I feel very unqualified to be blogging about relationship advice or marriage.
After all, I’ve only been married 6 years. I have an incredible husband who still amazes me daily with his love, selflessness and humility. And though I met him in a yuppie bar downtown 8 years ago next week, I still feel he was given to me from some serendipitous combination of luck, grace and heartfelt prayer.
I would like to think that some sort of clumsy, yet virtuous, actions on my part had something to do with the gift of our beautiful marriage — i.e., being the kind of girl he would like to marry, valuing the amazing qualities he possesses, choosing to… go to a bar on a Saturday night?
The truth is, I still feel a little out of my league when giving advice because every situation and person is so different — and we are all called to such unique paths. But alas, every now and then, a young, beautiful girl asks me for some encouragement on “finding the one” and I’ve decided that the best I can do is what I know so far — which is to simply say:
Believe that God has a plan for your life. Believe that His timing is perfect. Believe this so much that you never act out of desperation. Or boredom. Or peer pressure.
Believe in marriage. Believe it can work. Believe good men exist and don’t settle for less. Believe your family and your friends if they’re concerned about your choices.
Believe you deserve someone who makes you better — that helps make you the best version of yourself and you, him. Believe you are worthy of the greatest love — of a love that glorifies God because of who you are together.
Believe in butterflies, in magic, in happily-ever-afters. But also believe his actions if he shows you he’s not the type of man who can handle the hard realities of life: the loss of loved ones, the surprise illnesses, the child with special needs, the job layoffs, and so on. Believe your gut when it doesn’t feel right. Believe him when he shows you he’s not the one — whether it’s from inappropriate behavior, disinterest, flakiness, rudeness, self-destruction. Believe him.
But if he DOES prove that he is worthy of your love, believe in him — and tell him so. Tell him he is honorable and wonderful and God’s gift to you. Believe him when he says he loves you. When he says you’re beautiful. When he says he’s never loved you more than he does today. Let him love you. Let yourself be vulnerable in that love.
Believe love is magic. Write poems. Leave notes. Give kisses. Never stop holding hands. Believe you can be that old couple with the greatest love story — because you can.
Believe that happily-ever-after doesn’t mean happy every second. And that the greatest joy often comes from an incredible — and sometimes incredibly hard — amount of work, sacrifice, self-reflection and selflessness. Believe that you are a work in progress and he is, too. Believe in the magic, but believe that you are responsible for making it.
Believe that together, your whole is greater than the sum of your parts. That there is a purpose for your relationship — to be fruitful: whether by children, by good deeds, by great friendships, by acts of charity and kindness. Believe that you were brought together for a reason — even when it’s hard, confusing, stressful, tired, hurtful — believe in what you can be. And never stop trying to become that.
I remember the feeling of longing to meet “the one.” The readiness for the real thing. The tiredness of dating. I had it in my heart — 8 years ago today. I didn’t know when or how or if he would arrive — but then, he did.
And he was everything I believed he would be — and more.