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I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve never understood the concept of marrying your best friend. It has always confused me to no end, even thought I know a lot of people describe their marriages that way.

“Today, I marry my best friend.”

This joke is always how I saw that:

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My problem has been that I’ve been defining “best friend” differently than everyone else.  I read an article recently that said that people who claim to be married to their best friend tend to be up to two times happier. So, of course, I had to read it!

According to this article, this is what people mean by marrying their best friend:

“A best friend has your back. A best friend supports your dreams. A best friend is someone you can call anytime, anywhere, without feeling like they’ll resent you for it. They’re the person you put as an emergency contact and the first person you think about when something wonderful happens at work. They know all your quirks (and love you anyway). They can challenge you in deep ways because they know the ins and outs of your psyche (and love you anyway). They’re the kind of person who’ll make soup and draw you a bath when you’re sick, even if they’re busy, because they genuinely want you to feel better.”

Now for me, a best friend is many of those things, but  not all of them. Call me cranky, but I have a few more boundaries with my buddies. I wouldn’t call them day or night. And they aren’t my emergency contact, either… that’s reserved for someone closer. They might bring me soup if I’m sick, but the bath? That’s a little personal. Add to that, a best friend is someone who I’m not sexually attracted to in any way. And for me, that’s a really important part of the definition. I can go days without physically seeing a best friend and be okay with that. I can see my best friend fall in love with someone other than me, and be excited for them.

Best friends get your humour, laugh at your jokes, hang out with you when you need a breather from your work, and share your view of the world. They might tell you a difficult truth, comfort you when your heart has been broken, and be your cheerleader when you don’t think you’ll succeed. Best friends are such a necessary part of life… because life is about more than one person. You need more than one person who would take a bullet for you. But I wouldn’t marry a “best friend.”

The man I did marry is my lover, my husband, the one I think about all day long, the one I trust to take care of me when I’m sick. He’s the only person in the world I’d have a joint bank account with, the one who gets my top priority. And I’m his. He’s the one I long for when we’re apart, whose arms calm me, who shares inside jokes with me and who I want to grow old with. He knows me better than anyone, and I know his quirks and inside tangles, too. He’s the one I flirt with, crawl into bed with, and share an intimate connection that I share with no one else on this planet. They say that physical attraction fades over time, but 13 years in, and we still have the spark. We have each other’s backs no matter what. He’s the one I can open up to, share my deepest insecurities with, and feel completely safe. He’s not my best friend or my buddy–he’s my everything.

But then, I’m sure that’s what other people mean, too, when they described the person they married. It’s just semantics. But be warned, whenever I hear about someone marrying their best friend, I’m thinking of Gary. Because a best friend is a wonderful part of life, but if you define a best friend like I do, don’t marry him! It can be so much better.

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