I was only 21 years old when I met Gibran and he was just 23. A lot of people would say to us “young kids” back then that we didn’t really yet know what love was, and the chances of us staying connected and close through our tumultuous twenties was slim to none. Well, we certainly beat those odds. By the grace of God and with a lot of patience, devotion, and hard work we somehow managed to continuously love each other, support each other, and most importantly grow with one another over the years.
Don’t be fooled, it wasn’t always easy. We had quite a few growing pains here and there – for instance, our brief stint as long distance lovers on two separate coasts in 2005 definitely wasn’t one of our finest or fondest memories. The thing is, when I was going through some old photos and found these two throwbacks I couldn’t help but grin at the thought of how much we’ve truly grown as individuals over the last seven years, and also as a couple. I’m not entirely the same girl I was back then, and he’s certainly not exactly the same guy, but the love and respect we hold for one another hasn’t changed a bit – it has instead evolved each year with our own unique individuality into something deeper and more dynamic than what we had each year before.
It’s one thing to see the growth in yourself and watch positive changes take force in your life and shape you into something more new and beautiful each year, but to watch love bloom that way – well, that’s something that I’m not sure I can even describe in words that are worthy. A lot of young couples grow apart, and that’s okay, because if it happened I truly believe it was meant to. Things have a way of working themselves out that way. But for the ones that stay together, as we have, and begin to look back on all the “trying times” in our past and growing pains we’ve faced both together and apart, it’s truly a bonding experience that I’m convinced becomes the foundation for a happy and healthy marriage – if you let it, of course. Look at that man or woman you love and look back at what you’ve accomplished and overcome together. If you have quite a few years under your belt, I bet you’ll find the reminiscing and the reflecting to be inspirational and moving. How did you get from there to here? What made it work? What did you hold on to, or let go of to make it? How can you continue to hold on to the techniques that work so they don’t fade away?
Gibran and I credit communication for most of the progress we’ve made together. No matter what we were going through, feeling, or not feeling even, we said from day one that we’d always speak on it. And we really have. If we feel it we say it. We may not always like to hear what the other person has to say, but we keep our ears and hearts open to the many possibilities. The possibility that we may agree to disagree despite our best arguments. The possibility that we may not be able to change the thing that’s hurting the other person most. The possibility that we can’t help, or maybe that we can and that we should. The possibility that we must address something now, not later.
I remember being in that state fair photo booth with Gibran in 2004 a few months after we started dating. We were having a great day, but I still felt guarded and at one point during that night I turned to him and said, “You better not hurt me buddy!” He joked about how upfront I was about the whole thing, but in all seriousness he told me he was relieved to know that I cared enough to worry about being hurt. The picture of us with a ping pong paddle between us is from a ski-weekend in the Pocono mountains that we shared in 2006. I remember that one night when we were deep in conversation on the deck of our cabin Gibran told me that sometimes he worried that he couldn’t give me what I wanted, because it didn’t seem that I was always very clear on exactly what that was. It wasn’t quite the most romantic thing to say to someone you love in the middle of a winter getaway, but it was so honest and because of that I welcomed it — even then. What I’m getting at here is that for me, looking at these photos isn’t just about reminiscing on how much we’ve grown up since we met, but it’s also a reminder that we’ve always been real with each other and came out of it all smiling and stronger.
So here’s to a healthy happy relationship filled with love and communication that we pray will continue to grow stronger by the day. And may the relationship you’re in now, or the one that’s destined for you, be equally as blessed and solid.
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- Why I Am Sleeping On The Couch (For Now!) (manwifeanddog.com)