Tuesday, April 8, 2014

It Takes Guts.

It doesn't have to be so hard. 

I remember being in a past relationship and telling myself that, even though it was so hard, it was still okay. Because, relationships are hard... right? I was determined to push through, to make it work, to fight for our relationship because, at the end of the day, I thought it was worth it.

But it was hard.
I cried a lot.
I felt insecure.
I blamed him.
He never felt like he was good enough.
He blamed me.
Our conversations always turned back into a heated discussion about the same thing. Over and over again. It was repetitive, consuming, and exhausting.

I had convinced myself that relationships, by nature, are hard... and so this was okay. This was just what every other couple is dealing with and, because of that, I just had to keep going. I convinced myself that our relationship was all about sanctification... all about growing, becoming more like Jesus, putting someone else above myself. Being in a hard relationship made us better. It never occurred to me that it might be unhealthy, that it might be harder than was necessary.

I had reached a point where I felt like I would rather be in this hard relationship than alone for the rest of my life. I never thought any relationship could be easier than what I was currently experiencing. This is just what relationships are like.

I couldn't bring myself to end that relationship because I was so committed to making it work. But, he was wiser and more bold than me. He ended it one summer night.... and I had never felt so free. Walking away from that relationship felt easy and light and right. I remember, a week later, thanking him for having the guts to do what I couldn't do.

I'm scared that we, sometimes, stay in relationships that are too hard. That we're willing to put up with much because we've convinced ourselves that sticking with it is better than letting go. I'm scared that we find ourselves in unhealthy relationships because we're terrified of being alone. I'm scared that we walk forward into a life of constant fighting, bickering, disagreeing because we're scared that no one better for us will ever come along. I fear that in our quest to be with someone, we find ourselves more lonely than ever before...

And I want to say:
It doesn't have to be so hard.

Yes, there will be times when it's hard. There might be seasons when you feel like you can't do anything right or that every conversation turns into the same argument... but it shouldn't be what's defining of your entire relationship.

If you're in a dating relationship and it's just always hard? I'd seriously ask you to consider getting out. To ask wise, trusted people in your life their honest opinion of your relationship and then be willing to listen. You may not like what you hear, but it may be exactly what you need to hear. Sometimes, walking away from these relationships (no matter how much we wanted it work and believed that it might) can be the most freeing, healing thing for our souls. Stop trying to convince yourself and others, stop trying to rationalize.

If you're married and you're going through a hard season that feels eternal? Or maybe you went straight from a hard dating relationship into marriage? I'd encourage you to seek professional help. Get someone to help mediate, someone who is for marriage working out. I do believe it's possible and that once you've entered into a marriage covenant that the Lord is always on the side of reconciliation. I do believe that when He is on that side, anything is possible, no matter how hopeless it feels. People can change, relationships can change.

Sometimes, while dating, I clung to that hope. That the Lord could and would change him and me. That it would work. But it wasn't meant to be. We hadn't entered into that covenant together, and I now see how the Lord had clearly orchestrated us breaking up. I had to let go. And it was good.

It doesn't have to be so hard.
You don't have to fight so hard all the time.
Yes, relationships are hard....but that shouldn't be the most defining aspect of your relationship. Mutually encourage each other. Sharpen each other. Point each other back to Jesus in all things. But don't destroy each other. Be couples who are life-giving, who can laugh together, who are more yourselves together than you are apart.

Be people who love.
I once told a man I loved him and quickly realized how I was doing the opposite of everything that defined love. I was rarely patient or kind, was constantly jealous, rude and prideful. I insisted on my own way, was irritable, and kept a tally of all the wrongs done to me by him. I didn't know what love was in that capacity.... but oh, how I wanted to. And how quickly willing I was to cling to any shred of hope or goodness that might allow me to stay exactly where I was.

It doesn't have to be so hard.

Do you believe me yet?
Are you listening?
Let go.
Walk away.
There's something better than this.
There's freedom from the agony, the pain, the misery.
There's hope.

Have the guts.

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