I’ve always believed that relationships are a continuous work in progress, no matter how long you’ve been together. Through all the years Jonathan and I have been a couple, I’ve certainly learned that when you love someone, you have to love all of them. Now I didn’t say you have to always like them.
My mother, who’s Jonathan’s number one fan, has always told me, “You can’t change someone, who they are, they are. Just like you.” She was so right. There might be qualities about your darling that sometimes drives you batty. And I’m sure that these differences can sometimes build up enough to make you uneasy as to the direction your love is heading.
I think coming to the realization that you’re in this together is the first step to letting go of some of those differences that can so easily pull you apart. I thought I had seen it all with Jonathan, the good, the bad and the ugly, until I saw him with Emerson. I remember the day I told him I was pregnant, “Ok so I have to tell you something…little change in plans here.” And I remember that after a few minutes, when the color came back to his face, how transformed I knew he was from that day on.
It could have been, “I am out of here, I didn’t sign up for this”, but instead it was, “Ok we can do this, it’s gonna be good, really good.” Well it was. It was everything. Emerson brought us closer, not because we became a party of three, and everything turned into rainbows and sunshine. But because it was a true test of our committment and how we would handle this complete shift in gears.
I never imagined after what sometimes felt like a century, that I could fall in love with him all over again. Of course seeing what a naturally good daddy he was meant everything to me. But that’s not just it; it was his willingness to adapt, to try, to give effort and to simply be on my team.
That doesn’t happen without some hiccups obviously. I remember the night I threw my boppy pillow across the room at him. (That’s a breastfeeding pillow; I don’t assume people know that because I had no clue before baby) Not sure what my plan was in that moment, clearly not to cause bodily harm.
That’s one of the many reasons I admire Jonathan. He knows I can be a walking cyclone and I can easily let my emotions take over, not always in a good way. (I try to count to ten before I speak, not always the case.) But he accepts me with my crazy, and still makes an effort to always move forward. I hope it’s because he knows I love him to the moon and back. And what he says or does, or doesn’t do, affects me.
You are going to argue, fight, even yell, and that’s OK. Because you make up, you talk through it, and then you grow closer from it. It becomes one more battle you conquered together versus letting it break you down. You know when you’ve listened to someone say, “Oh we never fight, it’s so weird.” Yes it is weird! (haha) No I am kidding, maybe you don’t and that’s truly great. But for some of us, more passionate lovers (nicer word to describe it), it just isn’t so simple.
I think the real issue is when someone is unable to just try to make it work, or won’t evolve with you, for the sheer reason that you’re it for them. That’s something that I think most people cannot swallow. Nobody wants to be given up on.
I am not saying having a child fixed everything or that it should be a part of everyone’s life, because as you know, everyone’s story is different. And I certainly will never assume that what makes our love stronger will do the same for yours. Whether you’re married or not, with someone or just starting to date, I more than anything, wanted to share with you a renewed sense of hope. Hope that no matter what happens between you two, there’s always room to fall in love again with each other. But you have to make the space together.
So with that, I offer you a few thoughtful tips that I hope to remember myself, when skies get grey…
- No matter how angry you get, remember there isn’t a competition of who gets the last word. Saying something that you can’t take back doesn’t mean you’ve won, it means Game Over.
- Find the time to do something together that you both enjoy, even if it’s only every now and then. You will feel connected again.
- Laugh together. I can’t stress how important this is for so many reasons. Even in the middle of an argument, Jonathan will say or do something that makes me laugh, and I forget what made me flip in the first place.
- I mentioned counting, start with ten seconds, extend if needed, before you approach a tense conversation. My girlfriends will love this one because they know I often say to myself, “why didn’t I think that one through first, that didn’t go down the way I wanted.” Sometimes it’s just about the delivery.
- Don’t be afraid to admit when you’re wrong, or you’ve crossed a line. Being a bit humble will not kill you, I promise. (And I’ve learned, trust me)
- Say or do something more often to show you appreciate them. The other day I texted Jonathan from upstairs, “ Thanks for your help tonight, I love you, goodnight.” He ran up the stairs and said, “Were you being sarcastic, are you upset at something?” I guess I don’t do this one enough! LOL
- Lastly, remember don’t either of you give up. Of course if you’re in an unhealthy situation, I would never want you to take this one to heart. And if that’s the case, you have to absolutely do what’s best for your mind, body and soul. I think the worth you give yourself and to the one you love will determine what’s worth fighting for.
Wishing you an open heart and lots of love to fill it,
photo by Darling Juliet Photography