Friday, October 7, 2011

My Favorite Movie, and Marrying Your Best Friend

In case it's not obvious, I find it almost impossible to settle on one "favorite" anything. But if asked to name only one favorite movie, When Harry Met Sally is usually my choice. Like some others I've mentioned, this movie is so embedded in the pop culture lexicon that I don't have much to say about it critically. It's a beautiful, funny story of two people who become unlikely best friends and gradually fall in love over a period of years.

Aside from all the sleeping around, WHMS is pretty much my ideal love story. I strongly believe that the best marriages are between people who were friends first. Once the initial excitement fades and you start really living life together, a solid foundation of friendship is critical. I don't necessarily believe you have to be friends for a long time before taking things to the next level, but it should be an element of the relationship from the beginning. You need shared interests, shared experiences and adventures, enjoyment of each other's company… not just loving each other because you have to, but truly liking each other. Of course a marriage can survive without friendship, but who would want that when the other way is so much more fulfilling? Your spouse is the only person who's required to stick with you for the rest of your life. If he or she isn't your best friend, it seems like a sad waste.

I've read (Christian) books advising NOT to marry your best friend, implying that friendship and romantic attraction, philios and eros, cannot coexist (at least for men). I call bull on that philosophy. I have a right to – it was one of the reasons my ex gave me for ending our marriage. (We were good friends for three years before dating.) In my opinion, that's a pretty immature and short-sighted way to look at love.

This topic is close to my heart, and I've had some interesting discussions about it with friends this year. I've sadly concluded that the "best friends who fall in love" plotline becomes less and less plausible as one gets older. It requires a certain amount of cluelessness about your own feelings (personally, I'm way too self-aware not to know if I'm in love with someone, and I'm not necessarily saying that's a good thing), and about your place and stage in life. Thus, it's a lot more likely to happen when you're young, naïve,and have the luxury of not being intentional about everything. But I still think there's nothing more romantic than realizing the person you're meant to be with is the person who's been right next to you and loving you all the while.

And on that note, here's the end of the movie, which makes me cry every single time.


  1. I concur. I married my best friend (the one that wasn't also one of my sisters), but we did marry very young. We met at ages 12 & 13 so friendship was a must-come-first at that age! But we married at 18 & 19 and 19-1/2 years later, here we are. Still surviving and enjoying each other's company. It may not be what works for every couple, but in my case, it has been at the core of the relationship (besides our mutual faith in Christ). I'm so thankful for it.

  2. Jon's my best friend. I totally agree with everything you said, but I couldn't watch the clip. I've never actually seen the movie! I suppose I should remedy that one of these days.

  3. You know what? I have never seen that movie! But now I think I need to.

    And as you well know, I married my best friend and am thus a very, very big fan of doing so. =o)

  4. totally agree. i remember the exact moment when i was dating my then-boyfriend-but-now-husband and i realized he was my absolute best friend. i literally have never heard anyone say that they cannot co-exist (wha?!) and i am trying to wrap my mind around that. you are so insightful! love your blog! (just found it, by the way!)

  5. I always enjoy reading your posts. I'm glad you pointed out that as we get older, we must live more intentionally. I can't believe how much more I value life, chance encounters/opportunities, and just existing, the older I get. I totally agree about being best friends with your spouse. Otherwise, it would be way too tempting to ditch the hub for the girls. :)

  6. I met Desiree (my wife) when she was 18, back in early 2000.
    I was 20.
    We became great friends, had a of fun together.
    I fell in love with her immediately.
    She was (and still is) way out of my league.
    I felt that she enjoyed me, that she cared about me, even that she liked me, though she denied it and said she just wanted to be friends. It took seven years (and four proposals to be my girlfriend) until we finally started dating in 2007. We got engaged in 2008. Married in 2009.

    I wish I could say here that things have just gotten better and better.
    But this is not the case. We are still married. We still love each other very deeply. We have a son together. But that spark, that passion, that is gone right now. We're at the point where we're relearning to love one another for the people that we actually are, not the people we thought we were, nor the people we "knew" we were going to be.

    I am hopeful we will turn things around. It's going to take work. It's going to take time. It's going to require seeking proffesional help.

    Our story continues....

    1. Sorry to hear this, but I'm glad that you want to work on your marriage. It's hard work, but it is ABSOLUTELY worth it.

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