by LaRue Launius
When my husband, Jim, and I said, "I do" 37 years ago, I never envisioned myself camping on a budget or whizzing through the countryside on the back of a motorcycle. And Jim never imagined himself thousands of feet up in the air. But God has used these experiences, and countless others, to gradually knit our hearts together as best friends.
Our close friendship today is a result of open communication, adjustments ... and a willingness to try new adventures.
Our first adjustment occurred when I realized that I had married a man who thoroughly enjoyed camping. Although his family had camped a lot, mine had not. My idea of camping was a motor home, but Jim preferred a tent. I agreed to go on one condition: "Could we please have a campsite with electricity so I could use my hair dryer?" I asked Jim.
"Done," he said.
So we began our first adventure as a couple—a delightful weekend enjoying the crisp autumn air and seeing the rich hues of red, gold, and purple leaves.
Our next escapade involved my husband's longtime desire for a motorcycle. He found a deal that he just couldn't pass up—a red, 450 cc Honda. Jim assured me that he would drive the Honda and that I could ride along. He even added a "sissy bar" on the back of the seat so I wouldn't slide off! Since motorcycling was important to Jim, I decided to give it a try. I'm glad that I did.
Not long after Jim purchased the motorcycle, we used it for a trip with another couple to Florida, camping along the way. It was my job to read up on motorcycle trips and to find out what to pack and how to pack it. Was that an education! (Did you know that you can apply banana oil to the bike's windshield and to your goggles to keep them from fogging?)
Everything went as planned as we rode to Florida, until heavy rains greeted us in Panama City. The pounding drops caused me to keep my head bent over so the rain wouldn't sting my face. I didn't see how the guys were able to drive. Finally, we stopped at the first little motel we saw.
Since we were on a budget, we asked for the cheapest room available. Much to my surprise, instead of a room, we were led to a small silver trailer that was parked on the side of the motel! Although it was barely big enough for the four of us, it felt comfortable to hear the muted sound of rain falling on its metal roof.
Not only have I compromised for Jim's interests, but he has also made adjustments to please me. One example of this has to do with my lifelong love of flying. One Christmas Jim gave me a teddy bear, dressed as a pilot, with a certificate entitling me to flying lessons. And a couple of years later, as a birthday present, he and I flew over Little Rock with a local pilot. This was especially meaningful because Jim doesn't like either flying or heights. It just made my day to think that he would step through his fear for an interest that was only mine.
Recently, a friend asked if Jim and I had thought about developing a mutual hobby. With our retirement years fast approaching, she reminded us that we'd soon have more time to spend together. She concluded by saying, "I've found it is hard to find something both [husband and wife] enjoy."
Jim and I just looked at each other. When we discussed our friend's comment, we concluded that we already had many mutual hobbies. And not just hobbies ... we had a lifetime of shared memories.
Our many escapades have given us stories to share with our friends, family, and each other. Together, we've developed a sense of adventure that's provided a building block of trust. And we've learned to expect the unexpected when we're with each other, and to understand the value of compromise and selflessness. And today we are joined together by a bond of deep trust.
I'm glad that Jim and I have given each other the gift of friendship. It's great to be married to your best friend!
© 2013 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved. Used by permission of author.