When I was younger I had an elder talk to me about friendship in a way that only older folks can. I was helping out with some manual labor and, as in many cases when elders have young people at their disposal, he felt compelled to impart some hard won wisdom upon me. In this particular case, a conversation about the stupid stuff we did when we were teenagers cleverly morphed into a lecture about what true friends should add to your life. I respectfully acknowledged what was coming with a smile and a nod, but on the inside I had they typical youngster reaction “Oh God here we go.” He explained to me that over the course of your whole life you will be able to count your true friends on one hand. After twenty years it is still true.
“How she became my friend”
When my wife and I were dating we had several months together before she had to move away for a job that she committed to prior to meeting me. After a series of empty posturing about how neither one of us does the whole long distance thing, we spent no more than twelve days apart over the next year or so. Who were we kidding, we were both love drunk and the stench was all over us. The distance proved to be an awesome ally because during those twelve day lapses we had no choice but to talk. I mean really talk and communicate about everything. I learned about her biggest fears and greatest joys and I reciprocated. Life has a way of throwing stuff at you from every angle and most things you can dodge or block, but some make contact and you take a loss. It’s in those moments that you need a friend. My girlfriend (now wife) was always that cheerleader and boot in the ass that I needed in rough times and that spoke volumes into my life.
“How did she prove she was my friend?”
- She was always the first to call me and see how I was feeling before any big moment in my life.
- She was the last to leave me when other’s couldn’t or wouldn’t stick around during a tough time.
- I enjoyed the fact that she was capable in most things I enjoyed, except street bikes she said “you can keep that Playa!”
- When I had moments of doubting myself, she reminded me how capable I was.
- I knew that I could depend on her for anything.
That’s what a real friendship is made of, gestures that are genuine and reliable.
“What can this do you for your marriage?”
Anyone who has been married for a while and is halfway satisfied with their relationship can tell you that there will be many times when the shiny parts of your marriage are overshadowed by larger issues or you may be consumed by a bunch of little things. When this occurs, you can’t rely on the fact that you have great sex because that can fade in and out, no pun intended. You also can’t rely on the stuff you’ve accumulated to sustain you in a rough patch of life. What you can do is turn to the one person who is always there to be a quiet and safe port for you to retreat to. Your friend. If we can remember to be each other’s friend then it makes dealing with some of life’s circumstances so much easier because you don’t have to do it alone. Your friend should be the eyes in the back of your head and your biggest fan. With that kind of backup, how could you lose?
Why is this so important to her?
When your wife accepted your proposal, she didn’t just sign up to be your housekeeper, chef, personal assistant and nightly escort. While she may be complicit in some capacity for these earlier mentioned roles, what she ultimately wants is to be your friend for a lifetime. While that sounds like a greeting card sentiment (and it is) it actually speaks to the heart of what will sustain your marriage in the best of times and the worst of times. When you win at something you don’t have to worry about who to celebrate with because she will be there to support you in all that you do. I’ve learned over time how critical connection is to a woman and when she has a feeling of separation then things just aren’t right. You should feel it too.
In closing, I want you to consider the depth or even existence of your friendship with your wife. She is the franchise starter on your team and everyone else plays a supporting role. Many of us have had friends who came to rescue in times of danger, but never stuck around for the recovery. She will. Many of us have had buddies that were there to help pound the beers, but never tended to you after they came back up in a public restroom or a stranger’s yard. She will. So take the time to tell your best friend why she is your friend and how grateful you are. I promise the gesture will pay dividends for years to come.