A few weeks ago I was able to meet up with a friend from high school who I had not seen for years. Along with the usual topics, we caught up on our relationships. As a little bit of background, we are both skirt-wearing, highly educated women who were in the choir at the very conservative Christian academy where we met. We both had high expectation of our future relationships and were focused on making them Christ-centered and pure.
Imagine how amazed I was when, after telling her about the abusive relationship I was in while in college, she responded with an even more incredible story! How we both had such similar experiences was so crazy, and I just wanted to say what has been on my mind:
It seems that in society’s effort to prepare young people for the hardships of marriage, it tends to forget to tell us how hard HARD is, and what the line is between perfect, normal, and psychotic relationships. We are taught relationships are hard work; we will struggle, argue, and be at ends with our partners. We will want to kill them, we will cry ourselves to sleep, and will be disappointed. That’s “normal.” But in society’s quest to prepare us for these very human interactions, it had failed to tell us what is NOT NORMAL.
With abusive, manipulative, violent, and paranoid partners, we held our heads high as we fought like martyrs for the cause. We held on to these relationships though we were chronically unhappy and stressed because we thought relationships were hard. Yes, people do have hard times, but a propensity to be irrational, touchy, and violent is not an isolated situation to be worked through.
Relationships AREN’T HARD. Situations are. Life throws curve balls and people are people. We have hard days and get to the end of our rope. Sometimes we snap or have a panic attack or simply sit down and cry. Sometimes we lash out at people we love. But that is not supposed to be a daily (or even hourly) occurrence.
Relationships should be EASY. How amazing is it that we humans get to enjoy being in the company of people who we think are awesome, and they hopefully think the same of us? We get to share our lives with these people; and I believe our ability to have such relationships, whether they be romantic or platonic, familial or friendly, is the greatest blessing God has given us.
Yes, we will have hard times and want to pull our hair out when the idiot leaves the toilet seat up for the millionth time, or when we have to sit down and apologize for snapping out in frustration, but thus is life. We are humans in a very sinful world and these are things we have to work through. These things help us become selfless and teach us how to love like Christ taught us. But just being in a relationship? It shouldn’t be a burden to bear. It should be a joy and privilege to have.
[Please Note: If you or someone you know is in an unhealthy relationship, I encourage you to seek guidance from your pastor or to call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233]