How Writing Helped Me Love Better

writing

 

It’s been just over a year since I started writing weekly for I Believe In Love–a year full of more learning and change than any before it. It was my first year as a mother and my third as a wife, and so many of the new things I encountered made me frightened about the future and how my relationship with my husband might change through strain and stress and exhaustion.

We’ve had warm, cozy periods, and colder, more distant seasons. Sometimes, it seems that we’re too tired to engage with each other, or we’ve forgotten, in our familiarity, how to make romantic small talk on dates.

My tendency is to try to sort my mixed feelings out on my own, and deal with hurt or frustration privately. But this year, I had an outlet: this column. I’ve tried to be honest and vulnerable in a way that I’ve never been before. Sometimes struggles and discoveries have resonated with members of this community, and I’ve been grateful for the feedback. But even if my columns hadn’t been published or read, they would have helped me.

The act of putting it all on paper meant I was forced to work through everything I was feeling in close-to-real time. More than once, I’ve started with some anger or disappointment I felt toward my husband and wrote until I realized that my selfishness was the real problem. Sometimes, it’s easier for me to write the love and admiration I have for him, instead of expressing it verbally. He reads these columns, too, and it’s been a gift to show him pieces of my heart he hasn’t really seen before.

I’m saying all these things because I expect this to be my last column. With a toddler, another baby on the way, a full-time job, and increasing involvement as a leader in my church community group, I’m finding I have to make hard choices between things I love doing, because there simply isn’t enough time to do them well, as they deserve to be done.

I’ve loved this year of writing and have been blessed by it immeasurably. And I’ve learned, too, from the other iBiL writers who reveal their own struggles and relationship journeys with such vulnerability.

I never knew writing my own stories down would help me so much to make sense of them. I feel cleaner inside as a result of writing; the fears and insecurities and anger that might have otherwise been left to fester are out in the open instead of deep within me. And somehow, they lose much of their negative power when exposed to the open air.

A season may be ending with this column, but I will keep this attitude of openness and, I hope, keep writing about my relationship, too. I am so deeply grateful for this opportunity. And I want to encourage all of you to find a way to express what’s deep inside your heart.

If you’re single and waiting for the man or woman of your dreams to show up, why not write love letters to that future someone or journal your hopes and expectations? I’m certain in future you’ll be glad you did.

And for those in relationships who struggle with communication and openness: I am one of you. I encourage you to find a way to express what you’re feeling in a way that will help you both–whether it’s a journal you both read, wise friends who can give you counsel, or just a standing date, every so often, to share what’s really on your heart.

I wish the best to all in this community, and I want you to know that after a year full of change and many challenges, I still believe in love.

Hope

Is a journalist by trade and a blogger by compulsion. She has reported from the war zone in Afghanistan and from the decks of a war ship, but her biggest adventure -- motherhood -- is just beginning. Hope lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband and baby daughter Laura, who is turning her life upside down. She believes in love because love found her when she was still a skeptic.
Hope

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