I'm good at relationships. Donald Miller taught me this, and my Jessie-friend reminds me of it oh so often. Honestly, I think I'm damn good at relationships. I cherish my friends and my family, and if I'm dating someone, they can be confident in where I stand. I don’t play games. I'm pretty self-aware of my faults or when I'm acting irrational and can ask for grace as I'm working something out in my head and in my heart. If I’m offended or hurt, I've learned to talk about it and squash it and move on even though its not natural for me. I understand about myself that I get grumpy when I'm tired and have no problem nudging (pushing, hitting, smothering) to stop snoring around me. I've learned to just say what I need like when I need to be loved a little louder, none of us are mind readers after all. I’ve learned I need space and time to myself. I don't do the silent treatment. I'm not clingy. I believe in a partnership. I know that words are relentlessly powerful to me, second only to silence. I've made huge, shameful, embarrassing, awful relationship mistakes, but they've not occurred without a high price and gain of wisdom. I know the ease of an emotional attachment and how its hooks are deep long before you have any idea you’re in it. I've learned to keep sturdy, high, and healthy boundaries. I've learned when it's time to say goodbye in dating- although I tend to keep trying and fighting.
I read an article once about a couple who was in a season- you married folks understand- a really fucking hard season (I don't care how happy y'all are today, you've been in a really fucking hard season and, if you haven't, I’m sorry to say you will.) This couple went to a Christian counselor who basically asked them if divorce was an option. That hit them hard because they weren't anywhere near that point and always agreed it wasn't. But one of them got really, really, REALLY brave and said, "Well, yeah, I guess it could be," and the counselor said, "Good! Now we have some work to do."
Before you get huffy, LISTEN.
If divorce isn't an option, then there's nothing to work towards. You trust that no matter how horribly you treat each other, or how many women you sleep with, or men that become your confidants they will stay. No matter how much you drink or lie or speak with razors, whatever your poison may be-it's okay. You both are choosing to exist in misery because you have literally nothing to lose. HOWEVER, if you can get really, deep down in your bones, honest with yourself and your partner- divorce is always an option. Once you realize that, you have something to work for. You have something to fight for more ferocious than Gerard Butler in 300 (hubba, hubba, am I right?) It’s worth the fight. Grit your teeth and snarl and claw through anything to choose your partner, on purpose, every single day as long as you both shall live.
We didn't do that. "Divorce wasn't an option" and I was reminded of this everytime I attempted to stand my ground. Those words held me pinned against the wall like a knife against my neck. So I didn't move, I stopped living. I lived in fear as those words pushed in closer, sharper, I hung my head in defeat. I stopped talking to my family. It was easier to not have friends. I battled less, I learned its safer to not argue. I learned my voice was just white noise.
"Divorce is not an option" and I stopped living.
But the reality is, divorce is always an option. The reality is Jesus cared about me more my marriage, and his love is bigger than my divorce. I chose to live.
Here's the fear I try my hardest to overcome- I can do everything right, and they can still leave. At any moment, they can stop choosing me. They can soften that wall for a female friend who was going through a tough time. They can chose a night out with the guys a little more and more and often. They can choose work or beer or power over you. They can make the decision, for no apparent reason, that "I just don't want to be married anymore."
And then what, I start all over again?
This is my fear, yet, I chose to love.
I choose to risk my heart. I choose to seek it out. I choose to tell my heavenly Father the desires of my heart. I choose to go to the well, because I believe that we're all human and I believe in grace and forgiveness. I believe that good and honorable men exist. I believe that it's worth the fight. I believe that I'm worthy of love and for someone to choose me again and again and again every single day. I believe in marriage and that a healthy partnership can exist.
I HAVE to believe it-it’s the factiest fact of all the facts about me-I believe in love and that it can coexist with life.