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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.

 

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20 Comments

  1. Kathy-730470 January 7, 2013

    Lisa very nicely written. I liked reading your piece. I agree with what you have written. I remember being in church and my parish priest was talking about marriage. He said he always asked couples who were planning on getting married if they were best friends. He said your spouse should be your best friend and if he or she isn’t you have no business getting married. He said you must be friends first or how will get through all the trials and tribulations. If you are friends then it makes it easier. I never forgot that. When reading your piece it reminded me of his words but also of how true they are.

  2. Kathleen-5781 January 7, 2013

    I like what Pope Benedict XVI had to say about True Love involveing a journey of Purification. I think it is a process of growing together that will lead to a loving marriage. Help us Lord to find our partner that will lead us to you. God Bless !

  3. Patrick-872788 January 7, 2013

    I’ll think about it but I don’t think he would be interested.

  4. Raphael-930793 January 8, 2013

    I agree with Pope Benedict’s statement that love involves the will and the mind in a journey and that it is a statement of reason to say this is who I am. When we can be honest with ourselves about who we are then we are ready to love and to be loved. One cannot change attributes of character that define their personality from one moment to the next to suit the desires of another, and if that other wishes to change personal qualities about you then they are not displaying love nor are you in changing them. Love is more than a feeling. It is an involvement of self and a commitment to preserve the integrity of another’s personality for good.

    • Jennifer-728047 January 9, 2013

      Exactly. Love is sacrifice. So easily said and committed to memory, but the living out of this moral duty and Divine expectation of us, is more a manifestation of our faith than merely reciting the Rosary. Good answer, brother. +AMDG

  5. Sue-906387 January 8, 2013

    Indeed many married couples testify that their friendship and being each other’s best friend is the central key to happy lasting marriage. Great article!!!

  6. Maria-930320 January 8, 2013

    Excellent article with very valid points. Noting behaviors that typify best friends such as: “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” illuminates the sturdy foundation resembling that of Our Lord. The author uses “never” and “always” that remind us of that solid support in precisely the right moments. In our frequently sarcastic, fickle times, perhaps unintentional hurt can occurr under the guise of humor, yet this reminds us, rather, that best friends strengthen eachother in small and very big ways and with consistency across time and settings. Excellent foundation for lasting appreciation, joy and respect.

  7. Dave-868059 January 8, 2013

    Pope Benedict’s comments are definitely spot on! I like this article; Well done. So many of us in relationships depend too heavily on emotional stimulation to keep things going. There are many ups and downs along any couple’s path. While emotions and attraction are extremely important, I’ve also learnt that marriage, which includes true Christian love, strongly involves the will and action of both parties towards each other and within a community and wider society. Having a spouse who’s your best friend – and being a best friend in return, is a major plus in a world whose values are often anti-marriage and whose trends tend towards divorce, strife and a breakdown of family life. We’re supposed to enjoy this sojourn called ‘life’ and live it abundantly. Right?

  8. Kate-756604 January 8, 2013

    Can I just say Amen to this?

    • Meesch-691047 January 9, 2013

      AMEN! I believe that the one I marry will be my best friend whose company and counsel I treasure above everyone else. Therefore, I’ll have no choice BUT to marry him lol!

  9. Esther-532964 January 9, 2013

    That was the best article I have read on CM. The article was wonderfully written. I hope and pray that I will find my best friend and that I will marry him.

    • Carlos-977696 July 5, 2013

      I fully agree with you Esther. Our beloved Pope Benedict is really guided by God. He has such an intellect, and at the same time such a heart and compassion. He somehow made of his mind a subordinate of God’s Will, and it shows! God bless him for these fine words!

  10. Christian L. January 12, 2013

    I agree with B16′s excerpt, but I’ve been married for 24 years. If I were not married yet, that quote would have received a big “huh?” from me. I believe that sort of elevated talk will zoom right over its intended audience.

  11. Raymond-913128 January 24, 2013

    Lisa, thanks for your words of experience. I had forgotten this important wisdom and have refocused my search for a wife, who is also my best friend. Ray P. Bellport, NY

  12. Meesch-691047 January 25, 2013

    Yep, for sure, I’m plan to marry my best friend! Thanks for the support, Pope Benedict.

  13. Kenny-922490 January 25, 2013

    Well said. That is exactly my parents marriage is. They are the best of friends.

  14. Elisabeth-722284 February 12, 2013

    Inspiring

  15. Monessa-968448 May 27, 2013

    I so agree!!! I believe that this friendship involves the couple to have such a love for each other that they both want the best for one another emotionally, physically, and spiritually. They both have the intentions to help one another get to heaven and marriage just seems the natural thing to do for them and their future children.

  16. Loretta-867522 July 9, 2013

    I sure miss Pope Benedict! I’m reminded of an ethics class in college that explored the idea of a promise–there is no time limit on that promise and some days you keep your promise even when you don’t feel like it. In a similar vein, my saintly grandmother once told me that marriage is always about loving your spouse. But some days, you have to make a real effort to decide to love him. Those words kept my husband and I loving each other (despite that occasional urge to kill him) until his natural death. We relied on God’s love during those times when our own feelings were a little thin.

  17. Delia-1056688 March 29, 2014

    I agree,best friends before marriage and during marriage. I think we need more people to be conscious about the meaning of true love, and that have the courage or enough will to get involved in that journey.In other words we need people to be willing to pay the price of this precious jewel… the true love.
    Thanks for your advice Pope Benedict.

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