Relationships Part 1
Let's talk about the mess and the beauty
David and I are from two different cultures. We are also 6 and a half years apart. These things alone can challenge a couple in their attempt to mesh with each other. We grew up differently. These things affect the way we think, act, and speak. When praying for the man I would marry, it was clear I wanted someone who was gentle-- not weak, I must clarify. I wanted someone who would be gentle in the way he spoke to me. David does this beautifully. I remember in one of our early disagreements, I had gotten upset over something. I began to express my frustration and after I was done, David grabbed my hand. In my moment of anger, I wanted to resist. I wanted to guard myself and push his affection away. He grabbed my hand and pulled me in for a hug. He was gentle in his speech and calm. I felt the anger start to fade. This was something I never truly knew how much I would appreciate, until I actually experienced it. There are so many beautiful, and wonderful parts of who David is, and who he challenges me to be. He is kind, loving, gracious, thoughtful, romantic, gentle, hardworking, devoted… the list goes on. Above all of that though, his goal in life is to glorify our Heavenly Father. His obedience and devotion to Jesus is beautiful.
With all that being said, there have been challenges in our relationship, as with any. You are learning how another person thinks and acts. They have been raised different and this is going to affect everything. I am used to living my life, as I have always known it, and so is he. In the meshing of our two very different lives, we run into things we don’t understand. This can easily bring up anger, and an unfortunate “I wish you were more like (fill in the blank). But you know what? The things that are different about David, are actually the things that help shape me into a better Jesus follower.
It’s true that you can’t truly understand all that a relationship is, until you are fully committed to one. You are willing to do whatever for that person. They become your best friend. I have discovered I am A LOT more selfish than I thought I was. When you’re single you basically care for yourself and that’s about it. Not that you don’t care about friends or family, but you aren’t necessarily taking care of them the same way you do for yourself. You can afford to be selfish with your time, thoughts, and actions, because it’s just you. In this new season, I am being pruned. I am learning that I am not as important as I think I am. (this isn’t an insult). I mean c’mon. It shows everyday. We get mad at someone on the freeway for cutting us off, because we think our time is more valuable. We get in line at the grocery store, notice the person behind us only has two items compared to our 15, and we don’t let them pass us. We want things immediately, because we don’t want to have to wait. All of this points back to ourselves. It doesn’t matter if there is someone else who is also in need. It’s about us. Don’t get me wrong, your time is important. It’s very valuable. But if we’re going to be spending 2 hours on our phone watching Instagram stories, we can have the same grace with our time when it comes to helping someone with their groceries. Am I right???
Life stops being all about you. There is another person, and their feelings, and thoughts are now involved in your decisions and your words. Sometimes I get upset with David, failing to think of the reason behind his decision. Sometimes I say things without thinking of how David will feel. WHY? Because we are selfish beings. But God is showing me how to see things the way he sees them. Learning about David is beautiful. It’s rewarding. The more I learn about him, the more I can love him better. The better I can serve him. When I take the time to understand him, I actually stretch myself to see an opinion other than my own, and to develop empathy for someone else. Through every disagreement, is a step closer to clarity and understanding. Instead of looking at an argument as something to avoid, I look at it as an opportunity to understand the person I’m with.
It's hard. We've had difficult conversations. I've cried. I've been angry. All my flaws and short comings, and insecurities have come into the light. I'm being pruned everyday. I learn something new, I grow and I move forward. Relationships bring out the best and the worst in you. Isn't that encouraging? But it's true. You let another person in and they see all the parts of you, even the parts you didn't even know were there. They do things that make you angry, and you realize you actually have unresolved hurt in an area, from a person who said or did something years ago. It's crazy how we don't even notice these things until we really let someone in. If you're not ready to have every part of you brought to the surface, then take heed. But what's beautiful about all of that is they see it and love you anyway. That's the kind of love JESUS has for you. He sees all of who you are, and loves you just as you are. Being in this relationship has given me a greater love and understanding for Jesus. Jesus is patient, forgiving, loving, kind, considerate, serving, etc. He has given us the greatest model for how we should love.
What would it look like if we actually practiced loving the way Jesus does?