Most marriage advice has said that the secret to a lasting relationship is to love and marry your best friend.
As for my husband? He’s my most reliable friend. He’s my funniest friend. He’s my most loyal friend. He’s my most genuine friend. He’s a frank, resourceful, and patient friend. He also happens to be my most handsome friend.
But he isn’t my best friend.
Should you marry your best friend? Over the years, I’ve watched my share of romantic movies and have attended countless weddings. Interwoven through each one, fictional and real life, was the revelation or declaration that the bride and groom were marrying their best friend.
As beautiful as that sounds and as touching as it is to profess that you’re marrying your best friend, those words didn’t fall from my lips when I stood before my husband.
And when he promised to love me and our daughter forever, never did he refer to me, the woman he was going to spend the rest of his life with, as his best friend.
As lovely as it would have sounded for both of us, saying that would have been a lie.
My husband and I already have best friends.
They are people who have been an intricate part of our lives long before he and I met. They’re the people who stood beside us during various seasons of our lives filled with love, new life, and loss.
Even when he and I stood together, they were always standing with us, rooting for us and holding us up on the sidelines so that we would have the strength to help each other stand.
These friends stood beside us yet again the night my husband and I stood before one another professing our love and countless times after when the decision to love felt much too difficult.
In fact, it was two of my best friends who introduced me to my husband. They watched as my eyes lit up each time I talked about him, listened as I gushed about our first kiss, and stayed up to keep me company when I cried the first time he and I broke up (and got back together).
My best friends visited me in the hospital when I gave birth and decided to forgo many days and nights out to hang out with me and my toddler. They served my ex with divorce papers. They sat in the hospital with me and my parents when my brother was sick.
They helped me clean the makeup off my face when the lady at the department store makeup counter went overboard. They’ve done my eyeshadow for me and helped me pick out what to wear. They took me to the club, smiled when I ordered a Shirley Temple and woke up and went with me to church the next morning.
My best friends helped me plan surprise parties for my boyfriend, surprise dinners for my mom, and a goodbye party for my brother.
They spent the day with us at Disneyland when my daughter turned two and stayed up all night making craft decorations and baking cookies when my now-husband adopted my daughter and we wanted to celebrate.
They attended my graduations and took me to Vegas for the first time (and honored that whole “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” thing).
My best friends have hurt me, and I’ve hurt them, but in the end, we always chose love and each other.
And then one day you get a boyfriend. Or they get one, or maybe you both get one (double dates!). But no matter what, they’ll always be your best friend.
But in time, they aren’t the only keeper of your secrets and innermost thoughts or the person sharing that basket of curly fries with you.
Suddenly, the depths of your soul are no longer only visible to your best. They grow outside of you, giving someone else the room and space to learn your song.
My best friends sang my song to me until I met someone who loved me enough to learn my song if I ever forgot the words. And when he was certain that he knew the words (and was prepared to sing them for the rest of our lives), my friends let go of my hand and smiled as I took hold of his.
I didn’t marry my best friend. Instead, I married someone who had the potential to become my best friend.
Even so, the reality is he will likely never be able to give me what my best friends have.
Yes, I can tell my husband anything, but I’m not sure I want to. There are some things I’d rather discuss with my girls. And we don’t pick up where we left off like my friends do. There are no gaps because he and I are constants.
He and I are building a life together and one facet of that life is a friendship that will stand the test of time not simply because we made a public declaration. Instead, it will be because we took the time to build it and continued building it long after the last song was played at our wedding.
And a few years later we’re still dancing.
Krishann Briscoe is a Child Welfare professional, and writer, and has been featured in HuffPost, BuzzFeed, Disney Family, Yahoo, Mom.com, and more.