When Relationships are Hard...Keep Going
I am difficult to love. I know that. And I’m pretty impossible to live with. Trust me, I recognize that too. I’m stubborn, have high expectations, and I can be a smart ass. Luckily for me, I fell in love with someone with the exact same qualities. Clearly everything goes smoothly in our house on a daily basis. I’ve never found myself saying, “Do you even know what a toilet bowl brush looks like?” And I’ve certainly never heard things like, “We really need to fire the maid, she’s not good at the whole laundry thing.” Add in that equation my sensitivity and his indecision and welcome to a typical night at our house. We signed up for this?
I’m going to say that thing that people don’t like to say: relationships are f-ing hard. It’s the truth. They are not the fairy tales you see in every romantic comedy on the Hallmark Channel. My Life Hostage and I are entering what I’m fondly referring to as the terrible twos. Parents, you know exactly what I’m talking about. For all the non-parents out there, talk to your mom and dad, maybe bring baked goods.
In the beginning of any relationship, everyone wears rose colored glasses. Talking until you shut a bar down. Learning all the ins and outs of one’s personality. Telling yourself one more kiss, until one more becomes 3 a.m. Anticipating text messages and phone calls with butterflies in your stomach. It’s passionate, it’s adorable, and it’s all so exciting.
Then you begin to move past the honeymoon stage. Maybe you move in together. Now you have all the daily responsibilities of life and you’re sharing new responsibilities with someone. You’re still learning their personality but in different ways. The passion and excitement are still there but they have to be balanced with bills, DIY projects, juggling schedules, and the age old question, what are we going to do for dinner?
It seems like lately we can’t make a decision without an act of Congress. We talk it to death. And then we get into at least one disagreement on it, likely two or three as we usually circle back around a few times before we fully beat the dead horse. And how do those disagreements end? With each of us in self imposed time out. I told you, terrible twos.
When this phase first started, I kept telling myself it’s because we’re both stubborn and have a certain level of impatience. But then a few weeks ago, in the midst of a disagreement, I realized something that almost bowled me over. What it really boils down to is that we’re both just trying to bend over backwards to make the other person happy. Neither of us are going anywhere and we only want to see the other one smile. We want to be the reason they smile.
Since then, in those moments of disagreement, I try to take a moment and reflect. Because he does make me smile. I smile at the start of every day when he bounces into the room with the energy of Tigger and proceeds to explain the thought process behind what he’s wearing. I smile when I hear his text tone on my phone, it still gives me the butterflies. I smile when he’s my biggest cheerleader, building me up in ways that make me blush from the tips of my ears to the balls of my feet. I smile when at the end of every day he makes sure we’re touching when we fall asleep. He is the reason I smile and he does make me happy.
One of our favorite Brad Paisley songs talks about how he continues to fall in love with his spouse even though he thought he already loved her as much as he could. That’s the kind of love I’ve always dreamed about, my fairy tale. Relationships are f-ing hard and they will test you long before and long after the terrible twos. My advice, for whatever it’s worth: find your fairy tale, whatever that looks like and constantly fall in love with your spouse, even when you think you already love them. Fall in love when they make you happy, fall in love when they make you smile, and even fall in love when it’s not exactly what you thought you signed up for.
- Rachel Olszewski
A hot mess held together on a daily basis by dry shampoo and probiotics, Rachel is still trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up but for now is a communications professional by trade. A true Chicagoan through and through, she is an East Coast transplant trying to set down roots. Although the height of her high heels may be getting shorter, Rachel’s expectations are not getting lower and she is on a mission to change the world one person at a time.
This story was originally published on Project Wednesday.