Is your best friend your soul mate, your lover or your pal? Do you believe people can have multiple best friends and kindred spirits throughout their lives? For me, though it’s a cliché, being married to my best friend is awesome.
Joy and play are essentials of love. When you marry a dear friend, you gain a natural playmate and road-trip companion. Time together may involve tickling, wrestling, practical jokes and divine memories. I saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time on our honeymoon.
The tricky aspect of having a spirit of play and adventure is that you may not always know when to be serious or how serious the other is being. If you both have a healthy sense of competition, you may also get fierce in your play, be it in sports or debates. This isn’t something in which you have to get too caught up in, and it can create a friction that, when tempered with respect, is engaging.
Daily life includes hugs, companionship and a sense of appreciation. Having someone nearby who believes in you and you believe in is very powerful, as is getting to know each other more and more as the years change you. Beautiful eye contact and the ability to send each other acceptance without uttering a word can be life changing.
Naturally, you won’t always want to do the same things, talk about the same things or even be together. There are times when you may struggle with finding your own way, but you will have time to learn. Sometimes daily activities and chores are repetitive, but this is an aspect of life whether you’re in a relationship or not, and overall it can become part of your camaraderie. I find the feeling of being a family grows during our mellow weekday evenings on the couch.
You'll talk about the trivial and the existential. You will learn from each other. You will fight. You can respect each other’s different communication styles.
For my husband and me, it has been a long road, but I am proud of the distance we’ve covered. We are less likely to raise our walls now, though there are still times when sensitive areas are triggered, and out comes the armor.
You can love your sex life with your best friend. Being with someone you feel knows and sees you — and still likes you — and whom you feel the same about is unique. A mixture of explorative eroticism and emotional connection in bed can vary depending on your days and moods. This can be very vulnerable but is one way to get to know each other over and over again.
If you see each other as equals and individuals whose identities can be reinvented over time, sex can be a manner of experimentation and responding in the moment. Either of you may at times fill the role of the curious or the reserved, the receiver or the giver.
This is the type of relationship that works on so many levels. It's what many of us want, even though when we encounter it, we may flee. We may feel undeserving or terrified. Timing and listening to yourself is important. I am grateful my husband and I were able to line up our paths. Even though it was scary, I somehow knew I was ready to really be with him. As Eknath Easwaran, an Indian spiritual teacher said, “[Love] is available only in one rare form: as the natural response of a healthy mind and healthy heart.”
You can’t maintain a controlled distance when you fall in love with your best friend — you're in a relationship that asks you to be yourself. You can enjoy it, you can have a voice in it and be genuine, but you can’t do these things and also try to control it. I hope everyone experiences this at some point. I think we all do, whether it’s with a dear friend, a sexual or life partner or all of the above. If you're in this sort of love, you may find you are more lovable, loving and more at home in the world than you previously thought.
Julia Travers, 2016
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