“You are the best thing that ever happened to me”

by Dating Goddess on October 3, 2009

At my 25-year-old friend’s wedding a few weeks ago, I marveled at not only how elated the couple looked, but also how the parents beamed. As a friend of the groom’s family, I was privy to how they really felt about their new daughter-in-law.

The couple met four years ago. The groom had been adrift, unsuccessful in college and spending the winter working at a ski slope and enjoying his ski bum lifestyle. That changed when they became a couple. She helped him articulate his dreams, set goals, and reenroll in community college, along with her. They got an apartment together and both got jobs. He raised his previously flunking grades to A’s, which allowed them to transfer to a university.

When they got engaged, his mother said to me, “She is the best thing that ever happened to him.”

I thought this when I watched the merry couple at the wedding. It reminded me of my now ex-brother-in-law telling me he’d scolded my ex (his brother) when told he’d left me. My brother-in-law (bless his heart) chastised my ex, telling him: “She’s the best thing that ever happened to you. You’d be an idiot to leave her.”

I realized my ex never told me I was the best thing that ever happened to him. I don’t think he believed that. In fact, I doubt now he’d consider me or our marriage in the top 20. It made me ponder how our relationship might have been different if we regularly said that to each other, assuming we believed it. I had bouts of believing he was the best thing to ever happen to me, but to be honest, it was rare.

At the post-wedding brunch, I pulled the newlyweds aside separately. I said, “Would you like one idea that will help you have a long, loving and successful marriage? Tell the other every day, ‘You are the best thing that ever happened to me.’ Not just ‘I love you’ — that is important — but also tell him/her how important s/he is to you. Every day.” They both agreed.

In dating, it’s hard to know if the person you’re getting to know will be the best thing that every happened to you or not. But if you find signs that he’s not even in the ball park of someone you think could make a major, positive influence on your life, then best to release him. Most long-term happily committed couples would put meeting and/or marrying their mates as one of the best things that ever happened to them, along with the birth of their children.

But some people think sharing something this important would put you in the lower power position, just like the person who utters “I love you” first. Others say “I love you” as cavalierly as “Pass the salt.” Both “I love you” and “You are the best thing that ever happened to me” are best saved for after you are in an exclusive, and ideally committed, relationship. Before then you can come off as needy saying either.

Hearing “You are the best thing that ever happened to me” — when backed up by congruent actions, of course — solidify bonds. I believe this can be as significant — or perhaps more so — than hearing “I love you,” which has a lot of ambiguity around it these days.

Have you had someone tell you, “You are the best thing that ever happened to me”? If so, how did you feel hearing this?

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Mitsy October 3, 2009 at 8:30 pm

Interesting topic. My ex-boyfriend (the alcoholic) told me that I was the best thing to ever happen to him and I likely was besides his daughter who adored him until he got verbally abusive. His parents and some of his friends ALSO knew that I was a decent, hard-working, non-drinking woman who was stable and very good for him. However, he also made comments that he “didn’t deserve someone” like me. In the end, he was right because he continued to drink and his roller coaster mood swings and bad behavior was beyond what any decent, loving woman could take.

So, in the end, I think it’s more than just saying the words..talk is cheap. Actions speak louder. If the couple talked about only say those words but don’t actually mean them, then they aren’t anymore likely to last than anyone else. I hope they do have a long happy life, but I’m beginning to question the staying power for men in relationships. I think marriage takes a lot of work and I think a lot of men aren’t up to the job–some aren’t even up to the job of dating!

Devon October 4, 2009 at 6:48 am

I am in a relationship where that’s exactly what I feel about the man in my life- he is the best thing to happen to me. Yet I haven’t said it to him. I don’t want to sound desperate, or for him to feel pressure. He also doesn’t take compliments all that well. I took the chance of dating someone who isn’t my usual “type” and it has really paid off.

Karen October 4, 2009 at 10:16 am

Like Mitsy, my ex also used to say that I was the best thing that had ever happened to him. LOL, no lie!

