We’d been friends for a few months, but then it became clear he was interested in me. He was exactly what I wanted, yet I was terrified to encourage him. Because from what little I knew about him and what vast expanses I knew about myself, it was obvious to me that I was nowhere near good enough for him.
I put up walls with him, afraid he’d get too close to me and then discover what every other boyfriend of mine had – that I wasn’t good enough to be with – and then he’d make his exit from my life (probably by cheating on me), leaving me heartbroken and drowning in self-loathing once more.
This fear followed me throughout the entire time we dated, our entire engagement, and even well into the first year of our marriage.
I kept count of all of the fights we got in, wondering if each one was the final straw. Any argument turned into me pleading for him to not leave me, and when he said he wouldn’t, I’d threaten to leave him first. You know, for self-preservation.
All of this turned on itself during one massive argument toward the end of our first year of marriage. Convinced he was going to leave me, I did it first.
While my husband was crying in a heap on the floor of our living room, I screamed at him and told him I was leaving. I hopped in my car and started driving. I didn’t have anything with me except for my cell phone and purse, so I wasn’t sure where I was going or what was going to happen, but I was certain that I had to get out of there to avoid being left.
But from the second I left the house and took off running, my brain was flooded with sweet memories of us. Him looking at me with those big brown eyes, telling me he thought I was the most beautiful girl in the world. Or that night at the coffee shop when he told me that no other girl had ever really loved him until I came along, and that he could never imagine being with anyone else.
It was as if my brain was screaming at me, “Girl, what the heck are you doing? Are you out of your mind? This guy is crazy about you, and you’re pushing him away for no better reason than being afraid he’ll leave you, when he’s never indicated even a little bit that he would.”
I drove around town for what seemed like an entire day, but it was really only about two hours. I cried and screamed and punched the steering wheel, so angry with myself for intentionally hurting the only man who had ever really cared for me.
When I was tired of crying and driving and had nowhere else to go, I sheepishly returned to my house. So incredibly ashamed, I slowly walked up the stairs to my front porch, quietly pushed the key in the lock, and turned the knob. I’ll never forget what I saw when I opened the door.
My husband was sitting on the floor in the exact same place he had been when I left. He was still crying, but when his eyes met mine, he smiled, and started crying tears of joy.
“You came back!” he exclaimed, and he jumped up to hug me. I was dumbfounded.
“I’m so sorry,” I started to say, but he stopped me. All he said was “I’m just so happy you came back!”
Even at my lowest point, even after all I had done, he valued and wanted me. And even more than that, he forgave me. Like that, our relationship changed forever. That’s not to say that all my insecurities or all our issues were immediately resolved. But because he accepted me despite all of my flaws, I knew that we could work through them together. And we have.
Though the good times and the bad, I remember that moment. Our relationship is much less turbulent now, although we still have disagreements like any other couple. When we argue, I no longer fear he’s going to reject me because of it. I think back and I am reminded that no matter how frustrated he may be, he is committed to me and loves me. I am enough for him.
Unsplash/Priscilla Du Preez