justice and art and literature with others. My SO actively dislikes reading and really hated school. Our political/intellectual discussions tend to be pretty superficial (i.e. venting). This bothered me for a very long time in our relationship. I had numerous discussions with friends similar to the above, all focusing on how ridiculous it is that our romantic partner is expected to be our “everything.” However, I eventually realized that this wasn’t the real problem. The real problem was that I was subconsciously making a value judgement, and believed that my “intellectualism” made me better than him.

    I have always imagined the ideal relationship to be one where we have different hobbies and different friends. Even among my friends in college, I was rarely part of a core group of people that did everything together. Instead, I flitted around many different social groups. What my closest friends and I all have in common is that intellectualism and a love of discussion and analysis. My other hobbies (namely sports – I was a competitive athlete all throughout college) I only share with one or two friends and rarely shared with past partners. Athletics made me a bit of the “odd man out” in a lot of my social groups. And, though my closest friends (the ones I am still in touch with) are and have always been excited and supportive of my sports-self, that was not necessarily true of a lot of the larger social groups they and I were a part of.

    Ironically, this love of athletics is shared with my partner. I think I always expected my partner to fill a similar role (hobby-wise at least) to my friends, simply because those were the relationship-models I had to go off of. More disturbingly, I had at some point learned from my family and friends to judge my athletic side (and therefore my partner) as “less than.”

    Admitting this publicly makes me feel like a total snob. It took me a long time to get over this judgement and, if I’m being totally honest, I’ll tell you that it’s something I still struggle with at times. We all enter into partnerships with certain expectations and judgements. I found that, even though I had (mostly) dealt with my BIG culture’s expectations, it was much harder to come to terms with my mini cultures’.

    I could write paragraphs about how well I’ve found my partner and I compliment one another, how supportive he is of me (even when I’m doing something he’d totally hate), and how he makes me feel completely comfortable with being my true self. However, that’s not the point. The point is that my partner and my relationship have challenged me to be a better, more open-minded person and I am grateful for that.

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  • http://www.alwaysaproject.blogspot.com Jennifer

    I have to admit it irks me too when someone says, “I married my best friend!” Not that that’s not great, but what’s the point of proclaiming it to others? I think the implication of the statement is, “My marriage is BETTER because I married my best friend.”

    I didn’t marry my best friend (and I still wouldn’t consider my husband my best friend). But then again, I didn’t need to marry someone who was my best friend. Other people may need and want this out of their marriage.

  • Sue

    An interesting perspective, but I do not share it. I have spent 22 years married to a man who doesn’t share my taste in……anything. It is soul sucking. I wish I’d held out for a best friend. I want a companion in life. If I have to do everything separately from my partner, I don’t want him to BE my partner.

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  • http://fluffymocchi.wordpress.com Ev

    Wow! Thank-you for posting this. I’ve been wondering this myself for a VERY long time.

    “if we weren’t married, we wouldn’t even be friends with each other, much less best friends.”

    I am getting marry in a couple of months, and I was getting worried that everyone is marrying their “bestfriends” and I look at my relationship……. “he’s not my bestfriend…… should I marry him?!?!!”

    Your post was such an eye opener, and really. This was a post that I’ve been seeking for a very long time. Thanks so much for posting this. I am glad, I’m not the only on this!

  • Sam

    The greatest marriage of all is when you have shared values and shared interests. That combination is reserved only for a few selected lucky people. For the rest of us, it could be one or the other, meaning either you share values and not interests, share interests and dont share values or you share some interests and some values.

    If you get to choose, emphasizing shared values will be my pick. If you have share values with your partner, your relationship has built in durability and longevity, strong enough to withstand some shocks. If you share interests and not values, then that relationship will flourish in good times but will be stressed beyond recognition in difficult times. I know moe than a handful of couples who started out as great friends, found common ground and interests and then married. Soon as problems surfaced, things like loss of a job, health issues or even the arrival of children, those were enough to take the relationship down.

    That being said, a marriage like this might get boring for one or both spouses and there is ample room for one or both of them trying to seek friendships outside of marriage especially ones involving the opposite sex.

