Marrying My Friend & Peak Experiences

Look at my handsome Hubs - you'd almost think he was there voluntarily. :)
Look at my handsome Hubs – you’d almost think he was there voluntarily. 🙂

Last weekend, I got to add “marrying my best friend” to my life’s list of peak experiences. Okay, well, technically I married my best friend almost eight years ago. That was when I slipped something in Hubs’ drink and hauled him under the chuppah on a Labor Day weekend. (When he said “I do,” he thought the question was “Do you think the Braves have a shot at the World Series this year?” What a sucker. He should have known the Braves would choke in the first week of the post-season. It’s kind of their thing.) Fortunately for Hubs, I haven’t been the worst wife in the world and we are going strong. Our shared belief that the Braves will eventually pull out another World Series title keeps us together.

We were both honored to be part of the festivities last Saturday, as I got to marry another best friend to his beautiful bride. I’ve never officiated a wedding before, and I was pretty darn nervous. Fortunately, the groomsmen (Hubs included) had a little whiskey and some encouraging words, and I managed to join two people in Holy matrimony without falling on my face or getting a heeled shoe entirely stuck in the mud. [Note, if you’re going to be in a wedding on a muddy Georgia farm in April, go for the flats]. The groom, who I’ve known for more than thirty years, and the bride, who is one of the coolest people I know, were super patient as we created the ceremony together and rolled their eyes at me when I said “You realize I’m Jewish, right?” about twelve times during the process. When their day came, we laughed, we cried, and it came off beautifully.

Definitely a peak experience.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow coined the term “Peak Experiences,” with a little inspiration from my psychology hero Alfred Adler. Maslow described them as moments in our lives when we feel intense love, joy, or even rapture. I think of them as the moments that help define who we are – the things that stand out in memory, no matter how big or trivial they are. Peak experiences are the things we will think about on our death bed when we are running back over our lives.

Dublin 2008
Dublin 2008

Some of my peak experiences include (obviously) the birth of both my children, marriage to Hubs, the death of both my parents. There are more, though. There’s standing on the Angel’s Landing peak at Zion National Park, and visiting the death camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Catching salamanders in the creek down the street from the house I grew up in. The crazy thing with that Welsh actor I’ll tell you about some other time (or not). Divorce from my first husband, which made me sadder than I can say. That time the nanny disappeared for 40 minutes with my youngest when he was a baby: longest 40 minutes of my life. First love. First heartbreak. Driving down a long Texas road with the windows down and the radio blaring. My conversion to Judaism in the mikvah. The first time I gave a talk to a room full of people. Sitting with an Irish band drinking Guinness and singing “American Pie” in Dublin… I’m sure there are many more, but these are what hit me right away.

What about you? What are some of your peak experiences? Share your favorites!


I’m M.J. (Manda) Pullen, an author and mom in the Atlanta, Georgia area. I blog about writing, publishing, motherhood, psychology and whatever else strikes me in the moment. Today is a peak experience!

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My current roster of books includes The Marriage Pact series, a trilogy of Contemporary Romance/Women’s Fiction novels. You can find them for all eBook formats and in paperback here.

MJ Pullen

M.J. Pullen is a Distracted Writer and the mom of two boys in Roswell, Georgia, where she is absolutely late for something important right now. Her books include quirky romantic comedies and playful women's fiction -- her latest, SUGAR STREET released on 8/7/18. Join her Distracted Readers newsletter list for updates, free content, giveaways and more.

3 thoughts on “Marrying My Friend & Peak Experiences”

  1. RyanRyan

    Great post! Got me thinking of some of my own peak experiences. At least one of them was shared with MJ — hiking the Red Screes in the Lake District. Others: driving Big Sur for the first time; my first and last speeches as a member of my collegiate debating society; the day I first saw my writing in print; a couple of days where you meet someone for the first time and just know they’ll be a part of your life. Of course there are downers, too. It’s a nice exercise to remember where you’ve been, and how unexpectedly life can make an impression. Be ready for magic!

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