Marriage = A Sleepover with My Best Friend?

     I think the following slogan was invented by a woman, and probably a woman under 40. At least I hope so.

    Marriage is like a sleepover with my best friend every night.”

     Yikes. There are so many problems here.

     First of all, I don’t want to have sleepovers now that I’m an adult.

     When I was a child, I went to a bunch of sleepovers, or “pajama parties”. We stayed up most of the night, ate lots of junky food, goofed around, and kept most of the people in the house awake. Maybe some of you did each other’s nails or gave each other makeovers. Someone usually insisted on a séance and pretended she saw a famous dead person’s face on the TV screen. We kept our pajamas on.

     Does this sound like an enjoyable night with your spouse?

    Is your highest relationship goal to have a best friend who can sleep over every night?

     I get it: the point is that your spouse is supposed to be your best friend. Your spouse should be your best friend, in that he should be the one person with whom you share all your confidences and your private thoughts. You should understand each other; you should enjoy each other’s company.

     But the difference in kind between a good friend and a good spouse is a chasm.      

     Do you expect a spouse to be only like a “friend?” Much like you, except that you get to have sex with him or her?  Is your spouse like the one good buddy who shares interests and hobbies with me PLUS a bonus: sex?

     Sounds like “friends with benefits”.  We know how well that concept worked out.

    What I’m hearing in this meme is that I should want a spouse to be of the same kind as me, someone with whom, from the start, I share a lot of common interests and experiences. Someone who already looks at life very much as I do….Someone more or less possessing my same-sex characteristics.

     If I’m male I want her to share my worldview and interests in my own male-oriented way, but I get to have that big extra with her. If I’m female I want him to feel the same way I do and care about the same things in my female-oriented way, but I get to share that special bonus with just him!

      But men and women are intrinsically different in deep and fundamental ways. There are ways in which we can’t fully understand each other. We are designed to be complementary. That means we need those differences. A woman needs the otherness of her husband, and a man needs the otherness of his wife. But that is a good thing. The mystery is pretty engaging and exciting.

     When we are joined together, we each gain perspectives beyond our own. Together we become a new entity which is greater than either one of us alone, and greater than two individuals linked together in any other way. Marriage between two people who are truly joined into one, joined in all aspects of their being including spiritually, is a supernatural thing.

     True friendship is also a wonderful thing, but it simply doesn’t have the capacity to become what marriage is intrinsically. And aiming for friendship in marriage is just setting your goal in the wrong place.

     Yes, you and your spouse should be best friends and so much more.

 

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