I remember when I started dating Luke, my husband, I told myself that I was going to be completely honest with him – no pretending. No wearing skirts on every date when normally I’m in shorts and a T-shirt. I decided to be me, the way I was, and if he liked it well enough, he would stay.
He didn’t seem to notice, or to care, that I had stress-induced acne when we met. He didn’t think that I was boring because my idea of a good time was going on a walk, talking and staying in instead of “going out” for the night. He didn’t seem to notice all the imperfections – at least as I viewed them – the extra weight I always wanted to lose, the “home-body” that I’ve always been and felt I shouldn’t be, the introversion that made me want to flee large groups. Actually, he seemed to think that just spending time with me was a good time.
Time and again I thought he’d wake up and see it – that I wasn’t the girl he actually wanted. That I had too much baggage, too many family problems from my parent’s messy divorce, too many mood swings or something. But he didn’t.
Each time I cried to him about my recent family heartbreak, each time I had mascara running down my face and I got snot all over his T-shirt, he stayed, he listened, and he told me that he loved me and that he wasn’t going to leave.
It was shocking to me. I didn’t have to change anything about who I was to make him love me. That being said, he didn’t think I was perfect — he knew I had my weaknesses, my impatience, my anger, my lack of discipline in my studies. But he called me on to the good. If I had been in the midst of an addiction or other unhealthy habit, I don’t think Luke would have told me, “that’s okay.” Because he loved me, I know he would challenge me to find freedom and healing from it. In fact, he himself had found freedom from substance abuse just a few years prior to meeting me, and I know that because of that healing, he was able to be there for me and love me in a manner which never would have been possible if he was still in the throes of his own addiction. Sometimes we do have to change things about ourselves in order to love better in a relationship. But I didn’t have to change all my imperfections, to make Luke love me — he taught me that I was lovable amidst the unplanned chaos of my life at that point. He told me I was beautiful when I didn’t feel beautiful. And that things were going to be okay, when I feared they never would be. And what’s more, he taught me that I was lovable. Just the way I was.
I always thought I would look a certain way, be in a certain career, be making a certain amount of money, when I met my husband-to-be. In short, I thought I’d have my “act together.” And the reality couldn’t have been further from the truth. I had a job at a coffee shop that I hated, was failing a calculus course that I needed to get into grad school, got kicked out of one parent’s house and moved in with the other because I couldn’t afford rent – I was a mess.
And this is when I met my now-husband, Luke.
I’m writing this because I think a lot of us are just so wounded that we don’t think we are truly lovable. We think, “If I just get my act together, if I just fix this about myself, or overcome this personality flaw, or lose that weight then, THEN I can finally be with somebody who could love me.”
But life doesn’t always work like that. We don’t become the perfect package deal and then find our future spouse. Sure, we might have issues that we need to work on to be more capable of a healthy relationship, but truthfully I’ve found some healing comes THROUGH our relationships, be they romantic or otherwise.
Love is someone seeing the deepest, darkest parts of yourself and loving you anyway, and staying to help you through it. Love is someone telling you, just like my husband still does every day, “It’s okay,” when you’ve messed up. But also calling you on to be better. Because love always sees the potential in us for the good, to try again and overcome our faults. But none of us can do that alone. The person you should be looking for, waiting for, to spend the rest of your life with should love you for who you are – a beautiful and imperfect human being. Someone to walk the journey with you, through the unplanned ups and downs, loving you and helping you forward.
And you are worth that love, no matter where you may be at in your life.