Dawson and I have been together for five years!
In the past five years, we’ve both matured, grown, and changed as human beings so much. Along with our individual evolvement, our relationship has shifted, too. More than anything, my perception of love has altered.
In year one, I would’ve told you that love is flushed cheeks, shy smiles, warm hugs, and hundreds of dollars spent on buttered movie popcorn.
In year two, I would’ve demanded that love is trying to make it through long-distance – arguing most days, but spending every waking second together when you can, acting as you’ve never argued before.
In year three, I would’ve told you that love is skipping philosophy together to binge The Office in the school basement, that it’s cutting up potatoes every Friday for a fry-Friday, and it’s having date nights in a movie rental store.
In year four, I would’ve told you that love is still wanting to spend time together after long work and school days; that it’s quarantining together, watching Cold Case Files, and chowing down fried seafood. –And getting engaged, of course! ❤
In year five, I’d tell you that love is watching each other earn a degree, get full-time jobs, buy a home, adopt another dog, and deplete your savings. I’d also tell you that it’s understanding each other’s love languages, stressors, and favorite movie references.
But now, today, entering year six
– where we will get married, live together, experience our first solo vacay, and enjoy living as just the two of us – I’d say that love is no one thing. Like furbabe love, parental love, friendship love, and all the other beautiful kinds – romantic love is unique.
No love is one size fits all – because you and your partner aren’t generic. For some, love is texting them to ask if they’re home yet; it’s saying yes to the next home improvement project; it’s taking the grandkids to the zoo; it’s walking the dog; it’s watching True Blood; it’s being the DD when the other is getting rowdy; it’s showing up.
I can’t define love, but I can describe the love that Dawson and I share and have shared – both healthy and unhealthy. But honestly, our love continually shifts, and it’s always a learning experience. With the various seasons of life that an individual and couple go through, change will always remain.
What I have learned about love is that it’s critical to understand yourself. I’m not suggesting that you need to know every detail about yourself and who you’ll be for the next two months, ten years, or fifty trips around the moon. That would be unrealistic.
What I am saying is that when you’re cranky, think about why. Was it because your boss’s email sounded demeaning; because the dishwasher has sat fully loaded but dirty for two days; because the dogs’ nails need clipping; because you didn’t sleep too well after finishing You late last night, etc. Whatever it is, that’s totally fine and valid! But take the time to understand why you feel that, so you can communicate that to your partner.
So many times as a young couple, we hear that we will grow apart because we don’t know who we are. I understand that perspective (and thanks for projecting your experiences onto me, all you pleasant Barbs), but I believe that as long as you effectively communicate, you’ll thrive! How am I, a twenty-one-year-old, barely-dated, optimistic girl so sure?
Wellllll, I could be way off!
But in our five years, we’ve stuck together through so much – more than I owe anyone to talk about – but some things that I’d share are long-distance, remission, jealousy, different beliefs, etc. All things that helped shape our love – I promise, Barb, it’s not just Friday night lights and college parties like you must think. 😉
Now, here, today, I have a lot more to learn about myself, Dawson, and love.
But what I’m sure of is our love will continue to grow and evolve as long as we communicate, prioritize ourselves and our relationship, and put Jesus in the center.
Communicating for us is taking the time every week to address how we’ve felt the past week – has work been too overwhelming; is there a house project that’s bothering one of us; did a new true crime case come up; was there a meal we were craving; etc. Sometimes we forget how powerful words are – I argue one of the most powerful tools we all have. No matter if that is through text, phone call, sign language, or speech. Everyone deserves to share their story, everyone deserves to be heard, and everyone deserves to be understood. Take the time to understand how your partner has hurt, grown, learned, and viewed the world lately!
Prioritizing ourselves is important to us. For Dawson, that’s playing computer games. For me, that’s sitting down every Monday night, wine in hand, Twitter pulled up, counting down to The Bachelor.
Prioritizing our relationship is something we’ve sometimes forgotten to do this year, as life has gotten chaotic. So often, we are constantly trying to keep up with our responsibilities, with our friends and family, etc., that we forget to spend time romanticizing our relationship – rather than just being besties. So, like, we decided to have Tuesday nights dedicated to us. Whatever we want that to entail for the week – sitting around the fire, bingeing New Girl, eating Flat Top, getting a drink, going shopping – Tuesday is our night to pick something and be that year one couple! …only hold the butter for this lactose intolerant gal. #DiherraIsn’tRomantic
Prioritizing our faith looks different for us, but we both find that having strong individual relationships with God helps our relationship. For Dawson, talking about our faith is a great way to worship. For me, it’s singing and dancing to Christian music [shocker] or praying before bed. Both are great for us overall, and our relationship with God has been stronger this year than ever before.
The past half a decade has been a rollercoaster, and I wouldn’t change any of the lessons I’ve learned. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be the person I am, I wouldn’t have the relationship I do, and our love wouldn’t be what it is now.
In the next half a decade, I imagine we will have great adventures, learn valuable lessons, and change what our love looks like all over.
Whatever your [healthy] love looks like – it’s unique, it’s meant for you, and it can grow with you if you take the time to nurture it.
Happy Monday, friends! Happy Anniversary, Dawson! 🙂