  • CallieG

    Thank you for this! I was just having this conversation with some friends online. I keep seeing all these “I’m so happy I married my best friend!” posts on FB, and wondered if there was something wrong with me and my husband because we’re NOT best friends. It may sound horrible to some, but I need my best friend more than I need my husband. I CHOOSE my husband and my marriage, I WANT those things, but I wouldn’t be lost without them. I would be lost without my best friend, though. This isn’t to say I would choose her over my husband for any reason (except if my husband demanded that I choose, but then why would I want to be with someone who would force me to make a choice like that?). My best friend will still be my best friend, even if my husband and I are no longer together. Because of the strong bond we’ve formed over the last 16 years, she knows me better than I know myself. But I could never marry my best friend (even if she were a man), because she doesn’t share the same core values that I do. My husband doesn’t share all the same interests I do (and vice versa), but that’s okay, because we share the same fundamental values.

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  • Hintzy

    I am just now stumbling across this post and wow – I feel like I could have written that original post. For many years I would get so very very defensive when people would ask prying questions about what sort of things my partner and I had in common. As a very young adult (we’re talking 17-20 years of age roughly) I didn’t have the clarity of thought to point out the more meta things that we shared. It caused *a lot* of problems for us to be questioned by our community at large about this sort of social construct about sharing all interests. If only someone had told me that little bit about values being more important than hobbies…

    Fast forward to our mid-late 20s and we stuck it out, are getting married, and are far more confident about offering a cheeky answer about how opposites attract. Really we’re not that opposite, but I’d rather not delve into discussions of our deeply held beliefs about family, religion, money and life in general to highlight our similarities (and neither would he – this is part of why we get along)

  • http://www.imagine-at.com Danie

    I would consider my fiance to be my best friend. BUT I’ve never been a gal who has only had one best friend. Growing up I had 3 ladies that were (and still are) my best friends. I had guys that I’m extremely close to. I’m very close to my parents and siblings. I would never put the sole responsibility of best friend on one person, be it my fiance or my “pink ladies” as we affectionately call ourselves.

    But isn’t that the point of relationships? As the article states, different people play different roles in your life. Whatever makes each relationship works for the people involved, works well for my book. If your husband isn’t your best friend, but your marriage is awesome… GREAT! It’s working! If your husband IS your best friend and your marriage is awesome.. GREAT! It’s working! And if it falls somewhere in the middle… does it really matter?

    We get very judgey about other people’s relationships and what the “norm” is. Her husband didn’t dance with her at her wedding. She didn’t care and he didn’t care… so why would other people care? If they are happy, then does it matter?

  • Sabrina

    I love this article and it helped me getting a clearer comcept of my relationship with my boyfriend. Him and I don’t seem to have much in common and it worried me, since my passed relationships were a lot different in that matter. We do not listen to the same music, not the same interests when it comes to flora and fauna. WeWe are both sarcastic and joke a lot but dont always share the same humor when it comes to comedies or stand up. All in all we are very different.We share the same values and life goals though. Its usually a lot of compromising on my part especially when his son is around, since his interests automatically always want to match the sons interests. I usually feel rather akward when compromising but do it to please all parties. I don’t feel like he is my best friend. My best friend is still my girlfriend. And I know he feels the same way. His son is his best friend. I usually step back when he’s with his son and they become ine person. I enjoy my own interests by myself then. I am glad to know I am not the only one out there. It sometimes bothers me that we don’t have more in common and that it could be seen as a lack of love in the relationship since both of us grew up to have that picture of family living that just isn’t there in our relationship.

  • Pamela

    Hello my name is Pamela from USA, My life is back!!! After 8 years of marriage, my husband left me and left me with our three kids. I felt like my life was about to end, and was falling apart. I contacted you and after I explained you my problem. In just 3 days, my husband came back to us and show me and my kids much love and apologize for all the pain he have bring to the family. We solved our issues, and we are even happier than before you are the best spell caster Dr Voodoo i really appreciate the love spell you castes for me to get the man back to my life i will keep sharing more testimonies to people about your good work Thank you once again at (drvoodoookaka_spell@outlook.com).incase you are in any problem you can contact this man for help he is always there in his temple to help you solve your problem Contact Email is (drvoodoookaka_spell@outlook.com)

  • Virias Rain

    Hi.. I’m Merg from LA. Just a few words about My husband who has left me and our kids for about 2years now without communications, He said he no longer loves or have interest in our marriage, What hurt me most is that he is cheating on me with a woman whom once stay in our neighbourhood. I could bear this pain alone and it almost pushed me to file for a divorce, but I couldn’t because i love my husband too much to let him go just like that. 2weeks ago at my place of work i over head a friend saying that her fiancee is now ready for marriage with her after their breakup for over 8months, and it was possible through a spell lady priestessifaa@yahoo.com who did it all even when she almost gave up but this spell woman she met online did it all and now she has her man back ready for marriage.

