~We are all broken. That’s how the light gets in.~ Ernest Hemingway
If there’s one thing I know all too well, it’s that you can’t have a healthy and happy relationship if you aren’t willing to work on yourself first. All of us are broken people just trying to find love and happiness in this world.
I’ve been through hell and back when it comes to tumultuous and difficult relationships, and had a very hard time working through things from my past. I looked for love in all of the wrong places when I was living in New York, and struggled with finding my self-worth. If it hadn’t been for wonderful friends, amazing and strong women who counseled me, my church family, and my own family, I wouldn’t have made it through some of the heart issues that I was dealing with. I’m still not fully healed… as healing is a constant process, and recently began seeing a therapist. (I’m a HUGE advocate for therapy. Separate post on that later.) I want to show up for my relationship in the best way possible, and want to strive to always be my best-self.
Dating can be hard, and putting ourselves out there when we are most vulnerable is scary, but one thing that I have learned is that when you find the right person, things become so much easier. Not perfect…but easier. I never used to believe it, but it’s absolutely true.
Nathan has been one of the biggest blessings in my life, and he’s helped to show me how valuable I am. There are days where I don’t believe it, days where I lash out, days where my imperfections show, but he has never given up on me. He is the most amazing man I know, and I don’t know what I would do without him, nor do I feel as though I deserve him. He loves me in a way that I’ve never felt before, and always sees the best in me when I can’t see it in myself. (If you want to know more about our story head here.)
I’m sharing 8 things below that my relationship with Nathan has taught me.
1. Trust Each Other
I came from a previous relationship that was not built on trust, and it really took a toll on my heart. I still struggle with trust issues to this day, but have learned that without trust you can’t have a good foundation for any thriving relationship. I know how incredibly hard it is to trust again after a difficult relationship, but it’s sooo important to continuously work through those issues so as to not bring that all into something new. You have to be able to trust the person you are with in order to have a healthy and happy relationship.
2. Love Unconditionally
Loving someone unconditionally means that you are accepting them for all that they are. You are loving them without boundaries, and not on conditions or terms. You are meeting them where they are, and saying “I am here for you, and I love you for what makes you, YOU.”
3. Be Each Other’s Biggest Cheerleader
Feeling supported by your significant other is one of the best feelings in the world. I always feel as though Nathan is my Number 1 Fan, and it makes me so happy and gives me so much confidence. Sometimes my friends joke that Nathan is like a proud dad! He’ll be taking pictures at my speaking events, getting excited about a new blog opportunity with me, and mentioning my accomplishments and future goals to others… It makes my heart smile so much, and gives me the boost I need to work towards my goals.
4. Fight Fairly
Relationships are never perfect, and fights are inevitable. As hard as it may be, try to always look at the situation from your partner’s perspective too. Sometimes it’s easy to get heated, and always think that you’re right, but healthy fights can lead to learning how to better communicate with each other. It helps us to be more understanding of one another’s needs in the relationship.
5. Learn Your Partner’s Love Language
One of my favorite books is “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. I HIGHLY recommend reading it if you haven’t already. It gives so much insight as to what our love languages are, and has helped me not only with romantic relationships, but with relationships with my friends and family as well.
6. Ask For What You Need
Our significant others are not mind-readers, and we shouldn’t expect them to be. One thing that Nathan is amazing at is always being able to tell when something is on my mind. The next part though, is me actually telling him. Asking for what we need or want is healthy, and it’s important to always keep that line of communication open.
7. Spend Time Apart
Okay, so this one is really hard for me because I LOVE being with Nathan. He’s my best friend, and I always have the most fun when we’re together, but it’s important to nurture other relationships in our lives as well. We bring our happiest and full selves to something whenever we are happy and full in all aspects of our lives, and that means having other friends and a life apart from the relationship.
8. Never Give Up On One Another
When you find the right person, you’ll never want to let go. No relationship is perfect because we as humans are imperfect. What makes a relationship beautiful is the effort that two people bring forth to make it something great and special.
photography by Taylor Prinsen.