The other day as I was driving to Dylan’s, I heard a radio segment about ‘volume dating’ – the concept is dating as many people as you can simultaneously, hopefully broadening your horizons for meeting ‘the One’ without wasting your time. I immediately texted Dylan to ask him if I could write a post about our relationship, because that radio segment spoke right into my heart.
See, we want things in a relationship to be good and happy and social media worthy. I see so many social media posts about one side or the other; either people are single and embracing that, or they are over-the-moon in love. Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with either of those lifestyles! I have been in both parties before. Currently, I am embracing the girlfriend life with enjoyment… But not always.
See, when Dylan and I started dating, we talked. And talked. And talked some more. We laid out our junk really early on; I’m pretty certain he told me his entire life story on our pre-date. We weren’t even ‘official’ yet when I cried into his chest at 2am in high high school parking lot, going over the details of the last 18 months of my life. We laid it ALL out, simply because we wanted to pursue a relationship that was intentional. Our intention being marriage, obviously. Intentional doesn’t equal easy, however. All that baggage that we laid out needed to be unpacked at some point.
Here’s where it gets tricky – you don’t want to lay out your junk onto social media, but only ever posting the sappy stuff paints this unrealistic portrait of how things really are when the cameras go off. Sure, I 100% want to plaster my Facebook with photos of us, with nauseating captions about how good he is, how sweet his heart is, how hilarious he can be. However, my heart desires to present authenticity to the world in every aspect, including my relationship with Dylan. Which means I cannot always post barf-worthy Instagram snaps because we very well could have spent the last week fighting. And who wants to read about that??
Being intentional is HARD. Like ‘scratch the middle of your back’ hard. Like ‘not eating the entire ice cream cake in your freezer’ hard. Not because I don’t love the man that Dylan is or will become, but because he is still just a man with his own baggage that needs to be unpacked. And Lord knows I have baggage that still needs to be sorted through. I definitely need to bring some of that to the Goodwill… Anyway, you get my point. Loving on someone is tough!
I had to get to a place where I could see the man that Dylan is verses the baggage that he brings to the table. There are struggles that he is going through that I have already dealt with, which seems like a good thing until my humanness kicks in and I want to be a big selfish baby about helping him learn to do things like budget money. I get to a point where I see other couples looking carefree, taking vacations, posting smoochy images and writing sappy stuff, and that is all I want. Literally I just want that 100% of the time, 24/7, no breaks. All fun and no work make Heidi a very soft girl.
That isn’t feasible though! No couple can always be Mushfest 2016! Life is hard, and when we only talk about the good stuff, we’re making it difficult for those around us to see past the facade of social media posts. Do I want you to start posting your fights on Snapchat? Maybe not. But I do want us to start being honest about our feelings, our baggage, and the hard parts of our relationships.
I lived for a long, long time thinking that marriages are supposed to be perfect, because all I was ever allowed to see were my parents getting along. (Hi mom!) I understand why my parents didn’t fight around me, but I formed this unrealistic expectation of perfection that can never ever be attained. I thought that all couples did everything together, enjoyed all the same things, believed all the same ways, etc. And when I began dating, I didn’t understand that things just don’t work like that. I never want to give anyone a false impression that relationships are carefree, joyous, lovey-dovey weekends of adventure all the time. They just aren’t. And that is perfectly okay.
To be honest, I love when Dylan and I disagree – we learn so much about each other and about our relationship when we do. It has instilled a sense of trust in me about him and his character, and about the staying power of our relationship. So for the couples who don’t have an easy, carefree relationship, for the couples who struggle to help with the baggage, just know that it is okay. You’re not at all alone. Being intentional with your dating life will always be better than dating so many people you need a planner just to keep track.