Week 2: Significant Other
It has been said that you cannot fall in love with somebody else until you learn to love yourself first, nor can you be happy with another person if you cannot be happy by yourself. I have always brushed those two sayings aside, because I wrongly believed it did not matter if I was able to love myself or be happy by myself in order to be in a relationship. I was under the false assumption that my significant other would make me happy and love me, so it did not matter if I could do these things for myself. What I did not recognize was the amount of pressure I would place on someone else to make me happy, nor how I was hurting myself by relying on others for one of the most important things – self-love.
I have operated in this fashion since my first “serious” relationship in middle school. Rather than focusing my energy on loving myself and doing things that made me happy, I focused on what my significant other could do for me. If I could go back in time and tell my 14-year-old self one thing (okay, let’s be real…there are MANY things I wish I could say), it would be to love myself fully and NOT rely on someone else to give me feelings of love and happiness. I was allowing other people to have entirely too much control over my life, and it eventually began to tear me apart.
I am not going to go into the full story of my past in this blog post because I want to focus on my current relationship and the gratitude I feel towards my boyfriend everyday. However, I do need to mention a few things to provide a backstory to how I got to the point I am at today. Typically, the guys I have dated in the past have never built me up, but rather have torn me down. I cannot place all of the blame on them because, like I mentioned before, I placed pressure on them to make me happy and love me, so that I could be happy with and love myself. There is one particular relationship that was so emotionally draining it caused me to lose myself. I became someone I never knew before. I did not know how to be happy and I certainly did not love myself. Dealing with conditional love for over a year left me feeling like I could never do anything right again.
One thing I realized that had happened was that I left God out of my life during these bad relationships. After the above-mentioned relationship ended, I was lost. I wanted to stay in bed all day and not do anything. I grew more and more depressed and began thinking I would never find a decent guy. One of the best things I could have done during that time was begin going back to church, doing devotionals, and growing closer with God. I prayed that God would guide me to the right man and put my faith in Him. Instead of spending energy searching for a relationship, I spent the energy on finding the things that make me happy again. And most importantly, I began to love myself again. One realization I had was that God loves me even though I sin daily and am unworthy of His love. Because of His unconditional love for me, I grew to love myself again. And because of His forgiveness towards me, I was able to forgive those who had hurt me in the past. This forgiveness brought me peace, because the hurtful people in my past were no longer allowed to have control over me and I could move on to the next chapter of my life.
I had to share the above antecedent so you could understand (somewhat) the journey I’ve gone through when it comes to relationships. So now, here comes the good news: I’ve met the guy of my dreams, the man I want to spend the rest of my life with, and I have no doubts in my mind that it was God who brought us together. His name is Christopher, but I only call him that when he is in “trouble,” other times I just call him Chris. When he first asked me on a date, I could not believe it. Here was a handsome (okay, HOT), tall, firefighter with a dazzling smile and an incredibly cute puppy, and he wanted to take ME out on a date.
We had planned to go to the movies on a Saturday in June. I had butterflies in my stomach the whole week before the date was set to happen. I was so nervous but so excited at the same time. We had been texting beforehand and I felt like I had already known him for months. Then, I received a disappointing text saying he could not make it on Saturday because he was having problems with his truck. My heart immediately sank and I thought I must have scared him off. But, we made plans for Sunday afternoon instead, and I remember just praying he would show. Well, my worrying was for nothing (which I have learned it always is), because Sunday came and we went to see 22 Jump Street and laughed and laughed. Something happened during the movie and about halfway through, the screen just shut off. About 15 minutes later it came back on, but it just gave us something else to laugh about.
After that first date I knew that I wanted him in my life. It is hard to explain that feeling you get when you go on a date with someone but it does not feel like anything you have ever felt before, and it is just like a “you know this person is different and special” feeling. We continued hanging out, almost every day, and we had fun hanging out and doing nothing because it felt like everything I had ever wanted. On July 6 of 2014, we “officially” became boyfriend and girlfriend, but we were also becoming best friends as well, which is something I have always wanted to be with my significant other.
Words cannot even begin to describe how grateful I am to have Chris in my life. He does not belittle me, he does not tell me I need to diet and exercise, and he does not make me feel like less of a person for being myself. I can be as weird as I want around him and he still loves me (which he better because he is pretty weird himself, hehe). I prayed to God that He would send the right man into my life and I truly believe He has. I am no longer relying on Chris to make me happy or to love me, but rather I do those things myself and think of how I can make Chris happy and feel loved. And that is how a relationship should be. It took me a long time to learn that but I am so glad I did.
In a way, I am grateful for my past and the way it worked out. It taught me a lot about life, love and relationships. And allowed me to become a better person, as well as to realize what I deserve – which is a man exactly like Chris: caring, generous, kind, funny, loyal, family-oriented, sweet, considerate, etc. (I could list a bunch more positive adjectives to describe Chris but I will not make you read anything too mushy). He builds me up and encourages me when I feel down. He cooks for me (c’mon now, you are lying if you say you do not love a man that can cook). And he loves me unconditionally, for which I am incredibly grateful.
I thank God every night for placing Chris in to my life. I cannot wait to see what our future holds together as I am sure God has something amazing planned (I can feel it). I have gone through trials and tribulations to get to where I am now but I believe it was all worth it. God has placed Chris and I together, to begin a journey together, and I know with Him guiding us, we will make it an incredible one. To end this blog post, I just want to give a big THANK YOU to Chris, for not just being the man I want in my life, but the man God knows I need. I appreciate every little thing you do for me, and for loving me just the way I am. I look forward to tackling and enjoying life by your side, no matter what is thrown our way. I love you!
Thank you for reading my blog post written for the second week of my gratitude challenge! I look forward to sharing more with you in the following weeks. Stay tuned!