The only girl I had ever considered marrying dumped me and fell in love with my closest male friend. It looked more and more like I would lose them both. Clearly, I was at a defining moment in my life; whatever I did now would have a lifelong effect on me.

At this point, God met me. He was there to comfort and direct me when I needed Him most.

I thought of the words of Jesus in Luke 6:27-28:

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”

Even if Sarah and Brandon were acting like my enemies, I still needed to love them. As far as I could tell, they didn’t actually want to be my enemies — it just felt like they were. With God helping me, I decided to love them in whatever way they’d let me.

When I put aside my own selfish feelings and looked more objectively at Brandon and Sarah, I could see they were “meant for each other.” I knew they were headed toward marriage, so I took it to God and asked for help to respond the right way.

John the Baptist said in John 3:29:

“The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice.”

Brandon was going to get his lover, the deep desire of his heart. And God wanted me to rejoice with him.

I did not have a lover and probably never would, but I needed to actually genuinely be happy with him.

Brandon asked Sarah to marry him, and she said yes. And then he asked me to be the best man at their wedding.

He knew he would not have met her if it hadn’t been for me, and he still considered me his best friend.

I gladly said yes to being his best man. God had answered my prayer and changed my heart so that I was honestly rejoicing with him.

When Sarah walked down the aisle, Brandon was crying tears of joy. What he had wanted all his life was finally true: Sarah was the fulfillment of the hopes and dreams he had prayed and worked hard for his whole life. I was also crying out of happiness for Brandon and for knowing my friendship with him would be forever changed.

No, this is not the end of the story! My next post will be the final chapter of Brandon and Sarah’s story . . .

Have you ever been the best man in someone’s wedding? Is it hard for you to rejoice in others’ happiness, particularly as it pertains to marriage?

* Photo courtesy alexcoitus, Creative Commons.

  • I have been one the best men (#3 out of 5; dad was #2) at my brother’s wedding (2nd marriage). I couldn’t say I was rejoicing during this occasion as my brother just wanted to ungraciously micromanage everyone throughout the day. I was more joyous for my new sister-in-law as she is ten times better than my former sister-in-law. I was grateful for her that she finally found someone to spend the rest of her life with as well even if was my estranged brother. As I start to write this post, maybe I am harboring some form of subconscious jealousy for my brother. As for other guy friends, I am thrilled that they manage to find that special someone to share the rest of their lives with. However, the flip side I’ve experienced is that once my guy friends are married, with very few exceptions, they are no longer available to socialize with the rest of the guys. I know in my mind they are not deliberately rejecting me per se, but they’ve had to reevaluate their priorities – God and family first. Although the results can’t help make me feel a bit isolated. There was always a plethora of guy friends prior to them getting married. Those days have surely dwindled. I want them to be happy. I REALLY DO. I just don’t want to feel alone either. :’(

    • I do feel that men giving up on their male friends to devote almost all their time to their GFs and wives is a societal problem. A lot of men have the mistaken belief that their significant others are their only source of love and happiness and that they should abandon their male friends. Friendship these days is just not valued enough these days. It’s really sad and makes it harder for us SSA guys to find fulfillment.

    • Eddie, I understand. Brandon is not the only friend I “lost” to marriage. Actually, after the honeymoon period of their marriage was over, several guys have returned as friends to me. Eventually they saw that they need male friends too. Hopefully that will happen to you. Also, keep looking for new guys in need of a friend, be a friend to them, and maybe some will want you as a friend!

      • Yes and that is what I do have to a degree now. Since graduation is on the horizon and schooling is at my back I can now focus more on other aspects of my life like my social life with guy friends. I must admit that maybe the ending “emoticon” was a bit over the top. I’m not exactly “Niagara Falls” here, but I do have some moments.

        • Eddie,
          When you said “ending emoticon”, did you mean the ending of my post where I cried tears of joy with Brandon? I’m sure it seems over the top, but I was trying to express the emotional intensity of what I felt at the time after years invested in that friendship with all the joys and disappointments. I am a very emotional person inside even though I often try to act appropriately reserved in public.
          Or, did you mean the “ending emoticon” was the exclamation point at the end of my last comment to you? I meant no harm or put down, I just wanted you to feel hope that you will find a friend even if it feels like you might not.

