Do you believe the advice that you should “marry your best friend?”
If the quotes on my Pinterest boards from middle school are any indication, my answer has been “yes” for a long time.
Today, my answer is still yes, but not for the same reasons that I believed in middle school.
Below are three reasons why I think it’s a good idea to marry your best friend, and what that really means.
And since I ended up marrying my best friend, I’ll share some of our story of how we transitioned from friendship to dating.
Why You Should Marry Your Best Friend
1. Friends love in hard times
In traditional wedding vows, each spouse commits to the marriage “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.”
That’s not a statement to take lightly. Marriage is beautiful, but you can be sure that those hard times will come. When they do, you will need more than mutual feelings and shared interests. You will need a commitment to love each other at all times.
Who better to fulfill that role than a best friend? Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Look for a husband who will be a faithful friend and brother in Christ.
2. Friends say hard things
We all need to hear the hard truth sometimes. Understanding our flaws is essential for growth.
“A Christian friend won’t tell us what we want to hear, but what we need to hear,” writes Christina Fox for Desiring God, explaining Proverbs 27:6, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.”
Your future husband will get a closer look at the sin in your life than anyone else. Find someone who will love you enough to help you see your blind spots, even when you don’t want to.
3. Friends do hard things together
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). This is the best part about marriage: you get to grow together.
Here’s a quote from my favorite book, from the chapter that helped me realize I wanted to marry my husband:
“Within this Christian vision of marriage, here’s what it means to fall in love. It is to look at another person and get a glimpse of what God is creating, and to say, “I see who God is making you, and it excites me! I want to be part of that. I want to partner with you and God in the journey you are taking to his throne. And when we get there, I will look at your magnificence and say, ‘I always knew you could be like this. I got glimpses of it on earth, but now look at you!'”Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage
Search for a spouse with the same goal as you — growing in Christ-likeness. (Ephesians 4:15).
What “Marry Your Best Friend” Doesn’t Mean
Marrying your best friend doesn’t mean you have to be great friends before you begin dating. Your friendship can grow with your relationship.
I think it’s also important to realize that not every guy you call your best friend is someone you should marry.
When I was in middle and high school, I had a lot of great “guy best friends.” But I didn’t marry any of them, and I think we’d all say we’re better off that way. Why didn’t these “best friendships” work out?
First, I wasn’t attracted to most of those guys in every sense of the term — physically, spiritually, intellectually, and so on. While attraction isn’t the most important quality in a marriage relationship, it’s not something to ignore, either.
Second, I think some of my friendships weren’t as deep or mutual as I perceived they were. Most were based on our proximity rather than our affinity for each other.
That’s one of the benefits of distance: it helps you determine if your friendship is about more than shared activities. And that leads me to the story of how I married my best friend.
A Little Bit of Our Story
My husband and I met on a trip to Washington, D.C. when we were 17 years old. Being the shallow romantic that I was, I liked him from the moment I saw his Facebook profile photo. Being the blissfully content guy he was, he never thought we’d be more than friends.
We both knew that I liked him, and we both knew that he didn’t like me. Yet we continued our long-distance friendship, and about a year later, he admitted that he “didn’t know” if he liked me or not. That clarified everything, of course.
Right before we headed to college in different states, we decided that if we were going to date, we needed to wait awhile. When I say we, I mostly mean “he,” because he was wise enough to recognize that I needed to work out some things with God before entering a romantic relationship.
We didn’t talk a lot over the next few months, but God did some serious work in both of our hearts. I became more confident in who I was in Christ and the unique person God was making me to be.
For us, that growth was a key reason we decided to date. All of my other high school friends grew personally, too, but we grew in different ways when we were apart. With Reed, I found that we’d been growing in the same direction.
So, based on my limited experience, I would recommend asking the same question about your guy best friend: “Are we growing in the same direction?” This question requires time, and perhaps, a bit of distance to answer accurately.
If you’re apart from a guy and you find yourselves becoming even better friends — not because you spend all of your time calling each other, but in spite of the fact that you don’t — then it might make sense to hang onto that friendship.
But don’t value his friendship just because there’s hope for a relationship. Value his friendship because he reminds you to hope in Christ.