Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “The only way to have a friend is to be one.” I don’t know about you guys but my wife is truly my best friend. I know that so many men say this because it is the right thing to say when they are in front of their wives. But I wonder how many would say that in front of their buddies, their family, or their coworkers. But Janine really is my best friend. I tell her everything. When something great happens to me, she is the first one I call. When I am struggling with something, again, she’s the one I turn to.
I have had a few exceptionally good friends in my life but none of them has ever been as close to me, my successes, my failures, my weaknesses and my strengths as my wife is today. And although she had the qualities of being a great friend long before I met her, I now realize that what makes her such a good friend to me is that I am a good friend to her. In all my friendships prior to her I had never let anyone in this close. I had never been as good a friend to anyone else as I am to her. Even with her ability to be a great friend, had I not been a great friend to her, she wouldn’t have been able to be that for me.
I had to make the choice to let her in. I had to let her see who I really am. I had to show her all the things that I keep hidden from my family, my other friends, and my church to maintain a wall of safety. Most of these things would be inappropriate to show to anyone else because the level of intimacy does not allow for the level of trust required. But with her, I have revealed these hidden places. She knows what I am afraid of. She knows the things I have done over my life that left me embarrassed. She knows all my dreams. She knows it all.
I have heard it said so many times that you can never be totally honest with your wife because they couldn’t handle it or accept it. That is not true. If you are not willing to be completely transparent with your wife, there is no hope of ever having a truly intimate relationship. I would suggest that for some, the reason they cannot be open about their past, is because they haven’t left their past where it belongs. They are still living some of it today.
If you have any desire to have a great relationship with your wife, you will have to have her as your best friend. If she is ever to be your best friend, you will have to be her best friend as well. Take the first step today. Start being more open with your wife. Don’t drop it all on her in one fell swoop. Just start practicing being completely honest with her about today. Live each day in a way that you can feel good about sharing with her. As you build trust over time, start sharing your past with her. Take it slow. Tell her what you are doing and why. That you covet a relationship where you could be her best friend and her yours. And then be it. Own it. Be the best.