Besties since way back. Cam and Lex.
Written on 16 October 2019
It is my husband’s birthday today. We have celebrated 16 years of birthdays with each other. We have been best of friends for 16 years, we have been together for 14 years and are nearly at 11 years of marriage. Lying in bed this morning while he read his handmade birthday card, I was reflecting on a question I was recently asked by one of my favourite teens about my relationship with Cam.
“People say your partner is like your best friend… Do you genuinely feel like Cam is your best friend?”
In short, yes, we are best friends and there is a much more in-depth answer too, there is a lot to unpack. I am taking a guess that the deeper wondering is about how romantic relationships work.
I made my commitment long before the wedding
Let’s just make it clear, I am not an academic expert in relationships; my knowledge is from a collection of people’s stories, observations and my life experiences. I am going to use marriage and relationships interchangeably in this post/blog. For me they are very much the same. Cam and I talked about marriage many moons ago sitting on the footpath on Quay Street after a training session. We expressed our mutual want to be married to each other. That is the moment I made my commitment to him. I really didn’t need to go through with the actual day after that. Don’t get me wrong; the day was absolutely wonderful and it was lovely to be surrounded by our people. But I had already committed to us.
Marriage is not always for forever
To give you a little history, I grew up in a loving single-parent home; my parents were never married and my mum raised me by herself (with the help of her circle of incredible friends) from the day I was born. And so, I didn’t grow up with the fairy-tale-marriage-is-forever-for everyone, because, let’s face it, it is not. My mum didn’t expose me to many of her relationships (which I am guessing did happen, I have no facts to confirm or deny this statement). And if they were going on in the background, I am glad she didn’t bring them into my life unless she felt they were solid. Growing up, there were two relationships that did seem to last forever, my grandparents who were married for something like 48 years until my grandma died and my other mum and dad (my godmother and her husband) who are living in South Africa and are still married. So, I grew up with a more realistic view on partnership.
The commitment I made to us (Cam and I) on the footpath was that each morning I would wake up and choose him and choose us. Until the day I didn’t.
Fourteen years on I still decide every day. I expect the same from him. Relationships and marriage are not easy; whoever tells you they should be easy and are all butterflies and roses is telling big fat porkies. Life is not easy; life is sometimes a struggle, so why do we think marriage would be easy? It doesn’t make sense and it is also an unfair story to tell. In our 14 years together, there have been hard moments and days. There have been periods of tough weeks and months. Marriage takes work and takes commitment.
Seven Reasons Why I think We Work So Well Together
I cannot talk to other relationships, but I will tell you some of the reasons I think we have worked well together for as long as we have.
1. We started our relationship as friends, we grew to be best friends over a 2-year period of friendship. We became romantic after that. We had a solid foundation to build from.
2. Open, honest and sometimes very vulnerable communication has been at our core.
3. We give each other space to grow and flourish as individuals.
4. He is my best friend and I am his. We laugh a lot, we cry sometimes, I sometimes sing the one song I know very badly to him and he listens to my noise pollution and still says I am cute. We still often sit on the sofa together cuddling and holding hands.
5. We are each other’s biggest supporters. We do not speak ill of each other in company, we do not put each down in front of other people.
6. We understand that we cannot possibly be everything to each other, and that it would be totally unfair for us to expect that of each other.
7. We know that we are not perfect (just in case you thought otherwise… no one is perfect), we accept the other’s and our own imperfections and help each other be better people.
If nothing else, feeling safe enough with each other to be truly open and vulnerable in our communication and making sure we talk through all the issues and all the successes, would be my top reason we work so well as an us.