Eight years ago, during our freshman year at Shorter College, Kaitlin and I spent Easter weekend at her family’s house. Originally, more of our friends were supposed to be able to make it, but couldn’t. So, it ended up being just the two of us. We saw “Water Horse” at one of the local theaters that Good Friday, March 21st, and to a park the day after, where we had a picnic and tried to blow all the seeds off of some dandelions.
I loved all my friends (and still do), but secretly I wasn’t disappointed when I found out no one else could make it. I just really wanted to get to know Kaitlin more. Something about her captivated me (and still does today, of course).
I had no idea at the time, but she felt the same way.
We didn’t start “dating” officially until exactly one month later on April 21st, but I still consider the time we spent that weekend as our “first dates”. We may have not been spending time as boyfriend & girlfriend, but were excited about getting to know each other as best friends.
I think sometimes, it’s easy to forget that your spouse or significant other is also your best friend. It’s a vital part of a relationship, though. Everyone knows what Paul says about marriage in his letter to the church in Corinth and Ephesus (see 1 Corinthians 13 and Ephesians 5), but what about Solomon’s words in the Song of Songs?
“His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, this is my friend, daughters of Jerusalem.” – Song of Songs 5:16
“You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride…” – Song of Songs 4:9
In Song of Songs, perhaps the best illustration of intimacy and romance in a marriage that can be found in the Bible, the couple refer to one another not only as lover, but as friend. We also see this in Genesis, though it’s not as obvious.
“Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain…” – Genesis 4:1
The word “knew” is translated from the Semitic word jadac. You could just read past that word and assume it’s a family-safe way of translating sexual intercourse (like I thought for a while), but in doing so, you rob the text of its true meaning. The language the writers used at the time actually defined the union of marriage the same way they defined “knowledge”. How profound is that?
If I am to truly love Kaitlin, I have to know her, and truly invest myself in getting to know her more every day. The more I know her, the more I am equipped to make her feel the most loved she’s ever felt. In the adventure of learning about each other lies the friendship of marriage. One of the coolest activities we’ve shared as a couple is figuring out our love languages through Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages. By learning Kaitlin’s top love languages, I know how to communicate love to her in ways that give her the most joy.
The friendship of marriage motivates us to work through conflict in ways that strengthen our relationship instead of harm it. We support each other, as best friends do, when one of us may be going through tough times. We have in each other a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold, and an ever-available warm embrace.
We joke, we laugh, we celebrate, together.
Being best friends is just the best.
Dating and romance doesn’t always look exactly the same before and after “I do”, but it’s still about growing in our friendship and learning about each other. When I ask her out on dates now that we’ve been married for five whole years, it is out of that same desire that began eight years ago. She captivates me in a way that makes me want to get to know her more an more.
Through the good times and the bad, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer.
In all things.
She’s my very best friend.