A Best Friend for Life

"His mouth is most sweet; yes, He is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, o daughters of Jerusalem." (Song of Solomon 5:16)

I have had friends. I even had a best friend when I was younger. But as I grew older and as I have to live a life of a wanderer, moving from one place to another, getting education from various institutions, being trained and doing mission in different places, and saying hello and goodbye to friends for most of my life, it got harder for me to develop friendships and get really closer to people.

Then I met someone who didn't give up even though I pushed him away many times. He just wants to get closer. And closer did we get! We got married, and the more years we got in marriage, the more I realize that he loves me and the more I love him.

Even though I have friends, there is no one as close to me as him. My husband has become my bestest of friend. He knows my dreams and what keeps me awake at night. He often has to bear the thuds and scratches while he sleeps as I scramble and stumble in the dark for a way to write down my thoughts. And the next morning, he  listens to the crazy lady as she describes her new, wild ideas. He smiles and just tells me not to be too loud as I get overcome with excitement. 

My best friend has also been the source of most of my growth. I don't know what kind of woman I would be now if not for him. I was an independent, tactless, spoiled princess before I met him. The world revolves around me and I know what I wanted. Then one day, he told me that he won't put up with my foot-stamping tantrums anymore or my quiet, sulking vendetta. One day, he told me I was wrong and it was time for me to grow up and learn how to ask forgiveness. I did learn. It was hard, but I am glad he did that. Tough love. It yanked me down from my highfalutin' horse and into a throne befitting that of a queen. I learned to act with grace and dignity. It is because of him that I learned to ask for forgiveness instead of sulk and mope and blame him for everything, even my spilled milk. 

Because of him, I am learning new facets of me that I didn't even know before. He has inspired me not to just look at the present but to what I will become because of the present. He has encouraged me to make use of my every time and do what I love to do. I have become a more willing communicator and a sensitive lover. I didn't know I could be that.

My husband has become my confidante, my ally, my source of strength. We are different in many ways, but in raising our children, which is very important to me and to him too, we are both very active and try to be effective, loving parents to our three children. We try to reconcile any differences that we may have in parenting. Now, there seemed to be a standard way of disciplining, nurturing and caring for the kids. My husband is a great source of practical knowledge in bringing up kids--- from feeding and putting them to bed, to getting them to school or out on a trip to the woods.

We haven't always been poor. There was a time when we had opportunities to earn more than we could spend. And foolishly, we did spend. Then time came to make decisions as we were blessed with more than monetary blessings--- we had children and a mission work to do. We had to make vital choices. We unanimously decided to follow God and bring along with us our children. We put it over comfort, over a good pay, over financial security, and over career or personal advancement, because we believe that it is God who is the Giver of all our gifts, and He deserves our time and strength. He, ultimately, is the one who truly cares for us and our children. Giving our all to Him means that any problem we have is really His to solve, any responsibility He charges us is His to fulfill, and we are merely funnels of His grace and love. 

We gave up many things for far better things, like, eating more healthily, enjoying nature more abundantly, living more for eternity. We slowly gave up unhealthy cravings for meat, highly processed foods, and eating out. We ate more vegetables, more simple dishes, and avoided snacking (which we hadn't actually acquired in the first place). We limit our going to the mall, amusement places and instead often are out in the sunshine and fresh air every available time we have. We frolic in the snow or sand and sea like we have no care. We go to the forest and like the smell and the sound of it. We go to the sea, traveling rough country roads just to be one with it. We swim in six feet of snow in winter and work in the vegetable garden in the summer. We have come to cherish more important things like spending time together as a family, worshiping and serving God together through our life instead on having our eye single on material and artificially aesthetic things. The desire to have more disappeared when we started to enjoy the Giver and be satisfied with what He gives. 

My husband and I make decisions; and my respect for my husband grew as he worked through our decisions with tenacity, even though the way was tough at times. He worked for our family. He worked for us to be together. He worked for us to be safe and happy. He worked for our dreams. He worked for our mission. He worked as a man with a vision.

I don't know what lies ahead. Only I am sure that I will always be thankful to God for giving me a friend. I never knew I needed such a friend badly. My God knows, though. And He gave me one who sticks to me through good and bad times, one who is as stubborn as a bull and dedicated as a mother hen (okay, that may not be a right description for a man, but my husband is really nurturing). One who believes in me more than I do myself. And one whom I can be at home even though we may continue to wander wherever God leads. Foremost, I am sure that I love my husband and he hasn't been hesitant in letting me know, in many ways, how much he loves me.

Yes, I have the bestest of friend for life.

(I am currently still in the Philippines, while my husband is waiting for me and my daughter to come to Russia. It has taken longer than we have expected. Having a long-distance relationship has plenty of disadvantages and I wouldn't recommend it to any couple. As possible, stay together. And if not possible? Stay connected. Cultivate friendship. Remember your mate. As my husband at times has to remind me (when I get neglectful with communication), "You are married." Yes, I am, and I'm glad that I am.)

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