I have received your letter and I appreciate the feedback. I realize from your letter that you have an issue with the point I made that John, as your husband, cannot be your best friend. He will love to be but the truth is that he will come up short as your best friend. You said you did not agree that John could not be your best friend. I take that to mean that it is your deepest desire to have your husband as your best friend. I can understand that and I believe that John will also want to be your best friend but the fact is that he cannot be. He does not have what it takes to be your best friend. That point I made was not to relieve John of a responsibility; it was to save you from pain and disillusionment.
John needs to understand that you will love nothing more than to be able to say that your husband is your best friend. But the truth is that he will fall short in that role and will be left feeling that he is not a good husband. You, on the other hand, will find yourself frustrated and unfulfilled if you insist that he plays that role in your life.
As a husband myself, I will love for my wife to say that I am her best friend but I know that much as I would wish that could be the case, I cannot be the kind of best friend she really needs. That does not mean that I cannot and should not be her friend. Indeed, I must be her rock; I must be her biggest cheerleader; I must be an important friend; I must be her most respected counselor but I cannot be her best friend.
I must be her biggest cheerleader
The fact is that I cannot accompany her to every funeral she needs to attend; I cannot follow her to every wedding she needs to show up; I cannot spare the time to listen to her vent her frustrations and insecurities. I will like to but I cannot do it.
This is not an attempt to excuse husbands from any responsibility; this is just meant for you to confront a reality you can do very little about. When my wife was going through a critical phase in her life, she and I spent long hours discussing what she was going through and how it was affecting her. I appreciated those moments and I think it gave me a deeper appreciation for the complicated and the sophisticated creature called woman. But no matter how much I cared and was willing to listen, I knew that I could not relate fully to what she was talking about. Her best friend on the other hand, being a mature lady herself, could relate fully and affirm her situation and experiences and offer much more solace and solidarity than I could provide.
And that is why John cannot be your best friend: he cannot always fully appreciate what you are going through as a woman. His world is so simple that it will be almost impossible for him to appreciate what you are talking about.
For example, John may not know how to treat vaginal infection and its complications. Your best friend can relate to that and be in the position to compare remedies with you. If your mother-in-law comes to visit and is stressing you out, you cannot vent your frustrations fully on John. He may misunderstand a lot of what you are saying. For that you need your best friend and John cannot play that role under those circumstances.
If the babies begin to arrive, your husband will be lost as to what to do when the child has temperature or is not sucking. Your female best friend who in all likelihood would have gone through it will be in the position to make very useful suggestions.
John must be your rock; he must and should be your biggest cheerleader. John, your husband, should be your most important counselor but he cannot be your best friend.
It will be useful if you learn to make a distinction between what you will like and what you can have. You need to make a distinction between what you wish for and what the reality is.
In your feedback, you raised a very important question, namely, if John cannot be your best friend, can you make another man, preferably a married man your best friend.
I hope I have clarified my position on that matter. Now, in your feedback, you also raised a question: if John cannot be your best friend, is it okay then to make another man your best friend?
We live in a community. If you, as a married woman, are seen in the company of a particular man all the time, society will conclude that you are having an affair. And if he is also married, people are going to his wife to tell her to watch you and her husband. And even if his wife was your friend, you will discover that very soon, your relationship with her has gone sour.
But there is another important point to note here. If the man who you are making your best friend is able to make as much time for you as your female best friend could then he is doing that at a price and in all likelihood, the person paying that price is his wife. In other words, when a married man devotes so much time for another woman who is not his wife, he is robbing the time for his wife for the other woman. And I am sure that you will not be amused when John does that. You will not be amused if John devotes so much time for another female when he is not making that much time for you. If you will not like it then please don’t let another woman suffer.
Solace, since you desperately want John to be your best friend, then patiently and gradually help him to understand and appreciate the world of a woman. In the meantime, find ways of filling your life so that the full weight does not fall on John. This is one load he cannot carry.
There is one more thing I will like you to note, Solace. It is this: fire needs air to burn. In other to sustain the love between you and John, the two of you will have to learn to create space for your individual selves so that none of you feels smothered. And one way to do that is to ensure that both of you have your own individual lives in which you are free to pursue what makes you come alive. When you are able to do that, then the times you spend together will be more exciting and intense because each of you would have had the space or the air to keep your fire burning and you can bring that fire to your times of intimacy and connectedness.
All the best, Solace, and please make sure that John gets to read this letter too.
Uncle Ebo Whyte is the CEO and brain behind Roverman Productions. He is known nationwide as an accomplished and award winning playwright and highly sought after motivational speaker. His articles in the Rover Report Monthly continue to stimulate and encourage readers to live more fulfilled and positive lives and bring families closer together as they discuss issues that are present in their homes and the homes of those around