On Marrying My Best Friend
One cold February evening, nearly six years ago, when I was at the tail end of my internship at CCM, my dad drove all the way to east Texas to take me out to dinner. He had a small, wrapped bag with him containing a stunning, gemstone ring. Over the course of the evening, we talked about my future husband and my dad shared some of his hopes for me. Even though I was not dating anyone at the time, there was an unspoken understanding that I already had a man in mind.
One of the things my dad said that night stands out particularly. He told me he wanted me to marry my best friend. He said romance comes and goes and I want that for you, but find someone who you could stay up with all night just laughing and eating donuts. Marry someone who is the first person you want to call when something big happens. He may not have known it then, but he was merely confirming my feelings for Matt.
My dad planted the seed six years ago - that desire for a rooted, beautiful, whimsical marriage - and Matt has been watering the soil ever since.
This week marks five years of marriage in our rearview mirror. Five years of goodnight kisses, hard conversations, laughing uncontrollably, bad morning breath, inside jokes, traveling the continent together, saying I’m sorry, stealing the covers, and flirting shamelessly. Marriage is both the best and the hardest thing I have ever done, next to being a mom.
The funny thing is, some of my best memories have birthed out of less than ideal circumstances. Matt and I survived two winters living in an Airstream travel trailer that was gifted to us. On particularly cold nights, we would rely on the warmth of a tiny space heater inside a home that was essentially a large metal box. The memory foam mattress would be as hard as a rock and we would take turns sticking our ice cold feet on each other under the covers. We were living on our best friends’ land at the time, and on rare occasions, we would all get iced in on their homestead. I won’t pretend I didn’t pray for those snow days spent attempting to ski down their driveway and binge-watching Hallmark Christmas movies.
After being married for only six months, Matt and I used our tax refund to visit my parents and brother who had been living in Belize. To save money, we all stayed in my parent’s one-bedroom rental with one bathroom blocked off by a curtain. For an entire month, Matt and I slept on an air mattress in the loft above my parents' bedroom, and in the evenings, we would have to wipe the sand off our beds before getting in. I can still smell the salty air and feel the breeze flow through the open windows.
We’ve somehow managed to dip our toes in the waters of both the East and West coast, on the income of a part-time nanny and a bus driver/musician. We have pinched pennies to take a road trip or go on a date night and spent summers in humid Louisiana, co-leading small groups at a camp that feels more like a second home. Most of our memories, though, have been made in our own home, around the dinner table or fire pit, doing life with our people. I long for those quiet evenings when we are together and all feels right in the world. More recently, we have brought a little miniature human into the world and thrown him in the mix of our adventures of road trips and big dreams and watching Matt perform.
And while we have yet to stay up all night laughing and eating donuts, we have spent more nights than I can count whispering under the covers, dreaming under the stars, sharing ice cream cones and quoting movies and carrying each others burdens. And for that, I am so thankful I married my best friend.