I said I would never consider Lance as a potential boyfriend. I found him to be weirdly quiet. I, loud and quite loquacious, wondered if he was mute. With my constant talking, he rarely had an opportunity to prove otherwise.
My love for him came as a gentle realization, a slow discovery, rather than a sudden momentous occasion. Soon, quiet admiration and respect gradually grew into a friendship during a year full of crushes on other boys and him dating other girls. (One of them is now my best friend.) I noticed his gentle chivalry, the way he was quiet but confident. He wasn’t a show-off like other boys his age. He was just himself. I also noticed his killer dance moves, and soon we were dating. We were only fifteen.
Four years later, I was the one that actually proposed. We had talked about marriage, so one night while we were watching TV I popped the question, and he picked the date.
Why did we want to get married?
I knew Lance was the one and I wanted to grow old with him. When we said we were getting married, a lot of family and friends jumped to the conclusion I was pregnant. But that wasn’t the case. We each knew we wanted to marry our best friend in life, and we were best friends. We were mature for our age, and though we still had a lot of growing to do, we wanted to grow together. So why not marry sooner rather than later? I was nineteen when we married.
We had a friendship, and that made us comfortable with ourselves and each other. It encouraged a confidence for us to speak our minds, share our thoughts, and encourage each other.
It still makes us who we are. It’s our friendship that reveals the nakedness, not of our bodies, but of our personalities. We had communication that broke the barriers of fear and doubt. When we were dating we would lay outside on Lance’s family’s back porch, looking at the stars, talking for hours.
Through our friendship we find the courage to accept each other not only for who we are, but who we are meant to be, as individuals and as companions. It’s our friendship that teaches me that our marriage, at its foundation, is a shared pursuit in the same direction, no matter how difficult a day is or how separated or frustrated we might feel. Friends talk, friends laugh, friends enjoy doing nothing—and they just want more of it. Friends desire to continue especially when times are tough. While they may grow tired, they do not quit.
Without friendship, Lance and I are not much more than two very different, stressed-out adults living in the same house with a lot of bills, cranky children, and dirty floors. But with friendship we become two people tangled in one another’s dreams and disappointments—even with the bills, the children, and the very dirty floors.
My deepest desire is that friendship with my husband will keep fueling us. Friendship is still preparing me for the rest of our marriage, for a life’s companionship that fulfills as it flourishes, and I hope I never allow it to stop.
The memories of complete disinterest and stubborn declarations that I would never consider him as a potential boyfriend make me smile in gratitude for our love now. Eleven years (seven of them married) and three (soon to be four) happy children later I’m glad we have our friendship and marriage. Yes, we may have our ups and downs, but who doesn’t? We are here to help each other grow, as a couple in life and in love.