I Did Not Marry My Best Friend

Jun 24, 2019 8:00 AM

I Didn’t Marry My Best Friend

41 years ago, I made this beautiful woman, Linda Noland, my wife. I will not say that I married my best friend--indeed, my best friend married us! Neither would I call her my best friend today, although I have no better friend in this world than she. It just seems to me that to call her my best friend would be a demotion. There is a deep friendship in our marriage, but that is not its highest value.

I suppose I was too strongly influenced by C. S. Lewis's talks on The Four Loves some years ago. The truth is that she and I are far too dependent upon one another to be true friends. The divinely designed project of two becoming one flesh involves all the loves together. Friendship (philia) has a part, but so also does romantic/sexual passion (eros), and domestic affection (storge). But for all to work in harmony without falling into self-centeredness, all must be orchestrated by unqualified Love itself (agape). That love in its fullness has its source in the love of God in Christ Jesus.

Together this lovely woman and I have pushed, pulled, and sometimes dragged one another in the pursuit of the love of God. Her faith encourages me. Her womanhood attracts me. Her motherhood inspires me. Her faithful companionship and partnership fills me with gratefulness. Her professionalism in her life’s work as a teacher fills me with admiration. Her righteous, wifely jealousy makes me righteously afraid and holds me to account. Her smile makes me glad, and to be at odds with her is something I've never been able to stand.

There is no one in this world that I am more driven to please, and no one whose pleasure is more rewarding. To be the object of her scorn is unthinkable to me--it would be a crucifixion. That she honors me is more important to me than any other honor I have received or expect to receive in this life. But simply to be with her is I think the sweetest gift my Lord has allowed me this side of heaven. I cannot imagine life without her.

No, our relationship is not perfect. She and I still cope with the flaws, frailties, and imperfections we find in ourselves and in one another. God is not yet finished with either one of us individually, let alone with us together.

That should make the years to come just as interesting as the 41 that have gone before, if not more so.

So no, I wouldn't say I'm married to my best friend. I would say that what I have is better than that, and I rejoice with the wife of my youth.

See my poem Anniversary Sonnet.