Today I got a notification on my blog congratulating me for three years of being here on WordPress… there was even a note saying “Happy Anniversary!” and so it led me to do what I do best–reflect.
Three years isn’t really that long of a time. I remember being in 8th grade and thinking that two years was eternity, but it turns out two years go by super fast. Three years…no biggie…except that it’s a feat for me to have stuck to something for this long. Besides eating, shitting, and bs-ing, I can’t think of anything else I’ve been committed to for this long. So yeah, go me!
Speaking of anniversaries, my parents celebrated their 29th anniversary over the weekend and 29 is many many times longer than 3 (you do the math, words are my thing not numbers), and as I am prone to do, I pondered over their marriage and my experience of their marriage. Suffice to say, my parents’ relationship has greatly influenced my aversion to relationships and marriages. I grew up believing they were wrong for each other, that marriages weren’t supposed to be happy, and at one point i just wished they’d get a freaking divorce already.
Often, my parents are described as fire and water, so imagine what a marriage of the two must be like. Now I see that I was focusing on the wrong things in their relationship because over the years my family has been faced with numerous challenges and though they are not lovely-dovey (I have NEVER seen them kiss), they are there for each other when it matters the most.
Until very recently, I completely failed to understand the importance of this. I looked for the wrong things in my relationships; I wanted passion, I wanted comfort, I wanted adventure, I built this notion of perfect love…and I even found it. But what I’ve learned from my parents is this–they may seem incompatibility in all the ways I wanted compatibility in my relationships, but when push comes to shove they did not give up on our family, they didn’t give up on the marriage, and they didn’t give up on each other.
My father realizes how much my mother loves him when he is sick and she is there tirelessly tending to the house, to her work, and still going out of her way for him. My mother remembers my father loves her when she’s struggling at work and he doesn’t just help her problem solve, he builds her confidence and pushes her to excel even more. And when our family faces threats and dangers, the two make an unbeatable pair, after all, what can take down both fire and water when those two forces protect each other?
Because of them, I’ve come to the point where I know that it’s easy to love someone when things are going well, even if you know hard times are coming it’s easy to say dramatic things of how we’ll fight it out, but I only ever really know how much I love someone when shit falls apart. That’s the defining moment. When things are at it’s lowest if you’re not willing to fight for it because you love that person, because you choose their baggage and their complexities, if you don’t want to be there when they’re at their worst and the relationship doesn’t look promising–then what’s the point of all that love you talked about?
Inevitably, words (as much as I dote on them) just end of being words–without action they are but meaningless sentiments. Looking at my parents and the almost three-decades they have spent building a life together, I now know that the next time I get into a relationship I won’t be as worried about whether he likes to travel, whether he’s a writer, whether we can talk about books and philosophy, whether we have the same sense of humor, and whether farting is always funny. Instead I know what matters the most is finding someone who goes through a difficult time with me, who is faced with choices, and decides to stick around anyways. So when the time comes for me to be wooed with songs, poetry, and food (omg am I easily wooed by food), I’m not just going to give all that I have, all that I am, to someone who is worth pain and heartache because I’m willing to do whatever it takes, I’m going to wait for someone who knows I’ve got issues, who knows I’ve got my crazy, who truly accepts and loves all of me, and above all, I’m going to wait for someone where when the choice has to be made, the answer is obvious. I’m waiting for someone who picks me. Always. I’m waiting for someone who stays. Always. Of course, finding all the other little things that makes us click would be a bonus, but at the end of the day the relationship is only as strong as the challenges you endure for it. That’s real love, and I’ve got the rest of my parent’s marriage to prove it.