19 February 2008

Drew's Tips for Marital Bliss

I've been married since high school. My marriage has taken me through college, through three major moves, and accompanies me as I pursue my career in the arts here in Los Angeles. We've had our ups and (thankfully few) downs. Actually, a heck of a lot more ups than downs. So I feel like maybe I know a thing or two about how to make a marriage "work." I've toyed with the idea of writing a book on how Pamela and I manage it. I believe I will start with just a few observations, posted here as a public service.

I occasionally run across articles online about marriage. These are typically linked off of MSN or the Hotmail welcome page, and have titles such as "10 Ways to Spice Up Your Marriage" or "5 Marriage Pitfalls to Avoid." I will click these links whenever I'm in the mood for a good laugh.

Who writes these things?

Today, I would like to reference one such article, posted on MSN, in cooperation with iVillage and the Today Show. Here is the article in question.

This is an article I saw sometime last month. All in all, not a bad article. I can't speak to the points about children (not yet, anyway) but the other points are well made. Except for the first point:
Your spouse is your best friend

If you think this way, you'll be in for a big disappointment. Over the years, you definitely develop an amazing friendship with the person you are married to. But it doesn't necessarily start off that way. You develop that respect because you have your own life and your own interests and you support each other through illness, bad times, and death. That is what the basis of the friendship is about.

A best friend is someone you go to the movies with, that you have a lot in common with. But you need someone who you can go through life with, depending and relying on — and that takes time. And you may not tell your spouse everything, but it doesn't mean you are not close.
Where did this definition of "best friend" come from? Someone you hang out with? Maybe that's part of it, but it certainly isn't the whole deal. Nevertheless, even using this limited definition of "best friend"," I can state unequivically that my wife is my best friend. There's nothing I do that isn't immediately enriched by her participation. It actually depresses me when our tastes diverge, because I know that's one thing we won't be able to fully enjoy together.

I agree that a friendship like the one Pamela and I share develops over time. It becomes deeper and richer as the years pass. She is indeed someone who I "can go through life with, depending and relying on ..." what is that but a best friend?

I have other friends, so does she. I don't know all of her friend's names, although I make a point of learning them. I imagine she would say the same. I will say that I don't consider that I have a life outside of our marriage. In other words, there is nothing boxed off from her; she knows all my passwords, and I know all of hers. So although we don't spend every waking moment attached at the hip (and believe me, we've tried) she's always very present.

I can't imagine the hell my marriage would be if I weren't best friends with my wife. But I can tell you what I'd do if I found myself in that position. Every day I would make it my mission to get to know her better. I would approach it on a gradient, befriending her more and more each day. I'd becmoe familiar with her hobbies and passions, and I'd show her some of mine. Even if I did not share her enthusiasm for all her interests, I would at least become conversant in them. Even if it took a lifetime, I'd become best friends with my wife.

Can you imagine a better use of my time?

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