I view life as a revolving door where people, ideas, and emotions come and go. For the longest time, I didn’t realize that I have- to some extent- control over this entrance into my existence. I obviously cannot predict when tragedy will find me, when someone else decides that they don’t need to come to visit anymore, or if it’s cloudy outside my windows. However, I’ve come to the conclusion that I have the ability to lock this door, build a fence outside and keep all the keys in hidden places whenever necessary. Not just to keep the unwanted visitors out, but to protect my home and valuables inside.
I realized this a few years ago and have grown more confident through experience and adventure that my self, and my relationships can be kept inside this imagined room. I found safety in understanding that I am the only one who can rearrange its’ contents. The most important thing that I learned to protect through this idea, was our marriage.
Our first year wasn’t perfect, whose is? We would argue over trivial things… such as who had to do the dishes or how we would spend our money. Totally normal topics that come with the territory when you are completely adapting your room to fit someone else inside of it. At some point though, we began understanding that we both make active decisions regarding how we treat each other and our new commitment. We had to come to an unspoken agreement together that our choices were bigger than our environment- so that our relationship could truly thrive.
When we started to view our relationship as a safe haven instead of just a portion of our lives, we began treating it as such. We learned to laugh when things went wrong. Professional and personal opportunities that didn’t benefit both of us or would obviously affect our relationship in a negative way were left outside ringing that doorbell. We began decorating the walls of this room with encouragement and began dropping mistakes and shortcomings as quickly as they came. We focused on our goals and dreams and figured out ways for them to align. Most importantly, we stopped comparing our room to other people’s as so often the neighbors we admired would shut their blinds or eventually stop coming home.We made our own rules, within which we are happy. Some nights, we still went to bed angry. But over time, there was a noticeable shift in our relationship. This occurred when we both learned the art of patience.
We practice patience… we wait. We wait for great things to come when they don’t seem within reach. We wait for the person we love to understand that they don’t have to be perfect. We wait for the person we love to become who they were designed to be, no matter how many times that changes. We patiently wait for each other when terrible things happen and we lose our way and sometimes faith. We wait while others come in and out of our door and lives. We wait for familiarity when everything we know changes. We wait to eventually share our love with little ones that will share our name and features. And best of all, we wait while everything is falling into place to make sure we stick around long enough to catch all the pieces.
Now that I have said that, waiting isn’t the actual focus of our relationship. The focus is what we are indeed waiting for. While we wait, we do many things. We talk about things we have done and plan to do and what we want right here and now. We burn dinner and go out for pizza instead because that sounded better in the first place anyways. We laugh about things that are totally inappropriate and shouldn’t be repeated. We travel to places we can hardly pronounce and enjoy every minute of it. We take pictures of beautiful sunrises and sunsets and all the stages of daylight in between. We say yes as often as possible. We trust each other no matter the distance in minutes or miles. We practice patience, and therefore- love extravagantly.
I write this because it seems more and more over the years, I have been asked how I “knew” my husband was the one, at such a young age. We were both so unprepared! Each and every time I am asked this I always have the same answer… he waited for me. He waited for me to know that I could love him and say so and tell the truth, all at the same time. He waited for me when I questioned whether I deserved this safe haven. Now, we wait for each other. That’s the only way this idea works- it has to be two-sided.
If you already know what I am talking about, kudos to you. If you haven’t found or realized it yet, you will. Because when it’s right, and you have something worth protecting and waiting for, you’ll know it. And I promise, waiting will be the most rewarding thing you have ever done.