The term “Falling in love” is misleading. Sure, when you first meet and begin to develop feelings for someone, it feels a lot like falling. It’s easy, simple, butterfly-filled bliss and yet, that’s not real love. Love is a choice. On the surface, we all want the “falling in love” kind of love, we want the butterflies, the first kiss, the first time you say those three special words, those fairy tale moments but what most of us are unprepared for is real love. I’m talking the hard work it takes to make a relationship keep going, I’m talking the days when your partner drives you up a wall but you still choose them anyway, the times when they say the wrong thing, or when they refuse to kill a spider for you and brush it on the floor instead (I’m looking at you Jared). Love, true love, is hard but oh-so worth it.
Everyday I choose to be in love with Jared.
It’s true! Not everyday is a picture perfect selfie captured at the right moment, posted with the flawless filter and captioned #RelationshipGoals. Real life is hard and real life means choosing to love Jared through it all.
I remember really struggling when the new relationship bliss started to fade, right around our first anniversary. See, I’d never been with anyone that long before and I was panicked that somehow this meant we weren’t meant to be. Then I talked to two friends. The first told me that while butterflies fade, love grows deeper so not to panic and to never let anxiety get the best of me. The other told me that Satan tries to ruin good things and not to let him. Woah. Both of those things hit me hard. While I struggled to fight off this irrational anxiety, I went to the foot of the Cross. There I was reminded by a loving Savior of a few things:
1. I am loved and not defined by a relationship status
2. Love is hard, but worth it
3. Love , at it’s purest form, is a reflection of the Lord’s love for us
4. It was going to be ok
Since those first moments of anxiety, I’ve allowed myself to be consumed by it a few times but each time I am reminded of my Jesus and his sweet love for me and part of why is because of Jared. He’s so good at showing me Jesus. He’s so good a loving me just the way I need to be in the moment. Whether it’s dancing with me in the living room or coming up behind me while I’m making dinner and giving me a kiss on the cheek, he knows how to love me. I am so thankful that Jared chooses to love this hot mess, let alone marry it. I’m thankful for his rationality, his prayers and his endearing qualities. He’s certainly not perfect but he’s perfect for me.
What’s so beautiful about true love isn’t the butterflies or the first kiss, it’s the choice to love your partner day after day. It’s choosing love in the still moments, the exceptionally dull moments of everyday life.
Now I don’t mean to sound discouraging. There are moments when my heart beats out of my chest for Jared but they are different than they first were. These moments happen when he’s playing with the dog and I realize that he’s going to be the best father someday, or when he kisses me by surprise at the end of a date, or even when he lets me watch Grey’s Anatomy when I know good and well he doesn’t want to watch it.
So why am I writing this? Because nobody, not one single person, prepared me for this. Nobody told me that there would be moments of both doubt and bliss. Nobody said that there would be days when I didn’t like Jared, but I still loved him a whole lot. Nobody told me. Not even my parents who I’ve watched fall more in love everyday could have prepared me to experience love like this. I’m writing this because maybe there’s a girl out there who doesn’t have the friend to tell her to stick it out, that Satan tries to ruin good things and that it gets better.
I’m not saying that every girl who feels doubt should ignore it, I’m just saying that if you’re doubting because the dynamic of your relationship has changed… take a look to see if the change is actually better than how it started. If you find yourself wondering if it’s destiny, trust your heart, pray, and you’ll find what you’re looking for at the foot of the Cross with a God who loves you more than any man ever will. See, I know wholeheartedly that God brought Jared into my life to be my husband, and I knew that very early on. But even I let fear get the best of me, don’t let it control your life.
Little did I know the boy I argued with over a game of shuffleboard on a Young Life retreat would become my best friend, little did I know he thought I was pretty and little did I know he’d be my husband. Life has a funny way of working itself out but we can’t pretend it’s a fairy tale either. Love isn’t #RelationshipGoals, Love is a choice and that’s the best relationship goal of all.