Buckle down for a long and utterly honest post!
While reading a person’s blog it’s easy to romanticize about their life. It seems like they’re always happy and always doing the coolest things. They wear the cutest outfits and never look sick or tired. They never fight with their loved ones and they never have to ask for forgiveness. Here’s a quick public service announcement: we’re all human.
Of course, I’m going to write about my fun weekend and leave out the details of being lonely and sad while Alex is away. A blog is a brief window into someone’s life. It by no means completely covers everything that happens throughout the day. I’m not going to focus on how it bothers Alex when I take the last of the coffee and don’t refill the pot. Likewise, I’m not going to dwell on how he sometimes gets out of the shower before drying off and completely soaks the floor mats. We both acknowledge on a daily basis that neither of us is perfect. However, we are perfect for each other.
While we may still be learning how to fight fairly, we are certainly realizing the importance of forgiveness. Whether we are asking for forgiveness for forgetting to call the bank or for saying something hurtful, forgiveness is an important part our relationship.
Lately I’ve spent a lot of time reading Em and Tim’s blog, Today’s Letters. Here they recap the struggles they had early on in their marriage. Something they said that has really stuck with me is that they had to, “learn how to attack their problems together rather than to attack each other about their problems.” This is something that I feel every relationship goes through. There comes a time when a couple needs to go from getting mad at each other about silly things to working together to understand the underlying issue.
Doesn’t that sound easy and wonderful? I’m sure it’s not. It’s easy to snap and say things that you regret and potentially damage your relationship. What’s not easy is not getting defensive when your partner says, “I’m not mad at you, but when you did XYZ I was a little hurt and I wanted to make sure that you know.” Instinctively, you want to stand up for yourself and explain why you thought it was a good idea to do XYZ in the first place. Even if you had the best of intentions, the fact is that your actions hurt someone you love. This is something that I struggle with everyday. Hopefully, I will stop trying to explain myself and defend my actions and start trying to understand what was upsetting about my actions so I can avoid hurt feelings in the future.
Every relationship has its own issues though. It’s comforting to know that we’re not the only ones struggling with “the right way to fight” and forgiveness. However, fixing a relationship does not simply mean trying to “fix” what is wrong with your partner. Issues are mostly caused by both parties involved. Regrettably, I have been faced with the conclusion that I have been the problem more often the not. Embarrassing, heartbreaking, yet true.
Against my best judgment, I’d like to give you an example. In order for me to grow and learn I need to face and admit to my shortcomings, right?
Only a few days before we got married, I was driving to work and hit an oily spot on the road. Unfortunately, I was going down a hill at the time. My car continued to slide down the hill and brushed up against the rear-end of an abandoned, parked car. I got out of the car to survey the damage. There was not even a scratch on the parked car, but mine had quite a ding.
I told Alex what had happened when I got to work. To be completely honest, I was afraid to tell him. I thought he would be angry and tell me that I wasn’t being careful. He didn’t though. He asked if there was damage to either car. He told me that accidents happen and that’s why we have insurance. More importantly, he asked if I was okay.
I remember feeling so surprised that he asked me if I was okay. Instantly, I felt ashamed. Of course, he would ask if I was okay. Of course, he would be worried about me and try to comfort me. Why would I have thought any differently?
While this instance did not cause an argument in our relationship, I learned a lot about myself and couldn’t help but to feel disappointed. Did I really have that little faith? Was I really afraid to tell him when something like this happened? Unfortunately, the answer was yes.
When you get married, your slate is not automatically wiped clean. You are not going to wake up with a new level of patience, understanding, and self-discovery. You will still need to work on yourself each and every day in order to make your relationship flourish. All that you can ask is that your spouse commits to make that journey with you. And just as you want them to forgive you, don’t forget to give forgiveness in return.
Did you make it the whole way through?
Have you had any similar issues in your current/previous relationship? What are some difficult things that you are going through?