To have a best friend of the opposite gender is a different kind of blessing. From emotional care to brutal honesty, such a context is rich soil for self-growth to abound at rates unseen elsewhere. Just the differences in how guys and girls think are enough to round off the other’s perspective.
Can such a treasure be kept on the grounds of friendship? My qualitative data says no. Guys and girls can’t remain just friends because, as Dave Matthews put it, “at one point or another, they will fall for each other. Maybe temporarily, maybe at the wrong time, maybe too late, or maybe forever.”
It seems inevitable that a point will be reached—in learning about oneself and what it means to love another—that at least one member of the friendship will realize their relationship with the other is not only what they would like a marriage to be but exactly what they need.
So a romantic element is now between them. To the guy who has fallen in love with his girl-space-friend, I’ll dare to say you’re right: She is the kind of girl you’re looking for. This is the kind of relationship you want to cultivate into marriage.
“It seems to me that the best relationships, the ones that last, are frequently the ones that are rooted in friendship. You know, one day you look at the person and you see something more than you did the night before. Like a switch has been flicked somewhere. And the person who was just a friend is suddenly the only person you can ever imagine yourself with.”-Dana Scully, The X-Files
You don’t have to pursue a friendship or a romance. You can have both, you should have both. Your romantic partner should be your best friend because the deepest, longest, most lasting romantic relationships are the ones that are rooted in friendship.
This is illustrated in A Midsummer Night’s Dream through the theme of “ideal friendship.” Shakespeare holds that the mind is higher than the body, making the highest form of love the connection of souls through friendship because it is mental rather than physical. Love is friendship caught on fire.
From this bud, romance can bloom as you grow closer with someone who speaks highly of you, someone who is unlike any other. You can talk with them for hours and share things you would shy away from elsewhere.
Someone you can laugh with— the earnest, healing kind of laughs that make your cheeks sore and belly ache. Someone you can cry with— tears that wash your vision and allow you to see life a little clearer. Someone who sticks by your side and makes passion, love, and madness combine and course through you. A love that will never dilute, even when the waters get deep and dark.
“Perhaps… perhaps… love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath.”-L. M. Montgomery
If not in our own lives, we’ve seen this concept play out countless times in media: Anne and Gilbert, Ron and Hermione, Fitzsimmons (my OTP), Jim and Pam, Peter Parker and MJ, Anastasia and Dimitri, Augustus and Hazel.
In the context of friendship, they learned how to work together. They shared laughs, had arguments, and overcame impossible missions together. They saw each other at their best and at their worst— and then realized that marriage just added permanency to the problem-solving they were already proficient at.
The best relationship is where you talk like best friends, play like children, argue like husband and wife, and protect each other like brother and sister. It’s all about the one who calms the storm. It’s your dancing partner, adventure buddy, stare at the stars and talk about life, and best friend in one.
If you and your girl-space-friend are both single, able to begin a relationship (due to the alignment of timing, personal development, and community approval), and mutually interested in the other, romance could be the next adventure you embark on together.
Then—years down the road, decades into marriage, in laughter and tears—you should be able to look at her and know—at the core of this person you are privileged to call your spouse—you have a best friend you trust with your life.