My ex was a crisis-a-minute druggy, alcoholic, overspending, irresponsible habitual liar. Also very charming, prone to emotional promises to reform, full of effusive praise for me, and sporadically very successful in life. Also, eventually abusive.

He was right! He needed someone (like me) to take care of him and straighten things out, dry him out, handle the money, take care of the repairs, cover for him, and drive him to work after he lost his license, etc etc etc. I finally got sick of being the caretaker and stopped enabling. He found someone else, thank goodness, so I kicked him out for good. Now she’s stuck taking care of his messes.

Yup, words are cheap. I agree that if it was sincere, that would be the attitude to take for a successful marriage. But there has to be something behind the words.

Anna October 5, 2009 at 8:59 am

My sister’s mother-in-law said that to me about her son and my sister. He was a confirmed batchelor at 28 when they met and they will be 25 years happily married soon. I have often looked at them and thought, how does he stand being bossed around all the time? But he idolizes my sister, she wears the trousers in the family and he obeys along with their three teenage sons. He says it often himself, she IS the best thing that ever happened to him and she runs a lovely home, three great kids and happiness. They both bring in a good income so equal on that score. He is delighted that she makes all the decisions. Only in my eyes he is very subservient, I would never have been attracted to him or a guy like him, because of that. But it works for them!!

Gatti October 10, 2009 at 8:24 am

I get to hear things like this all the time and so does he. It’s just so important to remind each other how important you are. The wedding is a week from Friday!

Mark October 10, 2009 at 10:30 am

Eh, good luck with maintaining the praise. It’s hard, because we gravitate towards becoming complacent. Also, the more often it’s said, the less impact it will have. And you might get couples who simply say and think they’ve done their part. It’s easy to say something.

The best way to convey that sentiment is through actions. Let your actions show that the person is at the center of your life and it will mean more than words ever can.

Richard October 16, 2009 at 10:32 am

Have you had someone tell you, “You are the best thing that ever happened to me”? If so, how did you feel hearing this?

I’m not sure that is a good thing. Your story seems to be the classical Girl falls in love with Guy because she wants to make him better. It is great when it works out, but there are a lot of guys who are not ready to give up the ski bum lifestyle, or does she become insecure because he no longer needs to be rescued (she is no longer “needed”)?

There is also the “you are the best thing that ever happened to me” where it means: You make life so much more enjoyable that I can’t imagine living without you.

Ameilia May 28, 2012 at 4:43 am

My boyfriend said this to me last night for the first time and its the first time anyone has ever said it to me, actually. I always thought that “I love you” was the nicest and most meaningful thing anyone could ever say to you, and even better when you said it back and MEANT it. We havent said we love each other yet, but to be honest with you I know its there waiting to be said.

I think the thing with “You are the best thing that’s ever happened to me” is that its a ‘pure’ statement, its not a question its a belief and something that comes from a very real and honest place. “I love you”….even though you’re not supposed to expect a response proclaiming love for you too…you do, you do want a response and that’s completely different to “the best thing that ever happened…” which I think is far more special and rare, as a lot people have told me they loved me and visa verse…most of the time it wasn’t love anyway.

Michelle August 1, 2013 at 7:33 am

I have been with my hubby for almost 3 years ago and a few weeks ago I wrote him a long text telling him how much I love him and especially now that I am expecting his baby boy :) I got a very unexpected response… he texted back saying how I have changed his world around and that I am the best thing that has ever happened to him and he loved me and the baby very much!! :) it made my day so much better and from that day on he has proved it to be true!! We are so happy together and what’s funny is that when we first hooked up, we both thought it would just be a 1-night stand but ever since that night we spent together, we have been inseparable. it’s like we were meant to be. we have had our ups and downs and have tried to go our separate ways about 3 times in the past but within minutes we were back in each others arms with our love stronger than ever. We cant get away from each other. our love ties us together.

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