My husband is a very private person. So you can imagine his reaction when my weekly SCOOP article arrives in his inbox making reference to him. But I tend to ask for forgiveness instead of permission. Which leads me, today, to writing a short piece about relationships. And Valentine’s Day. And the fake world of Instagram. And the fact that I believe love at first sight is a bunch of bull. Well, at least it was for me.
I share much of life through words and pictures, so I also feel compelled to share the not-so perfect stories within the sea of curated Instagram feeds. Because remember, that’s what they are. The happiest of moments. Couples looking their best. And representative of less than 1% of their real, ACTUAL life.
A NOT SO ROMANTIC LOVE STORY
I was introduced to David over 15 years ago now. He “had a great feeling about this” right out of the starting gate. I, on the other hand, who was entirely emotionally unavailable at the time, shuddered at those words. To say I put him through the wringer is an understatement. From repetitive break-ups, to schlepping him to therapy sessions, I still look back in disbelief that he didn’t RUN.
Anyone who knows David knows that ONE: he doesn’t take no for an answer. And TWO: he LOVES a good challenge. So, in hindsight, it’s not so surprising that he stuck around. After a year of therapy and working out my own issues, I surrendered. And told him so, knowing that this very well could cause him to make a drastic move. The next week, he bought an engagement ring.
I share this because it is the least romantic story ever. Yet, it was a strong indicator just how far he will go for those that he loves.
CHALLENGES EQUAL GROWTH
As you likely know through my posts, we have committed to weekly date nights since our first was born 13 years ago. But it’s hardly the date nights that are responsible for, what I would consider, our strong marriage. We’ve had some pretty tough moments raising our oldest, who has some developmental challenges. Those evenings of tears. The setbacks, and feelings of defeat. The school reports. And tantrums. It’s those times when we SO wanted to disagree in front of him, but knew we had to unite. It’s in all these lows that our partnership has grown. It’s in the least of romantic moments that strengthens the bond.
I worry that we now live in a world of unrealistic expectations. With the illusion of family life as an Instagram highlight. That relationships are date night selfies and styled holiday card photos. And that if it at all feels like work, then it wasn’t “meant to be”. When this couldn’t be the farthest thing from the truth. As with life, with every relationship challenge comes the opportunity to overcome an obstacle and become a stronger team. It may be in the form of a disagreement. Or an ugly cry. Or a need for space.
Every few years, I send our family holiday card to that therapist we saw 15 years ago in Brookline, MA. Who helped prove to me that this guy (who I hardly knew) was ready and willing to do the hard work. And despite the season or challenges we were facing at that moment, I’ll always include the words, “Thank you. I’ve never looked back.” I am grateful this Valentine’s Day and always for her input on what does and does not make a great lifelong partner. (PS… She warned me of those headless horsemen we must avoid!) And for teaching me that “love at first sight” was never a key predictor of lifelong happiness.
In case there’s anyone out there who needs to read this.