I Didn’t Marry My Best Friend.

Yesterday, my wife Kristin and I, celebrated 14 years of marriage. Lots of people gave us “Happy Anniversary” wishes and left comments on our Facebook pages. Between the 2 of us I think we even amassed nearly 200 likes on each of our status updates combined.

But yesterday wasn’t a very good day. We were both busy. I was helping out at a week of Jr. High camp and she was busy tending to our children. We were both a little stressed too. I had budget stuff to complete and she had phone calls to return. We even got a little irritated with one another and snapped at each other a few times throughout the course of the day. We collapsed into bed around midnight last night (or this morning, depending on how you see it) and, within minutes, were both sound asleep. So much for a blissful, romantic number 14, eh?

Taken in the Outer Banks of North Carolina- 2013

Taken in the Outer Banks of North Carolina- 2013

Today, as I spent some time thinking about yesterday, and how crazy it is that 14 years have gone by that fast, I had the thought- I didn’t marry my best friend 14 years ago. And, we weren’t deeply, blissfully in love on that special day either.

Wow! That may have caught you by surprise.

How about another one? Okay, here goes- I’m not a believer in love at first sight. And I don’t get too warm and fuzzy when I see Facebook statuses on people’s anniversaries that say something to the effect of, “So and so many years ago I married my best friend, the love of my life, the rock on which I stand, the wind beneath my wings (this is sounding like a Bette Midler song) and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!”

Ouch!

I’m not being cynical, I’m being honest with you- 14 years ago, I did not marry my best friend and when we first met it was NOT love at first sight. Not even close.

Today, 14 years (actually 15 years, if you count dating) later, I AM married to my best friend. Back then, I wasn’t. Today, I DO have a deep love and respect for this woman I’ve spent all these years with. Back then, I did not. Why? you ask: Because I didn’t really know her 14 years ago. On our wedding day, we had only known each other for a total of 16 months. That’s not very long…at all!

We didn’t experience love at first sight. Because it doesn’t exist. Now, we experienced infatuation at first sight, but not love. That does exist. We checked each other out when we first met. We circled one another like cobras ready to strike. We gave the classic look up and down of one another to survey the goods. Doesn’t every red-blooded human being when they first meet and there’s attraction?

Here’s why I say all of this (because some of you are ready to unsubscribe from this blog due to my lunacy!):

I say this because love is a process. It’s a journey. It’s something that grows over time and through many trials and commitment. Friendship is the same. It’s not instantaneous, nor does it reach its full depth in just a few months or even after a year. Love is not a destination to be reached, it’s a journey to go on and give yourself fully to, through good times or bad. After 14 years, many many fights, lots of mountain-top experiences, some extremely tough and gut-wrenching trials, and blissful moments, I can say, I love my wife more than I ever have before. And I can honestly say that she’s become my very best friend.

Not because we’re both all jacked up on hormones or attraction for one another. Not because she looks drop-dead sexy in a summer dress. Not because she whispers sweet-nothings in my ear (what does that even mean? Why would anyone want someone to whisper nothing in their ear? Seems like a waste of whispers to me. If you’re going to whisper something in my ear, make sure it’s something awesome like, “I just won the lottery and I’m giving you 90% of my winnings,” Or, “Bono wants you to lay down a sweet riff on the guitar for their next album!”)

Sorry, I digress. (I can assure you, though, all of the above mentioned does happen) :-).

Here’s the thing: I love her more than anything because she has stood by me through some very tough times. She’s my best friend today, because we’ve spent a lifetime with each other. And, because we can both get crazy-mad at each other, throw things across the room, say things under our breath, storm off and vent, but return to the house we own, forgive one another, and stay married. We have sacrificed for one another, we have cried and prayed for one another, and we have believed in one another through thick and thin.

Love grows over time. Friendship builds through years of doing life together. Neither can reach their full depth if void of strong commitment and devotion. And, neither happens in a few months or even a few years time.

Question: How do you define love and friendship in the context of marriage? What has been your personal experience? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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