Joe and I have been married almost five years, but we've been best friends for nine. That's a big part of what a husband means to me. Your husband is supposed to be your best friend.
Being best friends means a lot more than just having the same sense of humor, enjoying each other's company, or always having something to talk about. A best friend is someone you go to for comfort, support, encouragement, and advice. A best friend defends you, risks their life for you, and takes care of you at your weakest moments. They know your secrets, dreams, and struggles and challenge you to be a better person.
This is what your husband should be for you, and what you should be for him.
Now that I'm a wife and mother, I can clearly see the importance of Joe's influence on our family. Without him as my teammate, finding the patience, energy, and strength to parent our children on my own would be almost impossible. His love and friendship empower me, and in turn my love and friendship enable his work outside the home. This mutual support is what makes our family life flourish, but I wasn’t raised in this kind of home environment.
My parents divorced when I was four years old, so the majority of my childhood was spent living without a father in the home. My mother raised my brother and me on her own while working a full time job. This means that we were raised by babysitters while my mom struggled to pay the bills. She was tired, stressed, and needed a partner.
There were several men who came in and out of our lives trying to pose as father figures to my brother and me, but the relationships never lasted. Because my own father was absent, my view of fathers, husbands, and men in general became rather skewed. Although I longed for a father, I had no idea what purpose a father or a husband was supposed to serve.
This all came to the surface when Joe and I were sitting in a pre-marital counseling session. Our pastor asked a simple question, "What do you think Joe's role as a husband should be in your marriage?"
I had no clue. I had never thought about that. I was about to get married and I still wasn’t even sure what the role of a husband should look like.
What I did know was that without a husband, my mother was left burdened, lonely, stressed, and exhausted. She tried her best to play both roles, but she didn't have a best friend to encourage, comfort, and support her. Try as she might, she couldn’t be both mother and father to us. I also knew that throughout my childhood I struggled with low self-esteem, lack of self-confidence, and a general mistrust of men.
As I thought more about the question, it became clear to me that my mother’s exhaustion and loneliness and my struggle with self-worth and confidence helped reveal the part "he" was supposed to play in our lives. Our home needed a leader.
My mother needed someone to provide unconditional love and support. She needed a best friend to work alongside her and help her raise her children. I needed a father to affirm my self worth, to give me confidence in my teen years, and to teach me how to relate to men in a healthy way.
A few years into our marriage, we became parents. With two toddlers in the house, we’re very busy, and by watching Joe father our children, my understanding of what a husband and a father means grows clearer each day. What my mother missed in a husband, and what I missed in a father, we have in Joe.
We both love our children and are working toward the same goals: to raise children who love God and others, value themselves, and pursue the calling God has for them. But our roles are much different. The way Joe interacts with our children does not come naturally to me, and his influence is very different than mine. As just one example, our children look to us both for security, but more often than not, I’m the comforter, and Joe is the protector. They also look to him as a source for entertainment (he’s got sweet dance moves).
Joe and I both contribute something unique to this family. Were one of us absent, each of our children would be missing crucial things that only a mom or a dad can provide. They’d be missing those same things I longed for as a child.
Although I wasn’t able to answer the question before I was married, I’m finally learning what a husband and father means to me. Joe means leadership, protection, and provision for our family; he means our children will reap the benefits of having and knowing their father; and, above all, he means having a best friend I can trust and rely on as we guide our family toward God’s ultimate plan and purpose.Media: