I recently read an article about what makes a marriage last and the Twitter responses to it. One tweet read:
My parents’ marriage taught me that happiness is being married to my best friend.
Personally, I agree with this statement. But in this world of disposable marriages and chronic infidelity, how do you know when you’ve got the real deal? You know, like Jim and Pam on The Office or maybe like your own parents who might be married for forty years or more?
Being best friends means so much more than having the same sense of humor, enjoying time with each other, or never running out of things to talk about. Best friends are the ones that will stick with you when the chips are down, period. Best friends will never throw you under the bus and will always give you the benefit of the doubt. Best friends never quit on you, even when the relationship gets difficult. Best friends always defend you infront of others.
Last June, Pope Benedict XVI addressed almost half a million people attending the “Celebration of Witnesses” in Milan, Italy, regarding issues that modern families face. In particular, a question from an engaged couple brought about an exceptional point made by the Pope. The couple spoke of the anxiety they felt when faced with the “forever” of Marriage. Pope Benedict explained:
“Falling in love, being an emotion, is not eternal. The emotion of love must be purified”, he said. “It must undertake a journey of discernment in which the mind and the will also come into play. … In the rite of Marriage the Church does not ask whether you are in love but whether you want, whether you are resolved. In other words, falling in love must become true love; it must involve the will and the mind in a journey (which is the period of engagement) of purification, of greater profundity so that it is truly all of man, with all his capacities, with the discernment of reason and the force of will, who says: ‘Yes, this is my life'”.
Pope Benedict further stated other important factors help form strong marriages such as healthy friendships with others in their communities, the Church, and of course, with God, Himself and this is so true. Even the happiest newlyweds need to go through this purification process if they want to endure all the trials that life throws their way.
There have been many trials and tribulations in my own marriage, but I’ve come to understand that each one has played a huge role in strengthening my love and friendship with my spouse, not the opposite. With each obstacle that has presented itself to us, we decided we would work together to clear the path instead of pointing fingers or giving up. This has made our relationship a million times more wonderful than when we first got married.
Just last week, we celebrating at our annual New Year’s Eve oyster fest/block party. Steamed oysters, chargrilled oysters, Frogmore stew and tons of other great food were on hand for a chilly, but very fun time. My husband and I were talking with a neighbor and my husband noticed I did not have a plate. He asked me if I was ready to eat and if he could get me something. It was a simple, thoughtful request but our neighbor just about fell over. He said, “Did she pay you to say that infront of me?” I laughed and said, “No, he’s always that nice to me.” But inside, I felt sad that a small courtesy between husband and wife should be such a unique thing. Even so, it’s something like this, after nearly 13 years of marriage, that reminds me what a gift it is to be married to your best friend.
As you search for the one you will call your best friend, keep in mind our Holy Father’s pearls of wisdom… the emotion of love must be purified. The emotions and excitement of your relationship today will serve as a foundation for your marriage relationship and any challenges you will face as a couple. If you allow these challenges to purify your love, you will experience an incredible love in the future, one far better than you could have imagined.