Just shy of our one-year wedding anniversary, I’m more grateful for my girlfriends – and for my husband’s guy friends – than I’ve ever been before. There’s a natural cycle to all of our relationships, certain times when you know to give people a little space: right after they get married, immediately following the birth of a child, in times of real tragedy, during busy seasons at work. Not that we abandon our loved ones during these huge life changes – but a supportive text message or prepared meal drop-off can be far more helpful than coming over and spending a lot of time when a couple needs some space to get adjusted to whatever circumstances have changed. Since we didn’t live together before we were married, we appreciated having a little time and space to get adjusted to sharing our new life together.
Once the dust settled, life became a little more routine – and now, there’s time again for afternoon shopping trips, a walk in the park, margaritas on a patio, comfortable chairs at the coffee house for hours on end. Time to bond with my girlfriends who are married over the quirks of married life, and what it’s like to live with a boy – and time to share with my girlfriends who aren’t married the things I’ve learned about marriage so far, and about dating and relationships and what led me to this point. Time to chat with all my girlfriends, in whatever life stage, about life and work and family and hobbies and what’s good on TV these days. It doesn’t really matter what we talk about… my number one love language has always been quality time, and that quality time with my girlfriends energizes me in every area of my life.
My husband moved halfway across the country to marry me and build a life together in a new (to him) place. It isn’t something I’ll ever take for granted, even as he’s settled in and is falling more and more in love with his new city. I know it is a huge sacrifice to be hours away from his immediate family and established friendships – and one of my greatest hopes for him, here, is that new friendships would come into his life that have nothing to do with me. I love when he goes to the soccer bar to watch his team, or gives up an afternoon to help a buddy with a big house project, or takes that college student out to lunch and spends some time mentoring him. Those things bring him life, and so make him into the best man he can be.
I never get tired of talking to my husband, to be clear – I would always rather hang out with him than anyone else on this planet. But at the same time, we both need other people to talk to. If there’s something in our relationship we need help working out, our guy and girl friends can offer great outside perspective. The fun we have with our other friends gives us something new to talk about with each other before we fall asleep at night. And – newsflash – men and women are different. Our guy/girl friends simply ‘get us’ in ways we won’t ever understand each other.
There are specific reasons we chose each of the men and women who stood beside us on our wedding day. They were the people who have helped form us into the people we are today. They’ve supported us in our struggles, celebrated with us in our victories, and called us out when we weren’t being the best versions of ourselves. As we stood facing each other on our wedding day, promising to spend the rest of our lives with one another, continually growing into the people we are called to be – they were the ones who stood behind us.
They’ve had our backs for a long, long time. And we believe they always will. Our marriage is stronger because of them – and so as often as we’re able, it’s a joy and an honor to take a little time away from one another, for them.