what 2011 taught me about love

Just because you've been together a while, doesn't mean it all goes to crap. In my last relationship, I told myself that it was normal that we were as miserable as we were together. We've been together two years, I guess this is just how it is. Never mind that I have parents who have been together upwards of 25 years and are very obviously not miserable. People who are meant to be together don't get miserable after 2 years, they get better. They are more in love than the beginning & work better than they ever did. If you're unhappy at that point, it's probably because you just don't work together. And that's freaking hard to accept. But after only two years, you shouldn't be fighting this much, you shouldn't feel like strangers, you shouldn't feel worthless & unloved. Actually...you should never feel that way in your relationship.{read the post on this here.}

Sometimes you have to walk away. This is probably one of the biggest lessons I learned in 2011 in general, not even specifically in love. Quitting anything doesn't come easy for me, even when it should. And especially not quitting a person I've poured into for 2 years. But at some point, enough is enough. At some point, it's just abuse & you're making a conscious decision to stay. I am now a firm believer in the validity of the cliche "you're so deep in the forest you can't see the trees", but am thankful for a God who opens eyes & restores broken hearts. A God who makes it easy to walk away because it's His desire for your heart to be full & healed. I never thought it'd be so painless to walk away from a 2 year long relationship, but after the initial tears, there were no more. There was actually joy & peace that I hadn't felt in months. And for the first time in 2 years, I feel like me again. Not the crushed & insecure me I had been, but the me my Father has always intended me to be. And all I had to do was walk away. {read the post on this here.}

Giving in to sexual temptation will destroy your relationship. You don't think it will, I know. I didn't. You think it's making you closer, it's something only the two of you share, it makes you feel all desirable and loved. But it's actually ripping you apart from the inside out because you're not married & you're sinning. It creates scars & walls & most of all keeps the two of you from reaching your real potential as a couple. You're so focused on the physical part of your relationship, you miss out on the beauty of getting to know one another. You're so distracted by when are we going to make out? how far is it going to go? that you forget to talk and learn about one another and fall in love. You're only hurting yourselves. It twists what sexuality is really supposed to be and leaves you with this whacked out mentality that takes some serious redemption by Jesus, & lots of baggage. No one seems to want to talk about this, but the reality is that it needs to be talked about because we're clueless, & we're killing our relationships. {read the post on this here.}

Love really is patient, kind, not envious, arrogant, or rude. It really does bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, & endure all things. This was another big one. I had really great examples of love in my life from my parents, but parental love is different from relationship love, and you kind of have to learn it on your own. So if the first person you fall in love with doesn't know how to really love someone either, it's unlikely that you learn that love looks like this. In fact, it probably ends up looking pretty much opposite of this. But thankfully, Jesus can redeem your definition of love. He can teach you how to love the way He loves, unconditionally. And then you fall in love with someone who puts others before himself & who is more in love with Jesus than he is with you or himself & your world gets rocked a little bit more every day. And between him & your growing relationship with Christ, you start to redefine love from a fuzzy feeling and a toleration of someone's annoyances to 1 Corinthians 13. And let me just tell you, loving someone with Jesus at the center of it is a whole different ball game. It's a completely different feeling. It has it's roots in Biblical truth & is the most stable, certain thing I've ever felt.

You have to talk about it. I love to talk, if you can't tell. I'm a big communicator. But after two years of every conversation turning into an argument, I learned to keep my opinions within a relationship to myself. But J's not having any of that. The first few months of our relationship were full of awkward {because I made them awkward} encounters about things we needed to talk about. Lots of me shutting down out of fear, lots of me saying "I really don't want to talk about this" & lots of him responding with "I don't care, talk to me." But he never got frustrated {okay, maybe a little}, he was always understanding but firm that we were going to talk about things when they need to be talked about. And our relationship is so much better for it. And now, it's almost easy for me to bring things up when they're bothering me. Almost.

There are still good men out there. I had my doubts. Even though I have lots of friends in love with wonderful men, married to wonderful men, & I have a father that daily exemplifies Christ's love for me-I had my doubts. I guess I more had a lack of confidence that there was still a good man out there for me. I had never really had one, a few here and there, but they hadn't stayed long. I'd mostly fallen for jerks who were too selfish to even notice me or my needs, and I had resigned to the fact that that was probably the kind of man I was going to end up with {and so had my best friend. poor girl, watching me date all these idiots.} And then there was J. The best man I've ever met. He's not perfect, but neither am I. And he loves me in a way that reminds me of my daddy and my Jesus. He restored my faith in man-kind. And I seriously pray that every one of my single friends finds a man like J, because every woman deserves a man like that. {read the post on this here.}


Breanna said...

love this :)

I'm glad you found someone like that!

Sarah Frills4Thrills said...

thank you for talking about all of this. so many girls learn the hard way and almost WANT to, when they can learn from other girls that have gone through the rough seasons and already learned the hard way. Your honesty is really encouraging! Also, a friend of mine posted something similar here: http://sotrulylovely.blogspot.com/2011/12/beautiful-life.html