On my wedding day, my best friend Kayla stood up with ivy in her hair and made me cry with her toast to our disappearing childhoods. She seamlessly rescued me when my veil started to fall off as soon as I approached the altar. She carried my heavyweight, cascading bouquet through two sermons and three songs with all the verses—in one hand. When Walmart had no “Just Married” stickers, Kayla stripped the ones that had been put on her wedding getaway car two weeks before and applied them to ours. She was my best friend during my wedding in precisely the way she has been my best friend for almost my whole life: giving of herself for my well-being.
Since our weddings, Kayla and I have busied ourselves with a strange but necessary adjustment. We are learning to have new best friends. The school of marriage, apparently, teaches you that some worn-out maxims actually hold true. For instance, a woman’s work is actually never done. We understand our mothers better now that we have celebrated our own first months of wifehood. The delightful life of working, errands, and budgeting leaves less time for our hour-long phone calls. The seven hours of distance separating our New York and Virginia towns means no more spontaneous sleepovers or long birthday weekends.
Marriage teaches you also that the Bible has told the truth all along. “The married woman is anxious about … how to please her husband.” (1 Corinthians 7:34) Now the comfort of our husbands naturally fills our thoughts. But not, we are discovering, in a way that diminishes life’s other pleasures. I realized that last Friday when Kayla and I reunited for the first time since our weddings.
Kayla wore her nurse’s uniform when she walked into the New York coffeehouse where we met. We ran toward each other, squealing with delight, and scooped each other up into a huge hug. Jonathan and Murad embraced then stood by, smiling and shaking their heads at our glee. When we returned to their apartment, Kayla and Murad invited us to help them prepare a traditional dinner from Murad’s home country, Ethiopia.
We sat around the table before a huge plate of injera, Ethiopia’s fermented staple-food. Murad washed our hands with water from a pitcher and basin, and Kayla walked behind him with a towel for drying. We kept Murad’s customs as well as we could, rolling the food up and trying to eat with only our right hands. These customs, these long journeys, and this delicious food change the shape of my friendship with Kayla. But not for the worse.
I often half-jokingly say that I love my husband because he reminds me of God. He is always kinder than I expect him to be. Neither Jonathan nor Murad begrudge Kayla and I our sweet friendship. While Kayla and I exulted in each other’s’ company again, Murad and Jonathan each said, “I love to see my wife so happy.”
So we are married, and have trustworthy new best friends. We are also praying that someday, God will make us neighbors again.