I recently heard a marriage researcher report the longest lasting marriages she'd witnessed were between partners who were not best friends--but whose different personalities balanced each other. In other words, they were very good for each other--even if they weren't best friends. I don't think this is always true (I've seen plenty of long-lasting "best-friend" marriages), but I have to admit this relieves me quite a bit. I've heard so much marriage advice that centers on making your spouse your best friend and that sorta freaks me out. I've never thought of my husband as my "best friend." He is, however, very good for me and for my particular personality.
I will also say that we have what might be called a "Rescue Marriage," a relationship in which we've healed each other from mutual childhood trauma (we were both raised in cults). There are things he just inherently understands as a result of our similar backgrounds.
But in almost every other way, we are very different people. I'm an indoor girl who likes books and baking, he's an outdoorsy guy who likes bikes and hiking. I like predictable comfort food, he likes spicy, exotic food. His ideal vacation is backpacking in the mountains. My ideal vacation is relaxing by a pool. He's neat and tidy, I'm cluttered and flighty. I constantly question my faith, he's never once doubted. He's not interested in my blog and I'm not interested in his job.
Oh, and then there's this: I became Catholic and he's quite content staying a Protestant.
The thing is, we still love each other deeply and we're good for each other. We're just very OK being different people and letting each other do our separate things.
See, this is why I don't write about him often. Because it sorta freaks people out. They get all baffled and confused. They can't understand how our relationship works. The thing is, I find my husband's "differentness" interesting and exciting. He challenges me in all the right ways.
We don't need to be the same. My husband is a secure man who doesn't feel the need to control every facet of my life and I'm an independent woman who doesn't expect her husband to meet her every need.
I don't need him to be my best friend because, well, that's what my girlfriends are for. In fact, I have this theory that spouse-as-best-friend is a relatively modern construct resulting from women losing their women-village. Do you know what I mean? I mean that women used to hang out with each other a lot more than they do now. Now we're too busy driving our kids to scheduled play-dates.
But all is not lost. Some brilliant woman invented the Internet so women could get back to hanging out with each other. :)
And oh, how we need each other.
Despite how difficult going to a blogging conference was for me, the major redeeming factor was meeting all my online girlfriends in real-life. The connection was instantaneous and magical, really. It reminded me why I do this strange little thing called blogging: because we women need each other.
Together, we are whole.