          • Oh no Marshall! Not “your” ending emoticon, but MY ending emoticon, this one: :'(. I thought I was a bit exaggerated in expressing my emotional state.
            Sorry for the miscommunication there. I would never countermand or contradict another person’s emotional perception or feeling at a given time whether that’d be past or present. You feel what you feel when you feel it. Can’t argue with that.

          • Sorry I misunderstood! Emotions are so hard to express in writing and misunderstanding is always a risk. I like to ask questions to clarify.

          • No problem. Emotions are hard to express in writing. There is a communication theory called media richness theory (MRT) and it demonstrates that certain mediums of communication are relatively more or less effective than others. Conveying thoughts, expressions, opinions, nonverbal cues is possible in some cases but not in all cases. As much as I love YOB it does have its faults as a written format to communicate. To mitigate this we strive to keep a civil tongue in our communication using online etiquette.

  • This article relates to me heavily. In college, I was discipled by the first male I ever trusted. He loved me well for a short period of time. Then he met Allie… Him and her were inseparable as their relationship developed. Eventually, four months passed without him so much as opening a Bible with me or even casually speaking to me even though we lived in the same house. For him, it was all about her. I found a new discipler and we went our separate ways when he graduated. Funny, her friends now say the same thing about their relationship with her. I was truly taken by surprise when he asked me to be a groomsman in his wedding. I had a lot of emotions about it, but accepted. He, too, cried tears of joy seeing her walk down the isle. My heart hurt through the entire weekend. He was going to get what he always wanted; someone to wake up next to, someone to go home to, someone to hold. I was still alone. Weddings are particularly difficult for me. I have been in quite a few at the young age of 22, and I am thankful for being a part of so many people’s lives that they would ask me. I am in another next weekend. But it doesn’t take away the sting of loneliness. It’s hard to watch people ride off into the sunset, hand in hand, then go to bed alone that night. Marriages are hard and singleness is a gift from God where appropriate. These are all truths I know, truths that we all know. Still yet, hard days exist.

    • You’re not alone, Michael. How touching that so many count you worthy to be included in their special days and ceremonies. Take joy in this. But know that you are not alone in your sting of loneliness. I feel it too, brother. Glad you’re here. Thanks for sharing such a raw piece of your heart.

    • Michael, I understand. I have felt that pain before, too. Mike and Tom had some really helpful things to say. Definitely look to God to meet your needs. He is a far better friend than any man could ever be!
      Also, think of each potential friend as someone to whom you can be a blessing. Don’t think so much of what you want to get from them. It makes me happier to make my friends happy. Making demands never makes me happy!

  • What a story. Only God could write such a tale! I’m inspired by your ability to share in your friends’ happiness, Marshall. To be a friend of the bridegroom, as you say time and time again. You are a good man, Marshall.

    • Thanks so much Tom! You really “get” me like only a few others have.
      Yes, God wrote this story and it changed everything! It is now my normal experience to be happy when God blesses my friends with marriage. It is also normal for me to be happier being single than many people I know are being married!
      I may overuse the phrase “friend of the bridegroom “, but that is because it has such deep meaning for me!

  • I’ve never been a best man, not do I ever expect to be (I just don’t think I am or will ever be that close to someone). I normally find weddings a joyous time, where people are genuinely happy for the couple. This is even for weddings I’ve been to where I don’t know the couple (I sometimes do casual work at weddings). For all the genuine joyful times (and it is real), there’s always a tiny sliver of me that knows I’ll never get that and after all the celebrations of the day, I have to deal with the feelings that it produces.

  • Marshall

    Jesus told us to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. I seek to do that with great joy, because He is better than everything we give up! Also I want to love others in an unselfish way as Jesus taught. I currently do my best to live out that kind of love with 15 other friends on a farm near the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. I love talking about what really matters, and seeing a friend's heart turn from pain to joy, from fear to peace, and from despair to hope! My writing tends to focus on the topic of friendships with other guys. I have never married and am currently the oldest author on YOB.

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