I’ve been sitting on this post for a few weeks now. The idea came at the end of February while I was thinking about how my parents have been married for 33 years now. Which I think is amazing. And it really all boiled down to the fact that they chose to stay together.
I remember in high school, there was a period of at least a year where our home wasn’t a happy one. My parents fought all the time and basically didn’t say a kind word to each other for the whole year. At one point, my brother and I were having a conversation in the hallway and our mom huffed into her room and slammed the door. Either my brother or I just shouted: “why not get a divorce if this is how it’s going to be?!”
But love isn’t just about all the good times, is it? It’s about choosing to be together and working through the hard times. Two weeks ago at church, my pastor was giving this amazing sermon on being offended and mentioned how love is a choice, which just connected back to this idea that I’ve had about my parents and this post that I’ve wanted to write for a while.
Choosing to love is hard because we have to accept the other person’s faults and our own, and try to find that middle ground between them where you can be happy and not judge the other person based on those faults. And I’m not just talking about romantic love either. This goes for any kind of relationship: friendships, work relationships, the kids that I nanny, that person that I used to live with where I personally took offence to about 90% of her actions.
I’ve mentioned a few times that I am so thankful that I’ve had my parents as my parents. Especially going through that rough time, I saw them not wanting to give up. They worked hard to get through whatever it was that caused that rift between them. It wasn’t easy, but they chose love, and they chose to love each other through it. Which is amazing. It was hard and took a lot of work to get back to a place where they were happy and trusting with each other again, but it was worth it for them.
I think our society is a toss-away society, where if something doesn’t suit us anymore it gets tossed for the next, newest, thing. I’ve had friends who have done this – having a 5-year-long relationship with someone, kids, and a home, and then one major disagreement and they just toss it away. They don’t take the time to work it out, or to try to work it out (some things I understand just can’t be worked out), or to put in the effort that is needed to really sort it out. That’s so sad.
And, yes, of course, I’m guilty of that too. Not of throwing away something of that magnitude, but other relationships (include friendships, work connections, etc in this). I think it’s a reason why I hold onto bad relationships just a little bit too long. I want to try to see if they can be fixed or salvaged – even if the dynamic with that person changes in order for us to move forward.
Maybe that’s the point, though? I try to find the love. I try to choose the side of love and change my perceptions and/or expectations to make it work? Maybe I’m just being naive in thinking that love can always win out, but I think it can. Even if it’s just a realization that I have to love myself more than the relationship I’m trying to save and move on. But that’s still choosing love – even if the relationship doesn’t make it.