While my husband and I were brushing our teeth a few nights ago, I recalled a conversation I'd had earlier in the day with one of my best girlfriends. Well, it was actually a one-sided conversation because she’d called me breathless about an exciting new development in her life and I couldn’t get a word in edgewise. It wasn’t a bad thing; we’ve certainly had conversations like that before where I was the breathless one.
Anyway, I began thinking about this friend and how she and I had gone through so much together. We have been friends for almost 20 years, which in my book makes her an “old friend.” I deeply value our friendship not only because we can truly talk about anything together, but because we have so much history together.
Which got me thinking about that sweet man in the mirror next to me.
My husband and I just celebrated 12 years of marriage. This means that for 13 years I’ve looked into his sky blue eyes and called him “more than a friend.”
We’ve prayed, laughed, dreamt and wept together. We’ve served on the mission field, bathed newborns, bandaged boo-boos, made tough financial decisions, drawn family boundaries, redecorated bedrooms, read books, planned vacations, changed jobs, lost weight, gained weight, moved, worked out, cooked countless meals, washed even more countless dishes… together.
He’s seen me in every mood possible, and seen my body grow, stretch and deflate four times as we’ve welcomed our children into our home.
He’s the only other person in the world (outside of God) that knows every one of my curves, bumps and lumps.
He wiped my brow when I was sick as a dog, let me mercilessly squeeze his hand during the deepest labor pains, and cheered with me as I completed a 10K.
He’s always been my champion, that faithful loyal presence I can count on.
We’ve always joked that while my moods can vary wildly from day to day, he is that steady, constant rock of emotion. At times, this has been both an incredible sense of comfort and a huge source of irritability (“Honey, how can you not be jumping up and down with excitement about this?!”).
We’ve argued, made up and carried life’s burdens together.
We’ve built a home together, growing from a party of two to now a party of six.
Because of these things (and so much more), I realized that the man next to me was not only my husband, but an old friend.
What a privilege… to call my husband an “old friend.” Not everyone gets to do that. Sickness, death and sometimes complicated life circumstances can cut a marriage short.
Or, many couples may live together, but simply exist, not building a friendship but instead letting life slip by. As the years pass and the kids leave, they find they’re left with a roommate instead of an “old friend.” This can easily happen, I suppose, as raising a family makes for a full and busy life.
But I’m thankful that God has a more excellent plan for husbands and wives than to just numbly exist under the same roof.
My grandparents have been married for nearly 70 years. Unbelievable, but true. Now there’s an example of an old friendship. They’ve been together since they were 18 years old.
Now in their twilight years, we’ve noticed how much they depend on each other and how deeply interwoven their souls have become. It’s hard to describe this phenomenon, but it’s as if when one hurts the other literally feels pain. Although they bicker in that adorable way that only older couples do, they share such a deep connectedness that it’s hard to imagine them as anything but a perfect pair. Seventy years of life together will do that, I suppose.
I dream of seventy years with my husband. I dream of looking back at our lives and saying with a smile, “You are my dearest old friend.”
Twelve years may not be even in the realm of seventy.
It has, however, allowed me a taste at the pure joy of what seventy years might be like. And it has allowed me to realize what I treasure I have in my husband, right now.
Dear husband, I love you. Thank you for being my old friend.