Dear You,

Love is tricky. You really cannot know a person- their unique set of reactions, traits, beliefs and the deeply embedded underlying ideologies behind their casual remarks in a matter of 8 months, even a year. Yet, you emotionally and physically latch on as though you’re both in confident agreement you’re on the same page. Later, things come up.. things happen that spark surprising conversations, reveal their/your perspectives and perhaps irrational or unhealthy beliefs and behaviors, and at first you’re slightly alarmed but relatively cool. If you’re optimistic, this feels like an opportunity to grow together. You get to put in some effort (yay) because your relationship is worth it!

Then, as these new revelations continue and you notice your differences, you wonder how much of them are the natural, acceptable, expected amount of difference between two humans (due to upbringing, experiences, DNA, etc.), and how much of them are actually a potential source of harm to one’s identity or conflict about what you two- as a couple- will do in a situation. No, you won’t find someone identical to you, nor do you need or want a completely parallel, submissive or apathetic partner who offers no alternate view. But, as things are uncovered and the pressure of “compromising to find middle ground” remains, you may find yourself having to go against your better judgment, your worldview or preferred approach on how to handle matters, to meet them where they are. They may feel the same about bending to you. While that can be a humble, admirable act of grace, kindness, love and patience, it can also be worrisome when you find yourself bending very foundational convictions and essential views; you can lose some of yourself. And, we know this about relationships: two halves don’t make a whole. Two wholes make a whole. An incomplete person seeking completion in the other does not offer the same kind of strength, durability and proactivity that comes when two whole people join together in a mutual effort to build something beyond themselves. The former finds fullness in another imperfect human who is bound to disappoint you sometime; the latter does not co-dependently/wholly rely on the partner, but has an independent grasp on their purpose and identity, while finding the beauty and joy of having a compatible teammate for this journey through life.
Now, if your partner’s viewpoint seems to reflect a deeper wisdom and love than you possess, then I can understand how bending and adapting can actually be beneficial to your growth in character and point of view (and also to the health and well-being of your relationship). But when it seems to lead you anywhere other than the fullness of God’s grace and love (please substitute your own barometer), it ceases to be a positive force in your life.
I’m afraid, kids, that we fall in love passionately and quickly…. and really, with whom? Not our partners, for we don’t really know them as well as we think in the beginning. So, we fall for what we know of them, plus _______: a) who we hope they are. b) who we think they’ll be. c) etc. But all this to say: there’s wisdom in being patient about how wholly you involve your heart, body and mind in a person you’re getting to know. Never mind the fact that most of us are still trying to figure out our own selves simultaneously. So, from somebody who is going through a break-up — the painful undoing of attachment, companionship, support, shared joy — please take your time when you meet people. Be patient and use wisdom in letting your innermost places be laid bare for them. Your heart is a fragile, powerful thing. Love yourself.
#LoveMyself #iloveme
-Alyson S.