When I'm in a premarital counseling session, one thing that tickles me is when one of the individuals says (for the record, usually it's the woman) something about their "best friend". When I say "Oh, so you're talking about your significant other?" and they look at me with a blank look on their face and they're like "No... so-and-so. My *best* friend", it's then that we find ourselves taking a bit of a diversion from the topic that was initially planned to be discussed. You see, it has been my research, experience and discernment that has come to the definitive conclusion that if you are trying to have a spouse *and* a best friend, something is already awry.
YOUR MATE SHOULD BE THE ONE WHO IS YOUR BEST FRIEND.
The word "best" is the giveaway:
Best: of the highest quality, excellence, or standing; most advantageous, suitable, or desirable; largest; most; most excellently or suitably; with most advantage or success; in or to the highest degree; most fully (usually used in combination)
And while we're at it, let's revisit the definitions of "friend" too:
Friend: a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard; a person who gives assistance; patron; supporter; a person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile
Synonyms: ally, buddy, companion, partner, roommate, comrade, familiar, intimate, mate, pay, playmate, sidekick, well-wisher, bosom buddy, soul mate
Now if you're actually going to vow to be with someone for the rest of your life (Ecclesiastes 7:1-5, Matthew 19:1-12), why would you do that if you didn't believe with everything in you that they are the highest quality of friend, that they are your most desirable soul mate and that they are your most excellent supporter? Why would you marry one person and be more intimate with someone else?
And trust me, there is more than one way to have an emotional affair. I personally know some wives who are too close to some of their female friends being that they go to them before their spouses and share information that frankly is no one else's business other than their life partner (and when required, a counselor).
This is one reason why I'm not big on shotgun courtships (how can you become real friends with anyone in a few weeks?!?) and I encourage people to make sure they know what a real friend is and does before trying to build a relationship first. Because trust me, ask any married couple worth their weight in commitment and they'll tell you that what kept them going through the tough times was one, their respect for marriage and what God says about it as well as divorce (Malachi 2:16) and two, their *best kind of friendship* with their spouse.
I mean, just think about it. There are a lot more marriages that break up than best friendships do. That should *never* be the case. Can we have other *good friends*? Not only *can we* but we *should*. Your husband should not be expected to be your everything; that is borderline idolatry. But should he be your best kind of friend? No matter what the world may tell you, the answer to that question is definitely "Yes!"
To help drive the point home, I looked for an article that clearly defines the qualities of a true friend. If you are going to make a relationship serious and *any of these* are missing, it's time to either slow the relationship down or perhaps even end it. Again, mature people marry their best friend because mature people understand that an intimate friendship is the foundation for marital success.
Here's the list from "10 Character Traits of a True Friend":
A true friend is a good listener. Whether you are talking about a good experience or a bad experience, a true friend listens. They don’t interrupt, they just listen, allowing you to express your innermost feelings.
A true friend is sensitive. A true friend is very aware of the needs of the other person. They know when to be there for you and they also know when to keep silent. A true friend has great understanding and compassion.
A true friend is faithful. A true friend with stick with you when you are on the mountaintop and when you are down in the valley. A true friend is quick to say I’m sorry and quick to forgive.Through faithfulness, the friendship is strengthened; just as it is when we are faithful to God.
A true friend gives unconditional love. No matter what trials, struggles, failures or even successes you may have, a true friend will love you at all times.
A true friend has unwavering support. Even during times of uncertainty, pain or wrong decisions, a true friend supports you at all times. They will be there for you no matter what.
A true friend is loyal. A true friend will stick up for you and defend your honor even when you are not present.
A true friend is humble. A true friendship cannot last if built upon a foundation of pride, boasting or competition. So the communication between true friends need to be generously sprinkled with humility; cheering each other on during your successes and comforting each other during time of loss.
A true friend will help you. A true friend will help you out in your time of need; whether it be helping you with household chores or cooking dinner while you are sick, or just being there for you.
A true friend gives grace freely. A true friend will forgive each other when needed and love you even in the bad times.
A true friend is honest. The best gift that a true friend can give you is honest affirmation and honest correction. This type of honesty is earned from showing all of the above characteristics.
Don't be so busy looking for "butterflies" that you miss out on discerning a man's true character (Colossians 3:12-17) and knowing if you mutually share the qualities above. You'll need 'em.