    That was how i overheard her talking to another firend of mine and i chip in with my pain and she encourage me to meet this spell lady priestessifaa@yahoo.com that she is capable of such things with her spell powers. But i was ready to do anything just to have my husband back, and later that night i emailed this spell lady and hours later she responded with warm greetings and confident. This gave me the courage to push my problems out to her and what scares me most was that she told me in just 48hours and at exactly this time i received a call from my husband asking after everyone and even the guard, this sounds so unsually because for years he has not even cared about me not even the kids and guards. The spell lady made me understand that the other lady has spiritual influence on my husband that’s why tings went that way and i believed her because my husband changed at once.

    The most important thing now is that i have my husband back home and we are strong and happy family as we used to be. All appreciation goes to the spell lady… meet her for help if you are having family issues as well…

  • Kaity

    I think that if this is your experience, and it makes you happy, then great – share it. But I think it’s important to remember that it is just that – YOUR experience. There is no right or wrong, only what works for the two of you. I am very happy to say that I am marrying my best friend. I say that, not because we were friends before we started dating, or because we like all the same things (neither of these are true). I say it because he is simply my favourite person to be around. I would rather spend time with him than with anyone else, simply because I enjoy his company. I am more myself around him, and I think that is the mark of a real friendship, far more than mutual hobbies.

  • natasha433

    I AM INTO MY LEAVE MY MAN ALONE WHEN I CONTACTED UPESA FOR A SPELL LOVE THAT WILL HELP ME WIN MY HUSBAND BACK AND HAVE A LOVE SPELL CASTING WITH DR. UPESA EMAIL:UPESALOVETEMPLE@GMAIL.COM AND TODAY MY HUSBAND EMAILED ME AND ALSO CALLAS ME YESTERDAY ASKING FOR MY FORGIVENESS. THIS IS ON THE 4TH DAY OF THE 1ST SPELL AND HE IS ALREADY CONTACTING ME. WOW, I WAS..

  • Tess

    I just want to share my point of view of being married to your best friend.

    My husband is my best friend and the love of my life. Since meeting him I don’t need my girl friends as much anymore. I still see them of course, but not as often. Everything that I talked about with them I now talk about with my husband. In fact, I prefer to share it with my husband. He is the one who gets me the best. When meeting him, it all just fell into place. I never once hesitated or looked back. I knew very early on in our relationship that I wanted to be with this man forever. We started out the relationship by talking for hours and hours on end. There was no stopping us and it has continued that way. We love talking with each other.
    So that is why I say he is my best friend.

    We are also lovers of course. There is great chemistry and we are very physical with each other. I love everything about his looks and his smell! I consider myself very lucky to have found someone like him. To find this kind of love where you are both lovers and best friends is rare. I know that. I was in my middle thirties when I met him so I had been in a few relationships before.

    I am not condemning other types of relationships – anything that makes you happy – go for it!
    But I don’t understand why it is cringe-worthy to talk about your husband as your best friend. To me it is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.

    Tess

  • CHALIE

    This is my testimonial on how DR Lawrence of drlawrencespelltemple@hotmail. com brought back my lover within 48 hours, I came across DR Lawrence email address through my search in the net few days ago, so i emailed him about my condition and how my lover left me. He told me it would take him only 48 hours to get my ex back to me, my ex called me before 48 hours begging me to forgive him and forget about the past and he is ready to make up for lost time.drlawrencespelltemple@hotmail. com…….. Chalie

  • amina

    Dr Lababa you have really proven to me that you are a genuine spell caster, my husband is back home even ealier than i expected him, your spell is really active, genuin and reliable like people always say. I will forever see you as the saviour to my marriage. Dr Lababa am so so happy i found you. incase you have be scammed before or you need a genuine spell caster contact Dr Lababa on lababasolutiontemple@gmail.com

  • swin

    A testimony that i will tell to everyone in this BLOG. i have been on my matrimonial home for four good years and on the fifth years of my marriage, a neighboring woman had a spell to take my lover away from me. My husband left me and the kids,we suffered for 2years until i met Therapist Oniha of the WIN EX BACK SPELL where so many people have been helped,i decided to give him a try to help me bring my lover back home even not for me but just for the kids,the therapist to me what to do within the next 3 days after doing what therapist Oniha ask of me, i saw a car drove into the house and behold it was my husband,he have come to me and the kids and that is why i am happy to make anybody is same issue to visit this Therapist Oniha via Email winexbackspell@gmail.com and have your lover back to your self. Swin lam