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Saturday, July 16, 2011

I Can't Be Your Friend; I'm Your Wife

Bride on a Path
"The best friend is likely to acquire the best wife, because a good marriage is based on the talent for friendship." - Friedrich Nietzsche

"I can't be your friend; I'm your wife." Sounds absurd doesn't it?

My husband and I have been together for more than 15 years. Would we have had such a long-lasting relationship without friendship? Indeed, our relationship was built on friendship first, but he became more than just a friend, which is why I married him. However, now that I am his wife, if i were just his friend, our marriage would fail because being a wife involves much more than just friendship. We've moved beyond the boundaries of friendship into something even more beautiful, more sustaining. I am also his lover, the mother to his children, and I provide some housekeeping services (LOL). Being a wife means unconditionality. It means accepting him and loving him for who he is. It means intimacy and understanding that just a friend cannot provide. I am his friend. Friendship is the foundation for all great and lasting relationships. Yes, I am his friend, and I am so much more.

The same is true for my relationship with my children. "I can't be your friend, I'm your mother." This statement sounds just as absurd to me as my first statement. Of course I have a friendship with each of them. It is that friendship that fosters connection, trust, and cooperation. It is that friendship that will sustain our relationship when they are grown. However, I can't be just a friend. I think this is where some parents run into a problem. No, I'm not just a friend. Our relationship also moves beautifully beyond the boundaries of friendship. I am their mother, and being a mother involves more than just friendship. It means I am their example, their teacher, and their guide. Being a mother means unconditionality. It means accepting them and loving them for who they are. It means a love and understanding that just a friend cannot provide. Let us not say "I can't be your friend; I'm your mother." Let us say "I am your friend, and I am so much more."

"A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts." -Washington Irving

5 comments:

  1. I shared this on Facebook...wow...SO well said, THANK YOU! :)

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  2. Thank you for your post. It has left me thinking... I once said to my mother in High School (feeling misunderstood and misjudged by her) "Why can't you just be my friend?" She replied, "I am not your friend. I am your mother!" It has taken a long time (and fourteen years of being a parent) to try and understand her and the above statements.

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  3. Yes! We don't have to choose between being a friend and being a parent. It's sad that people feel that one role cancels out the other.

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  4. Julie, my mother had that same attitude. We are struggling to be friends today.

    Vickie, exactly! We don't have to choose one or the other. :)

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