This blog post is so dear to my heart and very personal. Normally, I don’t write about love and romantic relationships, but I figured it’s ok to be a little vulnerable sometimes. If you’re interested in reading what I’ve learned about love from my relationship with my fiancé Michael, keep on reading.
A Little Bit of Backstory
Michael and I have been together a little over a year and a half. By the time we are married in June, it will be two years. We met online, and by that time, I had nearly given up on online dating. I had tried so many times before. And I told myself this was going to be the last time. If I didn’t meet anyone worthwhile, I wasn’t going to try it again.
I had never had a serious boyfriend before him, but had had a serious of almost relationships, which were very emotionally draining. More than anything, I’ve always wanted a large family, and when you’re 26 and still single, you start beginning to wonder if the whole soulmates thing is just a lie people tell.
Love is certainly confusing and I won’t pretend like I’m an expert. But here are a few things I’ve learned along the way, and I’m sure there will be plenty more in the future.
Get out of your comfort zone.
When I first saw Michael in person, I thought, I hope that’s him. Our first date was at a minor league baseball game, which I never would have picked. I am not a sports fanatic, but I knew dating someone would mean getting out of my comfort zone a little bit.
Michael was so friendly right off the bat and quickly put me at ease. There were no awkward silences. I’m naturally introverted, so meeting someone new always puts me on edge. That on top of going to a place I wasn’t familiar with made me more nervous. But everything went smoothly. No red flags came up.
Michael comes from a relatively large family, while mine is small. Being his fiancé means I have met a lot of new people since we started dating. They’ve all been so wonderful, it really has been a joy to know that our future children will have so many relatives. But I still get nervous being around people I don’t know well, but the more I do it, the more comfortable I become.
Know your worth.
Right away, Michael told me how beautiful he thought I was on our very first date. It’s amazing how many insecurities pop up when you’re on a date with someone new.
My inner critic was having a field day on our first date.
Since then, Michael is always saying how much he loves me and how beautiful I am. But I think every woman has a hard time believing she is beautiful and worthy of love. In a relationship, it can be so easy to seek validation from your partner, but this can place unnecessary strain on the relationship. The key is being an independent, confident individual on your own, so that neither of you needs the other person. You are two whole people combining your lives into one, not two halves making one thing.
Take your time and do your own thing.
Ever since we got engaged last June, people have been asking us about wedding plans, baby plans, etc., and have given us advice without us asking for it. The world wants you to speed up your life. Resist the urge to compete. Your life is not a competition. It’s precious, and should be treated as such. Of course, family and friends will give you advice, but some things you need to learn on your own to figure out what works best for you and your partner.
You may disagree on some things, and that’s ok.
When it comes to politics, Michael and I have different views. I don’t identify with either party, but my views lean towards the left, while his are more conservative. As an interracial couple, we have different backgrounds, so when it comes to politics, we have different viewpoints. From the beginning of our relationship, although we often had heated political debates, we agreed we would never let our political views get in the way of our relationship.
Another way in which we are different is he is more athletic, and I am more creative. He loves running and watching sports, while it takes a lot for me to convince myself to exercise. The only time I ever really watch a game is when the Super Bowl rolls around.
At the beginning of our relationship, I would get annoyed that he would watch so many games on TV, but then I learned to just do my own thing. He knows to put away sports when we are watching a movie together or going out to eat. It took some time for him to understand that watching a game on his phone while we were out was annoying to me. Which leads me to my next point.
Choose your battles wisely.
Michael and I have not had many serious arguments. We’ve had deep discussions and different opinions on things, but never have either of us yelled at the other or even raised our voices. We just don’t fight like that. I may tell him I don’t like it when he does something and he’ll apologize quickly. I’m the same way. If something is wrong, I want to fix it write away and say sorry. But some things are just not worth arguing over.
TV Relationships are not Real Relationships
You may have seen how movies and tv shows portray married couples as unhappy and arguing all the time, where the wife is a nagger, and the husband is always checked out. This portrayal of marriage is not healthy, and you shouldn’t think that because it’s on TV that it’s normal.
Or even love stories where the man sees a woman and instantly falls in love with her and does everything he can to get her. Although, it’s romantic, it may not necessarily be realistic.
When I was single, I used to daydream about what my future husband would be like. I thought he would be completely perfect and have zero issues. Ladies, yes, there are amazing guys out there! But are they all perfect Prince Charming? No.
Once you find that special someone, both of you will know it. Maybe not right away. But you will know, and problems or issues that might seem like a big deal (like you always wanted an athletic guy but your special someone is an artist) won’t be as big of a deal to you anymore.
Now, please understand I am not OKing red flags. If there are serious issues like alcoholism, drug abuse, physical abuse, etc., those things are not OK, and should not be shoved under the rug. You can’t have a healthy relationship with someone who is abusive or abuses themselves. It’s just not possible. If you are in any of these situations, please get help for your loved one.
You will have to decide what is a deal breaker for you and what is not.
Some things really are worth ending the relationship and some things aren’t. When Michael and I went through premarital counseling, one lesson was on expectations. If you’re in a serious relationship with someone, really talk about your expectations of marriage.
Does he expect you to be a stay-at-home mother once you have children? Do you expect him to make more money than you? What about church? Do you expect to go every Sunday and raise your children as a certain denomination? Things like that are big ticket items, and it’s important to talk about them and be on the same page before marriage, so that there won’t be any surprises after the fact.
Change will happen and your relationship will have to adjust.
Our relationship is still young. It’s still growing. As a matter of fact, we’re still growing as individuals. Change is going to happen, and you, your partner, and your relationship will have to adjust.
Have you ever heard about divorced couples who say they just fell out of love with their spouse? To me, that means a big change occurred in their relationship or circumstance, and they didn’t accommodate it. You don’t just suddenly stop loving someone out of the blue. Something happened, and they closed off a little bit of their heart until there wasn’t any love there.
Don’t worry though! There’s hope. You can have a successful and strong relationship. But you and your partner must be willing to grow and adapt for whatever comes along your way. It really isn’t a matter of shrugging and saying, “Well, I don’t know the future, so how could I possibly know whether this relationship will last?” It all depends on both of you.
That’s it, my dears. I hope this post wasn’t too preachy for you. I’d love to hear what you’ve learned about the love along the way. This will probably one of the only posts about romantic relationships on this blog, so take advantage! Comment below! I’d love to hear from you.
As always, stay encouraged.