It's really easy to get lost in the idea of what a relationship should look like. It's easy to be swept up in Instagram hashtags, Facebook videos and flipagrams of relationship goals. There is truth in the idea that you should always celebrate your partner, you should hold hands and go out to dinners to reconnect but that's not all love is.
Love is living in the dark moments. Love is showing up at all hours.
I came from a relationship that looked good on paper, we took pictures and I posted almost religiously about how great things were. Little did anyone know about what was actually happening. We were fighting like it was our job, not talking for days even though we were living together. I was afraid to ask for help- I was afraid to admit when I was in over my head, afraid to lean on my partner for guidance or reassurance because I didn't want to open another can of worms to another night of arguing. I got used to being independent, there is nothing wrong with independence but you also cannot think you can carry the weight of an entire family unit on one set of shoulders.
I got tired and resentful and angry and I let myself be beaten down by the day. I had to let go of all that weight.
I didn't know the difference in what I was feeling until I finally solidified my relationship; Until I found my 2am person. I found a man who would (and has) dropped everything to come jump my car, who calls to ask about my day, who has sat with me on the side of the road just to wait for a tow truck because according to him no lady should stand alone on the highway. It was a flat tire and it was in broad daylight but I appreciate the sentiment. This man is selfless in order to make sure that I am selfish on my own behalf. He sees me when I'm overwhelmed and he wraps his arms around me and promises me that I'm okay even on days I don't believe it. He has sang to me in my driveway with company just to make me laugh, he includes me when he goes with friends and family. He fits in at Christmas and I don't have to monitor him around my family. He'll spend hours in the car with my dad on the way to family vacation because there isn't room for us to sit together. He sacrifices for me and for a daughter that he claims but biologically isn't his. He puts the car seat in and starts the car so it's warm by the time we walk outside. If I ever needed help he is the first one I'd call. He holds me when tears are streaming, shows up in the driveway just for a kiss. He worries about me if I don't respond- he encourages me to take a breath and shift my focus to the positive. It's the easiest thing I've ever done to love him.
We take pictures and we go out to dinners, I have videos of him singing and snoring and being so incredibly silly. What those small blips of the day don't show are the times he's dried my tears, the times I've fallen asleep in his lap while he still manages to entertain my toddler. We problem solve and we make adult decisions. We plan and map out our lives together. We take interest in each other's hobbies. You won't see all the ugly moments and that doesn't mean they don't exist, it means that we live through those. We are not perfect, we don't always agree on how things should be handled but we have a love that works a lot of overtime, a love that stays late and comes in early. A love that lives on through the mess and chaos. A love that will handle grief and heartbreak and curve balls. The kind of love that answers the phone at 2am.