The moment that I first knew I would marry my husband was only about four months in to our relationship. From the beginning I knew he was different than any other man I had dated. I knew that this relationship worth investing in, not just in love, but in a partnership that would make each of us stronger.
Before him, I was good enough at relationships. I had loved and I had been loved, but I was not convinced that a long-term, monogamous relationship was all that good of an idea. So, yeah, I was one of those anti-marriage girls. I was perfectly content to come and go in semi-permanent relationships. To embrace them when they felt right and to leave them behind when they didn’t.
Until I met him, I didn’t realize that my single mindset held me back from committing to a relationship. That while there had been happy relationships in my past, I was never fully in them. Not in the same way that I am in the relationship with my husband.
He is literally, the easiest person to be in a relationship with. The Mr. in my life is probably the best ‘forgiver’ that I have ever known. Sometimes I think that he doesn’t stand up for himself enough, but despite that, his capacity forgiveness has taught me to be better at forgiveness.
I Learned to be Better at Forgiveness.
No relationship, marriage or otherwise, will be completely free of the occasional hurt feelings. I knew (before him) that I was not that great at forgiveness. In fact, I was so bad at it that I seemed to actually enjoy holding on to those hurt feelings. I could forgive in the moment, and as long as the offending person was behaving acceptably. But, the moment that I saw any behavior that I didn’t like, I immediately dug up those old grievances.
Forgiveness brings peace. The better that you become at forgiving others, the more peaceful your life will be.
Forgiveness comes easier with trust. The reason why it is so much harder to forgive in some situations has nothing to do with your ability to deal with your feelings. It is more about the trust that has been broken by the offense.
Sometimes its as simple as letting it go. One trick that I have used to successfully overcome hurt feelings in the past is to consider how important my hurt feelings are in the overall relationship.
I once had a roommate who moved out without any notice. We had been friends for a long time prior to moving in and when she left me in a bad position by moving out without notice I was hurt and angry that she was so irresponsible. Or, more probably that I had trusted that she would be more responsible and she failed my trust. I carried my hurt feelings around for awhile, and then one day I missed my friend. In that moment, I decided that a decade of friendship was more important than one bad decision that she made. The situation did redefine some boundaries in our friendship, but forgiveness was the right choice.
I Learned to be a More Active Participant in Our Relationship.
Every person is different in how they show love and affection to their significant other. For my Mr., he likes to celebrate every insignificant holiday with gifts. I, on the other hand, am lucky to remember the important ones. I prefer lots of physical attention. Melding our different love languages, took some effort. And, it’s still a work in progress, but it is getting better.
To give you an idea of where we started…and exactly how horrible I was at remembering dates, of any kind…Here is a quick run down of all of things I did without thinking in the first year of our relationship.
- I scheduled a four hour long doctor’s appointment on valentine’s day.
- I accidentally scheduled myself to work on his birthday.
- I forgot my own birthday and when he tried to give me a gift, I made him return it.
- Our anniversary was absolutely nowhere on my radar. I forgot to order his gift and ended up picking up a super lame replacement at the last minute.
Seriously though, he is a really good forgiver. Despite the fact that it is important to him to celebrate all of the goofy moments and holidays, he never let my repeated failure at reciprocating in his love language be an issue in our relationship. Over time, I really started to respect that quality about him and I am now working harder at making sure that I allow him to show his love the way that he needs to and that I reciprocate in the ways that he needs it.
Change is necessary for self-growth. Over the course of any long-term relationship, both parties will change. It is the measure and direction of that change that will either drive you apart or bring you closer together.
The Mr. in my life is naturally better at relationships than I am. He is more attentive, more open to change, more forgiving, and sometimes I think, just a better person. I am learning to embrace his qualities to better myself and strengthen our relationship. In that first year, I often felt bad about my shortcomings and all of the ways that I knew I must be a disappointment to him, but focusing on my own shortcomings is not nearly as productive as just working on change, one small step at a time.