Last week I was watching that old ’80s remake of The Fly with Jeff Goldblum on Hulu. I approached my wife, Mel, in the kitchen, and said, “Let’s just say…”
Mel finished my sentence, “Hypothetically.”
I stopped. I always stop there, and she smiles, and waits for my ridiculous question based on some horrible movie I’ve been watching.
“That I was a brilliant scientist. I invented real, honest transportation. Only a fly got in the transporter with me accidentally, and now my genes have been spliced with that of a fly’s, and I’m slowly turning into a massive human man fly?”
I turned my back for a moment, then turned back to face her, my hands curled in crooked fist like hooks, my face scrunched up, back arched, and said in a high pitched, creepy, fly-like voice, “Would you still love me?”
I approached her for a kiss, mouth open as far as it will go, tongue out and rolling across my lips. She put her hand on my chest, face scrunched up, and pushed me away, laughing. She turned her back for a moment, and said, “Only if you’ll love me…too.”
Then she turned around, hands like hooks, mouth open, head to the side, and we did this strange, human fly kiss. It was suddenly quiet in the house, and considering we have three children, this is usually a bad sign. I turned around, hands still in hooks, face a little twisted, to see all three kids watching from the living room, their faces frozen in disgust.
Our 11-year-old son broke the silence. “There’s something wrong with you guys.”
And you know what? He might be right. There might be something wrong with us. But whatever it is, we are both wrong in just the right way, which makes us best friends.
We text several times a day. When I’m having a bad day at work, I text Mel. Not to get answers or anything. Just to vent. She does the same with me.
When something interesting happens during my day, the first person I want to tell is Mel. I want her to know about it. The moment I walk into the door, Mel tells me about her day. We talk through things together — problems, situations, and confusions. Some of it’s all business. Sometimes it’s the budget, or something that’s going on with the kids, but most of it is just us talking about things we like or our shared struggles.
I tell her I love her every day. I think about her all the time. We cook together. And whenever we go on dates, we play “would you rather.” Sometimes we invent our own questions, but most of the time we find a list online. We almost always do this at some low-brow taco shop.
We laugh. A LOT.
And I can’t think about this stuff and not smile.
She knows me better than anyone else, and I feel like I know her pretty well too. But one thing I know for sure is that I don’t know everything about her because she’s a growing, changing person. So I try to find ways to know her better and stay connected.
Like two months ago, while celebrating our 14th anniversary, we went to a day spa. While in the changing room, I asked her if I was supposed to get naked.
“Yeah,” she said.
“But what if someone sees my doodle?” I asked.
“You’ll have a robe on,” she said. “No one wants to see your doodle.”
“Wow… not even you?” I asked.
I asked her several more questions. “What if I fall asleep?” “What if I need to pee?” “What if I need to fart?”
She told me sleep was fine. The answer to everything else was firmly “DON’T.” She put her hand on my shoulder, and told me to relax and enjoy myself.
Then she asked me why on earth I was doing this, and I wasn’t sure how to respond. So I just stood there, awkward and half naked.
This was my first time at a day spa. No one told me I’d be getting naked, or that they’d be rubbing me down in aromatherapy oil until I felt like a baby seal after an oil spill, the whole time trying to relax, but unable to because I needed to fart. I’d never wanted to go to a day spa before and, truthfully, I was a bit uncomfortable.
Once we were finally in nothing but robes, I answered her question, “I give you a trip to the spa as a gift all the time, and you always love it, but I don’t know why. We’ve known each other for so long. There aren’t a lot of mysteries left.”
I looked at Mel and shrugged.
“This seemed like a good way to learn something new.”
She gave a half smile. Then she kissed me, took my hand, and led me into the relaxation room.
Ultimately, what it looks like when your spouse is your best friend is being yourself around someone, even it’s a little embarrassing. It means laughing a lot, and telling each other about your day. It means text messages, and going out to places that might not be glamorous, but as long as you are together, you have an awesome time.
It means going on grocery store dates, or birthday shopping dates, and even though it should be boring, you are with your best friend, so you know it’ll be awesome. And it looks like doing something you might find uncomfortable (like putting on a robe in a day spa) so that you can learn something more about your best friend.
It looks like getting moody around them, and they don’t act like there’s something wrong with you because they understand how you function. It looks like being comfortable discussing all your problems and fears, and knowing that your spouse won’t judge you.
It means looking at your spouse and saying, “You know you’re my best friend.” And them saying something along the lines of, “Well…duh.”
And then both of you laughing until the folks next to you at the taco shop turn around to gawk.