“Kara, remember how distraught you were when Adam forgot to say you looked beautiful on your first date after his deployment?” My college girlfriend reminded me as we were sitting talking about our relationships with our husbands and reminiscing about how far those relationships have come.
But as I sat there thinking about it, my stomach sank. The memory of feeling hurt that Adam didn’t comment on how I looked came flooding back. My friend was right. I had put in a lot of time getting ready for that date, so when the night ended without a, “You look beautiful,” I was quite hurt. In fact, I let it upset me way more than was appropriate, especially since Adam was just as nervous as I was at that first meeting—and when we’re nervous, we’re bound to forget things.
Thankfully, Adam and I were able to move past that minor hiccup and officially started dating a few weeks later. It was my first experience of being in a relationship, but I had witnessed many of my friends’ relationships, and I had in my head the idea of what a “perfect” relationship looked like. Unfortunately, this also meant that early on in our relationship I easily got discouraged by petty things that didn’t matter—things like Adam forgetting to say I looked beautiful that one time, his smoking habit, issues with his swim trunks, his being totally lost in the kitchen, and getting that tattoo, just to name a few.
Thankfully it didn’t take me too long to see beyond those little things and to realize that Adam possessed the qualities that really mattered. He was intentional, telling me two days after that date that he wanted to “pursue” me. I knew from day one that he was dating to get married. He was honest and sincere. I never had to guess what he was thinking or worry that I was getting “played.”
Adam was a servant, helping me whenever he could by doing the dishes, assisting my move to a new place, and just being an all out gentleman. He was wise, giving me advice on how to make the best out of living in a city I didn’t want to be in. Adam was thoughtful and generous, sending letters at least once a week and care packages during stressful times at work. He even took the time to learn how to cook chicken Parmesan so that he could impress me (practicing the recipe twice on his roommates).
At times it’s embarrassing to look back on my newly-dating self. While it was good to have high expectations for our relationship, they also needed to be realistic. I’m not perfect and Adam is not perfect. It’s going to be impossible for us to have the perfect relationship. Letting go of the little things and focusing instead on how Adam did all of the important things right helped me to appreciate him and our relationship. It allowed me to realize how beautiful and amazing our relationship truly is.