The quote comes from Gordon MacDonald, a once prominent pastor and current chancellor of Denver Seminary. He has also served as a counselor to former President Bill Clinton and editor-at-large with Leadership Journal (connected to Christianity Today). In other words, this is one smart dude.
He makes his point explicit by saying “a spouse and a best friend are likely to be two different people.”
I find his words jarring. Especially when I consider the Christian subculture of marriage.
How often have I heard of a fiancé exclaiming, “I’m so excited to marry my best friend”?
It begs the question, what does MacDonald believe a best friend should be and do? And how does that compare to what he believes a spouse should be and do?
MacDonald clarifies that a best friend should challenge him in “such things as the quality my marriage, the state of my soul, the quality of my speech, the style of my financial life, and the depth of my relationships.” He says relieving his wife of some (emphasis mine) of that responsibility has increased their intimacy and connection.
After hearing him out, I bristle less than I did at first. He would use the term “best friend” in a manner differently than me.
I do believe that my marriage can benefit from having a dude speak into my life. And I believe I have this with several men.
In the end, I’m still likely to call Jill my “best friend.” No one knows me better than she does. There’s no one I spend more time with. And many of the the things MacDonald calls for in a best friend, I see in Jill.
I just sent her a note asking her if I’m her bestie. I’ll let you know which box she checks.
1. What was your initial response to MacDonald’s quote? Did you bristle like I did or not?
2. Do you find the marriage/best friend mantra to be a part of your Christian subculture?
3. Do you think a spouse and best friend should be two different people? Do you find any benefit in MacDonald’s distinction?