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Grace Over Grievances: Learning How to Love Without Ultimatums

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I’m not one to gush about my him.

Rarely will you find me sharing the latest boyfriend-of-the-year text, posting a “he’s my best friend” social media shout out or bragging about this week’s make-you-melt moments to my friends.

Don’t expect me to proclaim my love from the rooftops or publicly thank him for the man he’s become throughout our years. (That all happens behind closed doors.)

To put it simply, it just isn’t me.

In fact – despite what my therapist might recommend – you’re more likely to catch me declaring my love in the way of sarcastic stabs. You’ll find me agonizing over the way he made the bed or venting to friends – the truth about where we’re at in our 9-year relationship.

You see, the older we grow – and the more time that passes in their presence – the easier it seems to unearth the flaws in those we love most.

When we’ve spent a third of our lives getting to know their unrivaled personality, distinguishing traits and endearing quirks, it seems impossible to kennel our sanity when their actions don’t meet our expectations.

He always takes out the trash, calls after work and is home by 9 p.m. on weekdays. How could he forget to pick the kids, grab the mail or say “I love you” before he left this morning? We can count on him to answer his phone when we need him most and drop everything for our mid-week crisis.

But what happens when he doesn’t?

How do we react when the train veers off the track, rerouting to change its expected course of travel? What happens when – just once – we aren’t the center of his universe? In these moments, who will we become? A supportive spouse or a love-bound lunatic?

After all, he’s the one to play it cool when we show up late after girls night or RSVP to a wedding when he already has plans. She’s the girl who encourages us to stay out with the guys and doesn’t make us pay for it afterwards. Despite the always-inconvenient moments of chaos, he doesn’t hesitate to turn around and light the way home.

And still – through all of that – why is it still so hard to fully grasp what we have and how rare this special bond is?

When we finally pass through the fog of early morning and see our lovers for who they really are, might we ask ourselves this deep-seated question:

How do we give our them the grace to be themselves... and love them wholeheartedly at the same time?

Perhaps, my friend, the answer is firmly rooted in time and practice. And, even more, the deepest compassion we’ve ever known. Coming from a place of unconditional love, might we open our hearts and offer love without ultimatums.

May we choose kindness over retaliation and grace over grievances.

Only then might we realize how often grant give that gift to us.

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