In high school I had 7 close friends. 3 girls and four boys. We did everything together, we were practically inseparable. We went on trips together, we went to concerts together, and we spent boring Friday nights in my basement doing nothing together. I seriously couldn’t imagine my life without these seven people. But naturally, in those years boys and girls tend to find each other attractive. At first I never found any of those boys particularly good looking, but as I spent more time with them, just talking with each other and building a trusting friendship I began to find them more attractive. From time to time one of the boys and one of the girls would like each other, but even when that ended we looked at it as if it was just a phase and moved on.
These three boys left for LDS missions last summer and it has literally been such a transition in my life without them here. One of the girls and I were talking and she said, “You know, I have this wish that when the boys get back we will all end up marrying each other and we can stay friends for forever. I don’t want to ever stop being friends with them, and I only want us eight to stay friends and that won’t work if they marry other girls.” I agreed wholeheartedly and shared the same wish. Until this last week.
As we talked about infidelity this last week in class reality hit hard. The root of most affairs is when one spouse seeks a friendship with someone-someone new and more than not, someone from their past. They have something in common with that person, they form an emotional bond with that person, they can talk freely to that person and that person doesn’t annoy them in the ways that their spouse does.
But remember what I said before about finding the boys attractive after we formed a friendship, a bond? I can see this happening if we were to stay friends with those boys, if we were to marry those boys and stay friends forever. Think about all of those unresolved feelings between each other. If I was married to John, but he had dated Sally in high school, how easy would it be for him to turn to Sally when things got hard between us?
This perfect little fantasy of all of us building houses on the same street, raising our kids together and having those weekly barbecues where we talked about the week or even old times was suddenly smashed into a million pieces as I realized that in all reality that would be a terrible idea. I suddenly caught glimpses of all the potential problems in the home and the relationship between husband and wife and that idea was no longer appealing.
As much as the thought of not being forever friends breaks my heart, the thought of being a forever family trumps that small letdown. I value my future family more than I value my friends. It’s sad to think about because for the last six years, those friends have been my second family. But an eternal and celestial family is so much more appealing. I would never let a friend, no matter how good of a friend they were, get in the way of my eternal happiness with my husband and posterity. I value the quality of my future marriage so much more than those four boys and three girls I shared many memories with, I will always love my friends because they gave me moments of happiness when I didn’t think it was possible, but in the long run, my real family will provide so much more joy than my friends ever could have.
So if that friend were to say again, “I wish we could marry the boys and be friends for the rest of our lives.” I will simply say back, kindly yet firmly, “I don’t want that because think of how much you will resent the relationship John and Sally had in high school, or think about if you and John are fighting and he goes to Sally for comfort. Does it seem so appealing now? That possibility that he might leave you for that girl you thought was your friend? I value my family more than I value being forever friends.”
The truth hurts. But so does a broken marriage.