Everyone is different, every couple is different, so you can’t say that this is what happy looks like because happy for one might be misery for another. But for me a happy relationship is one in which I feel safe. One where I trust the person I’m with, not just with being faithful but with everything else.
I’ve been married for 7 years but I’ve known my husband for 12. We met when we were only 19. It’s kind of crazy to look at it that way. The person I was at 19 is so far removed from who I am today. We’ve had our ups and downs like anyone else but what I’ve loved most about us as a couple is that no matter what life throws at us we always find our way out together. My husband likes to say that someone’s true character comes out when they have to face adversity, well we’ve had our fair share and I’m happy to say that what hasn’t killed us has only made us stronger. We’ve had our foundations shaken up a few times but we’ve always been there for each other. No matter how bad or dire the situation we would keep each other’s hope alive. I remember us laughing and commending ourselves on our “feast” of grilled cheese sandwiches after we had both unexpectedly ended up unemployed. We’ve been down to counting pennies. One Christmas in particular we were broke but instead of being miserable about it we decided to make the most of it so we went to Walgreens on Christmas Eve, about 10 or 15 minutes before they closed, we each had $20 which was a small fortune for us at the time and we made it a game to go around the store and get each other gifts without bumping into each other and seeing what the other person was buying. We laughed about it for days.
We survived a very long year of him not having a driver’s license and then 4 of only a hardship. He was there for me when I’d come home upset about a case. He was there for me every single time I was crying over the things addiction had done to my family. And I was there for him when it hit his. We’ve comforted each other through the deaths of pets, friends, family members and dreams. He’s been there for me when I couldn’t stand the sight of myself and I’ve been there for him when he’s felt worthless.
He calms me down when I want to explode. He gives me space when he knows I need it. He makes me sandwiches in the middle of the night when it’s too cold and I don’t want to get out of bed. He supports me whenever I go diving into something new even if he doesn’t totally agree with it. Our relationship isn’t perfect but it’s perfect for us. He tolerates my music which is rather impressive seeing as how I tend to fall in love with one song at a time and play said song on repeat for days, something that would probably drive most people mad.
I could write a laundry list of things he does that annoy me but they are all little things that I don’t care to have fixed (don’t tell him that). Our relationship works because we work. When we have a problem we talk it out. We each have boundaries and we make them known. This is what allows us to push and pull each other towards growth without crossing the line. I feel like there is so much more I could write but my goal was just to show you that good relationships do happen, they are out there and they are possible for everyone but they are something that require patience, resilience, perseverance, forgiveness, strength and above all love and respect.
When we met I don’t think either one of us was looking to go into anything long term, it just happened. Looking back, I’m grateful for every shitty relationship I had before him because they gave me perspective. If I hadn’t gone through them I would have never been able to appreciate him and have what we have now. When I met him I was still heartbroken from my previous relationship but I stuck around because he treated me different. He put me first and that is something that I had not experienced up until that point. Feeling that contrast gave me hope. When I ended my last relationship I knew what I didn’t want but not really what I wanted. Meeting my husband showed me what I needed. I’m not going to lie, I’ve cried plenty on his account but like Bob Marley said “The truth is, everyone is going to you. You just got find the ones worth suffering for.”
So if you are having a hard time with relationships right now don’t give up. Don’t give up on love, don’t give up on yourself, just give up on shitty people that don’t treat you the way you know you deserve. And in case no one has told you…you deserve the best.