Our relationship has been my hardest task in life thus far. My greatest victory. The most rewarding fruits of my labor. It has challenged my views and perspectives. It has made me question my intentions at times, a harsh reality that pride should not be a factor. It has made me harder and softer, all at once. And yet, the work, the efforts, the responsibility of the choices we make to nurture the relationship, is never done. It’s not something you can say, “well my work here is complete.” No. It’s constantly evolving, propelling you to shift and bend in ways you never anticipated. Without this foundation of knowledge, a relationship is bound to crumble.
2017 was the most draining, discouraging year…I won’t say of my existence, because honestly 2019 is giving 2017 a run for its money, for different reasons. But 2017 was BY FAR the most difficult time in our relationship. It’s funny, because I look back and can’t honestly tell you why. It can’t be pinpointed. I suppose it was a combination of things. Life has this disheartening way of trying to destroy your relationship, especially when rough times are abound. It throws obstacles that you are not mentally prepared for, leaving you strained. A chain of reactions, of situations that led to us spiraling. Legal matters. Finances. Lack of attention. Lack of time…lack of connection. We both could not seem to find middle ground. He seemed to have checked out of the relationship, while I felt I carried the burdens of the world on my back. Honestly, I was drowning. Suffocating, gasping for air. And it felt as if he just watched from the surface, not offering a hand. Complete disinterest. THAT was enough to destroy the very core of my heart. I began to lose trust. He began to lose patience. The more we bumped heads, the further away he felt. And I began to resent him…I even began to resent myself. Constantly questioning if he was no longer interested in this relationship. Questioning myself if I was the one to blame. Then getting furious for him for making me feel inadequate. We were both reaching our limits. The arguments became heavier, more aggressive. More hurtful words exchanged between the both of us. Nights that ended up with him leaving, slamming doors in frustration as I stayed behind, crying and feeling defeated. Days that pushed me to run away. Days that I left the house with no warning leaving much to his imagination, unfavorably. Counseling was suggested but separation seemed inevitable. He felt I was not understanding of his circumstances, I was selfish and spoiled. I felt he was inattentive, constantly disregarding me, leaving me as last priority. It felt as if the arguments were erupting every single day. I could name a river after myself, made with my tears alone. As 2017 approached an end, we were both like wounded soldiers with PTSD. Ready for war at any given moment, constantly on the defense when feeling too vulnerable. Things we have said to each other that I wish we could take back. But at the end of it, somehow we both decided separation was not an option. It seemed too easy. Our story was not supposed to end just yet. This was merely a chapter. This time in our lives was temporary. We had the power to change our course. Once we realized that simple fact, we both began to forgive and heal by the grace of God.
I wish I could tell you how the relationship survived. Unfortunately, I don’t have a guidebook prepared for you all. What I can say is this, it will always come down to choices. The choice to look internally and put pride aside. The choice to listen more, talk less. The choice to pick your words; choose them wisely. The choice to say absolutely nothing at all, especially when emotions are high. The choice to remember that we are all human and incapable of being perfect. But most importantly, the choice to remember that you were not brought into this person’s life to change them. Ideally, you are to grow with them, but never change them. To become better versions of each other. And to love each other throughout the growing pains. It’s not easy. It was not designed to be easy. And when something is broken, you do not throw it away without the attempt of repair. You don’t throw it away when it’s worth it. Communication is always shaky. This will probably never change between us because we are such opposites. But respect, understanding, and compromise is always our groundwork. Love always surfaces.