Lately, it seems that conversations about marriage go one of two directions — either we’re complaining about how our spouse can’t seem to find the milk when it’s staring him right in from of his face. (Cue the groans.) Or we’ve got the most ah-mazing spouse in the world, we’re best friends, and we’re hashtag blessed. (And now cue the eye-roll.)
I’ll be honest, my husband is a pretty cool guy. We’ve been married for 13 years, together for over 17. Sure, we’ve had our ups and downs, and he can drive me batshit bonkers sometimes, but he’s my favorite person in the world. He’s more than my best friend — he’s my teammate/partner/lover/confidante/best friend all wrapped up into one perfectly imperfect human.
He’s My Person.
But even though my husband is my favorite human in the world (tied with my kids, of course), even though he’s My Person, that doesn’t mean he’s my only person. He can’t be everything. No person can, after all.
Enter: my BFFs.
My husband might be my confidante, and he knows things about me that no other person in the world knows, but his eyes glaze over when I start talking about cramps and the differences between various contraception methods. He has absolutely no interest in debating whether capris are a fashion faux pas or speculating on whether a celebrity divorce is imminent.
Our spouses are wonderful and amazing and all those other outstanding qualities we hope for in a life partner, but they don’t take the place of our girlfriends. My husband might be my friend (among other things), but he is not my BFF.
Venting to my BFF about socks on the floor and how literally no one in my family has learned how to put a dish in the dishwasher is cathartic and therapeutic, but venting about my husband to my husband rarely ends well.
The occasional romantic rendezvous is fabulous and critical to a healthy marriage, if you ask me, but it doesn’t take the place of a girls’ weekend when we laugh so hard we pee a little. Date nights don’t take the place of an afternoon mani/pedi appointment or a quiet brunch filled with comfortable silences and snarky gossip (and lots of mimosas). My BFFs and I can laugh until we cry about those awful black bean brownies I made in college, and we can tease each other about questionable choices in men for most of our teens and early 20s. (We all made excellent choices in husbands, thank god.)
We need time with our girlfriends — the ones who knew us before we met our spouse and long before we got caught up in motherhood and attempting to act like grown-ups — because they remind us of who we are deep inside. They see that little girl in glasses and the awkward teenager with crimped hair and the adventurous 20-something who laughed easily and was always up for trying something new.
Our girlfriends see us for who we were, who we are, and who we want to be.
We’re busy as hell and pulled in a million different directions. We want to spend our limited free time with this kick-ass person we chose to spend our life and create a family with, but that doesn’t mean we should neglect our friends either. We need them, and they need us, and we deserve time to nurture that connection.
We can have conversations with our girlfriends that consist entirely of emojis and gifs. We can cry to them about a five-alarm awful shitty day, and they won’t feel the need to fix it because some things just can’t be fixed, but they will feel the need to listen and validate our feelings. They understand firsthand the complexities of the mother-daughter relationship. They know the frustration and humiliation of being catcalled, the discomfort of walking alone on a street at night, and the blinding rage when we get passed up for a promotion by a mediocre man. They understand what it is to be a woman in this world. They get it.
Our spouses are awesome people, and we love them. The words best friend and partner just don’t do justice to the depth of the relationship we have with our spouses. It is, for many of us, the most important relationship we have. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only relationship worth having, or that this one person can fulfill all our needs. Quite frankly, it would be unfair to ask that much of them. And would likely cause a strain in the relationship.
So why not give your BFF a call — no, better yet, text her because none of us has time to talk on the phone these days — to tell her you’re thinking of her. Schedule a girls’ night out, even if it’s not until next month because you’re both so damn busy. Hell, tag her in a sappy article on how much we need our girlfriends if that’s what it takes. However you do it, let her know you love her, even if it’s just a silly emoji or a hilarious gif. It doesn’t take much. She knows you’re busy, and life gets in the way.
She gets it. As only a girlfriend can.