This is the third post in a series for #NonstopNovember. If you need/want to catch up with the other posts this month, you can click here and it will bring you to those included in the series.
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The end of July, I got a message from a guy. I was skeptical at first that us meeting and getting to know each other would go beyond friends. Yet, here we are, two months into a for-real adult relationship. People, it's hard. It's difficult in ways that I never thought.
I've never been in a relationship where I argue with the guy. And not just disagree on what movie to watch. Like the ugly stuff. The stuff when as soon as something comes out of your mouth you think, "Wow. Did I really just say that?!?"
And that's hard.
Because you love the person, but they sometimes drive you crazy at the same time. But, because of your love for them, you don't give up. And they don't give up. You decide that you're in it together.
And once you've reached that point of deciding that the relationship is worth fighting for, a few things happen:
The first is that you start seeing things about the other person that you're convinced need to change. These are not necessarily non-negotiables, but just the "Oh.... I didn't realize that they did that" stuff. Important tidbit: it's not our job to change them!! We are dating who they are now, not who we want them to be. All we can do is tell them how it makes us feel. It is up to them to decide if they are willing to change. And it is up to us to decide if we are willing to stick around while they sort that stuff out.
The second thing (and to me, the most important thing) that happens is we start to see ourselves much more clearly. Please don't miss this. I am not talking about the good things. Hopefully, if we are in a relationship, we are able to have confidence in who we are already and are not dependent on another person for that. What I am talking about is the ugly parts of our heart. The spiteful, manipulative, mean things that we can do. In most cases, this stuff comes out when we feel wounded. That stuff is so hard. We can be blinded by just how awful we can be..... until someone is put in our lives to figuratively hold a mirror up. And then we can see clearly. And we can choose to change for the better. Not because we have to, but because we know that God loves us in spite of how we are. And His desire is for us to mirror Him, not some selfish, entitled person.
What God has been showing me in all of this are two things:
1. Keep inviting Him in.
From the beginning, anytime I have asked God what to do, or what He thinks about the relationship, He has simply told me, "Keep inviting me in." So we do. We pray regularly together. We are open with each other about our struggles, and beyond that, we take them to God together. That right there...Him being part of this... is what has kept this relationship going.
2. I need Him in order for this to work.
As the quote above says, when I'm squeezed, the real Lindsay-Marie comes out. That is the one that makes cutting remarks or snaps at Jeff or interrupts or.... well, is just kinda mean. Don't get me wrong, I'm not always mean. Jeff isn't always mean. We actually are very loving toward each other and seek ways to serve one another and act as a team. But, when we're fighting, in those squeezing moments, it's as if we are completely different people. And I need God to help me with this. I need Him to show me how to love Jeff when he's being mean. And I need Him to show me how to quiet my tongue when I've been hurt. I just need Him.
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That man right there. He loves me. And I love him. And two months may be a short period of time to some, but to us it has been two months of ups and downs and sometimes just plain hard work! So, we celebrate each small step, knowing that it will encourage us to keep taking steps forward.