Tomorrow Justin and I will have been married for five years. We have been in love since 2001, but we have been friends since 1999. There are a lot of things I could write about my husband, but I thought the best way to celebrate this milestone of marriage was return to moment we became friends. Our friendship is the foundation of our marriage. Justin isn't just my husband, he is my closest friend. That has made our marriage possible, without a solid friendship we never would have made it this far.
We met our first week at Western, in the fall of 1998, but we didn't become friends until the next year. Originally, we didn't really like one another. He was rude to Jill at an audition and I decided he was a jerk. I told him what I thought of him, and he crowned me "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" (In fact, he made it my batting song for our inter-mural softball team, and that is right, the Dr. D's Devils was a softball team full of theater dorks and we had theme songs to bat to) We existed in one another's peripheral vision. We didn't become friends until the summer of '99.
Justin spent a lot of time hanging out at the House of E, which for the summer consisted of Jessica, Adrian and I. He and Adrian were friends and he was just around. We would chat and laugh. I decided he wasn't too bad when he mocked me for dating someone who wasn't very smart, while we were shooting a gazillion jello shots before they went bad. The summer was fun, but we still weren't friends. We had just started to think the other was fun.
Our true friendship was born on a fall night at a party our mutual friend Brent threw for the end of dismal play entitled Friends With Benefits. At the time, Brent threw a lot of parties. His roommate Brandon, worked nights at Winco and I can't imagine how annoying it must have been to come home to 20 some odd theater dorks signing ABBA in your living room. Theater parties were focused on dorky dances, a marvelous costume or theme, and a lot of pure silliness. We did drink, but that wasn't point. The point was to dance and sing and generally be the goofy weirdos we knew ourselves to be.
When Jill and I arrived, I found myself accepting a drink from the Bryan, the bartender of the night, and out of nowhere Justin appeared to "fix" it. Bryan liked to pour STRONG drinks and Justin took it upon himself to not allow his female friends to suffer from alcohol poisoning. Somehow we found ourselves chatting in the hallway, discussing something that I am sure was truly deep and special. At some point a guy we didn't know, who was a friend of a friend, started hanging around us and being weirdly pushy. My roommate at the time, an interesting soul named Noah, came up and asked us for protection. Weird pushy guy kept hitting on her, in fact, weird pushy guy was hitting on every female at the party, and he was being aggressive with the dudes. There was non funny wresting occurring in the living room.
He appeared in the hall begging us for kisses. Being 21 and grossed out, we chose to go hide in Brent's room. The three had just sat down on the bed and settled in for a chat when weird pushy guy begin to knock on the door and beg to come in. The horrible truth hit all three of us at once, we had trapped ourselves in the room. Either this guy was coming in or he was sitting in the hall and yelling at us. For a brief moment we were paralyzed, and then Justin started bouncing the bed in a rhythmic manner. Without a thought or a discussion, Noah and I begin to moan dramatically and bounce the bed with him. The yelling in the hall ceased, but the dude didn't leave. He started calling for other people to come listen at the door. Between giggles and general disbelief that he wouldn't leave, we continued our dramatic play knowing that our friends would understand what was going on and take, the now abysmally drunk, guy away.. Finally, he lumbered off and we sat on the bed and started to chat.
Noah left as soon as the coast was clear, but Justin and I stayed and talked about all sorts of forgettable nonsense and matters of great importance. I don't remember exactly what we discussed, and there was honestly no romantic sentiment to it. We never touched and neither of us thought it was a monumental evening that would lead to marriage and a miracle child. Our chat ended when Brandon came home from work to discover weird guy trying to get out of the house through their tiny bathroom window, and decided that he didn't want to be out in the crowd. Soon after, Jill found me and we went home, but Justin and I were officially friends.
For the next two years, Justin, Jill and I spent many parties together. We sat in corners, or out on patios and were often joined by Brandon and Jason and Tami. He looked out for us and we looked out for him. He wasn't just my friend. He was Jill's too. When his roommate, who was female, went crazy and thought they were married he slept on the floor of Jill and mine's room. Jill bought him Ramen and he made us the "Big Salad", still the world's best salad. Throughout this time, we dated other people, and shared the uncool fact that the party wasn't really our thing, and a movie and a board game might be more fun. He was there the first time I went to see a counselor and finally talk about my Dad. I was there when he didn't get the role he wanted and the girl he had a complicated relationship with was being strange and mean. When I really needed to tell someone the things I couldn't tell everyone else, and I couldn't find Jill, he was there. He was my friend.
Ultimately, we moved passed friendship. A trip to Disneyland and Vegas, a tumultuous on again and off again affair.The frightening and exhilarating realization that something kept pulling us together,but that first night we laid the foundation for our ability to talk about the hard things. We were honest about who we were. It took a long time for us to get married, but five years ago I walked down the aisle knowing that I was marrying a man who loved me for who I was. Our love is strong because our friendship is strong. Two years of dealing with infertility could rip a couple apart. What saved us was our ability to talk about things honestly. My 21 year old self was unaware that that night she was beginning "the" relationship of her life, and there were many moments along the way that made me ask if we would make it, but we always do.
I am thankful to be married to my friend. Now I can look back and see all our ups and downs as training for marriage. I can't wait to see what the next fifty years bring us.