My husband Jason and I have been in a relationship for almost seven years, and married for a little over a year. It’s been quite the totally unexpected journey, and worth every single minute.
When our time together became serious enough for us to have the discussion of being life partners, Jason explained something to me that has been paramount to the survival of our relationship, and our friendship. He told me that while loving him is of great joy and comfort, it doesn’t absolve him of his personal woes. That’s a perspective I had not taken into consideration, but after hearing it, one that makes absolute sense.
People have a tendency to look at love and just see the beauty and the joy and the fluff. Some couples even go so far as to make those things the front for their relationship so that those on the outside will think everything is running smoothly.
While love and marriage is the beautiful, wonderful thing people believe it to be, it is also in no way the great elixir that will fix and heal all things in our individual lives.
I used to think that just telling Jason how much I loved him would make him feel better, but problems and negative energy from personal strife still remains even when someone loves you. I can tell him a thousand times over how much I love him, but that isn’t going to bring his singing career to new heights, it isn’t going to heal his family, and it doesn’t negate the religious trauma he has faced in his life. Those things are all personal and exist beyond our relationship, because he existed and had a life of his own before we fell in love.
I now realize that thinking that our love for each other can replace emotional lack can impede our personal growth and the growth of our relationship because it would cause us to look outward instead of inward. Couples are two individuals that can not be completed by the person they fall in love with. Being in love with someone compliments your life, but internal completion starts there. Internally. You can love someone to the moon and back, but that is in no way the glue that will hold together brokenness. Healing can be encouraged by a relationship and in some ways can be a causal factor in a relationship for individual healing, but that work still must start from within.
The blending together of two individual lives takes pointed will and effort, and definitely makes life more fulfilling, but as much as we are a couple, our love for “us” does not eliminate two individual beings that have goals and aspirations and problems and issues that exist in our personal lives that loving each other won’t always bring resolution to. This doesn’t insinuate that love isn’t enough. Love is in fact an impetus for the growth of our relationship and brings encouragement for our personal lives, but love won’t always make everything good in the individual life of my partner.
We indeed are a unit, but we both want to be loved, acknowledged and appreciated as individuals not only to the outside world, but also within our relationship. I love my husband because he’s wickedly and sometimes even frighteningly intelligent, he has vast knowledge of an extremely wide range of subjects, he’s creative in many different realms (he draws, sings, writes, and does interior design), and he’s thoughtful and compassionate. All of these qualities are indeed factors in the growth of our relationship, but more importantly, they have always existed in him because of who he is above and beyond our relationship, and these things would still exist in him had our lives never intertwined.
We also want people to root for us and relate to us not just as a couple, but also as individuals. When I’m going through something that has nothing to do with my husband, I want people around me who are willing to just see me and encourage me on a personal level, and my husband absolutely wants the same. We of course want to be involved in all aspects of each other’s life, but sometimes things just happen that our life partner can’t do anything about.
We love our lives together, and we have worked, and are working extremely hard to ensure our foundation remains solid. Integral in this is not allowing our growth as individuals to interfere with the growth of our relationship. That means respecting the growth and change in our personal lives, because when you fall in love with someone, it is unrealistic to expect that person to stay the same down the road. It also means understanding that we can still love each other through the things that love won’t heal.