If you know me, you know I was a very patient girl to get to the place of marrying my husband. This year we will be celebrating seven years married, seventeen together. That’s right. You’ve done the math correctly. That means we didn’t get married until we had been together for ten years.
My favorite was when my brother-in-law referred to me as a ninja during his best man speech at our wedding. We all laughed because we knew it was true. Let me tell you, I became the master of learning patience during this time in my life. It was something I had lacked prior to meeting my husband and something I needed to learn.
Something else you should know about me is that I am a child of divorce. Unfortunately, not just one divorce, but multiple divorces for each of my parents. Please know that is not a dig to them. They did the best they could with what they knew at that time. I look at it like this. I had these people in my life during instrumental moments that not only made an impression on the person I am today, but each playing an important part in my story.
This is my truth and what has molded me to be the person I am today.
Giving you this history will help you understand me a little better and the reason behind this post.
Growing up, I was a little girl that longed for love. That craved it. That needed it. That tried to find it wherever she could.
The thing was, I wasn’t exactly sure what “it” was that I was looking for.
As you can imagine, growing up I didn’t really have a clear picture of what a strong, healthy, relationship should look like. And if we are being totally honest here, I actually questioned if I was worthy of something so special. Something as sacred as unconditional love.
At a very young age, I didn’t understand who was “lucky enough” to experience something so rare, that oftentimes, I only saw on tv or in movies.
So when I met my husband, I will admit, I didn’t believe I deserved it. I also didn't know how long it would last. Seventeen years ago, I was a young, imperfect, broken girl who didn’t feel worthy of such a beautiful thing like love.
When he accepted me, my flaws, my brokenness, I continued to wait for that moment he would give up and run. When he accepted my daughter, who wasn’t his by blood, I continued to wonder when he’d leave us both. When he forgave me for my mistakes, or had patience as I continued to grow, I didn’t understand why he stuck around. I didn’t understand why he didn’t walk away. I didn’t understand what he saw in me. He was supposed to leave.
That’s what they do.
Seventeen years later, I find that I still have moments where I am that same scared little girl. Waiting for him to leave. Waiting for him to see the “real me.” Waiting for him to give up on me. To realize that I am not worthy of his love.
The thing is, I know that our love is strong. I know that our relationship has a strong foundation that we have done a lot of work to make as solid as it is. But that doesn’t mean that when mistakes are made that I don’t get triggered and sent right back to my childhood experiences.
“When they get mad, they leave.”
The little girl inside me plays the same narrative over and over anytime we have a conflict.
“One day he’ll leave. One day he’ll see the “real” you. One day he’ll go. One day you will find yourself grieving the loss of him because he gave up on you. It is not a matter of if it will happen, but when it will happen. You are not worthy of the love he is so willingly is trying to give you.”
Harsh, I know, but that is what I tell myself. That is the narrative that plays often.
In my right brain, I know the narrative above stems from my history, but that doesn’t mean that it does not still paralyze me when I am triggered. It does not mean that when we have bumps, because even a healthy, strong relationship has bumps, that I immediately find myself right back in that place of fear of losing him.
“It’s not if, it’s when………”
I have learned more recently with all of the work I have been doing that when the narrative happens, when the fears come into my heart and my head, that the only way to move through them is to name them.
When the noise starts, when it begins to take over, I tell him exactly what it is saying.
“I’ve messed up.”
“I’m not worthy.”
“I don’t deserve you.”
And every single time, with all the love in his heart, he will look at me, directly in my eyes, and speak to my soul, telling me….
“I love you.”
“You’re my everything.”
“I’m so lucky to have you.”
“I’m not going anywhere.”
I have learned over the years, that when shame takes over, when the question of unworthiness fills my heart, that what I need to do is be vulnerable. To communicate. To name it. When I feel judgement, when I feel guilt, when I feel broken, or in a place of possible shame, I tell him.
When cracks are identified in our foundation, we focus on them. We do the work. Even when it’s hard. We heal and we get stronger.
Sometimes I ask myself, what did I do to deserve him. I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciate his patience with me. How he handles me with such kindness and tender love. To this day he continues to teach me about not only patience, but also about grace and compassion. He is modeling what I have always needed and for that I am forever grateful.
He is not what I asked for, because I never in a million years would have thought I deserved something so good. Something so special. Something so sacred. Never did I think that I could be loved the way he loves me.
Now it’s time for me to do the work and learn to love myself as unconditionally as he loves me.
Continue your journey to be the best version of YOU, unapologetically.