Since my previous post, I’ve received a tremendous outpouring of love, support, and insights from so many people. Believe me when I say that, aside from the day of my wedding, I have never felt such love and gratitude for all the people who share in our life.
My closest friends reached out and reassured me of their loyalty. Family members and relatives shared their inner demons and marriage struggles. Other couples (married or not) have reassured us that what we’re going through is not abnormal and worth fighting through.
Even people who lie on the peripherals of our social sphere have offered companionship, coffee dates, kind words, and a glimpse inside their own hearts.
To all these people and more, I can only say:
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
(And also, here is a photo of Grand Traverse Bay for you. It is one of my favorite pictures and it fills me with joy:)
Your words, gestures, and vulnerability make us feel less alone. You encourage us to turn towards each other and ourselves. You provide a safe haven during a very rough storm.
One thing I feel I must say, though.
It’s frustrating that it often takes one person’s hardships for other people to open up about their hardships. I wish we lived in a world where people could be more raw with their emotions, their fears, and their desires. I wish these things didn’t rise to the surface only when someone feels alone.
I don’t fault anyone for keeping their struggles to themselves. Society—especially social media—makes us believe that we should always be happy. Gratitude should come easily. Sadness is a selfish emotion. Pictures are perfect. It makes it hard to dig deep and bridge the gaps in relationships, even those we’ve had our entire lives.
There are many questions that, for years, I have avoided asking my parents. It’s not that I felt I wasn’t allowed to ask these questions; I never felt I had a reason to ask them. I walked around with these questions in my mind and, to a certain extent, made up answers in order to justify my actions (especially in the past few months).
Last week, after talking to a lot of people about what Sam and I have been going through, I finally called my dad. I let him into my world and told him point-blank about my recent actions and thoughts.
After listening to me for a bit, he said some things I know he didn’t want to say. Namely, my dad told me the truth: about my behavior and the foreseen outcome.
He knew the truth would hurt me, but he said it. Because he loves me. Because he loves Sam. Because he knows what it means to be a partner. Because he knows marriage is hard but oh-so worth it. Because I am his daughter and he wants me to be happy—and he knows that nothing in the world makes me happy the way being with Sam makes me happy.
I completely broke down talking to him. I thanked him, over and over, for telling me what I needed to hear. It wasn’t something I didn’t already know, and it wasn’t anything that other people hadn’t already told me. But the truth sounds different when your parents say it.
I’ve been in repair since that conversation. Something inside me broke, realigned, and is healing.
Later that night, I talked to both my parents for nearly two hours. I asked them questions about their marriage that I’ve always wanted to ask but never knew how to ask. They answered me honestly and completely. It was the closest I’ve felt to them as people, not just my parents, in my entire life.
I’m no longer scared to ask questions—to anyone, about anything. In situations where I normally hold back, closing people off, I let people in. I feel more like myself a little more each day.
The past four days, Sam and I have stayed with two friends in Kansas City. Spending time with another married couple—who we admire both as a couple and two remarkable individuals—has helped us see that every relationship is unique and beautiful. It’s been the most unexpected, relaxing retreat.
But really, our visit to Kansas City is just glimpse into the connectedness we’ve felt from everyone in our lives since my previous post. The past two weeks, filled with an outpouring of love and reassurance from all corners of our lives, have been truly remarkable.
Thank you for being a part of our relationship and sharing your stories with us. It means more than you’ll ever know.