The Secret To A Long Lasting Relationship

The Secret To A Long Lasting Relationship

Everybody wants it; but, not everyone is willing to work for it.

We live in a society where caring about someone too much is looked down upon. High school boys should not express their feelings, and girls are too crazy to deal with. The goal for love is quantity over quality and being tied down is looked at as a bad thing.

Before I say anything let me express this: There is no right or wrong way to love. The definition of love: an intense feeling of deep affection. Yes, I do love my dog. Yes, I do love grilled cheese. Yes, I do love a boy.

Guess what? None of these things concern anyone else. It's not a concern because the definition of love, an intense feeling of deep affection, cannot be felt by others what I am feeling.

Constantly, we are comparing our relationships to others, to movies, etc. Here's a secret: No couple has the perfect relationship.

They don't tell you what happens after the movie ends. He becomes an abusive drunk, or she starts to sleep around with everyone at the office. They seem like the perfect couple so that is what we crave. We become fixated on these "fairy-tales" portrayed by the media. When you watch "The Longest Ride" you want to end up with a cowboy. When you watch "10 Things I Hate About You" you want to be the girl that changes the bad boy. Movies, books, and shows simply end. Relationships will go on as long as you will let them. The movies do not show you how the man comes home from work and is pissed off that supper is not ready; then, she throws a fit because he never does the dishes. One of them ends up sleeping on the couch, and even after they make up, they will probably end up having the same fight three weeks later.

In a long term relationship, you will start to have those doubts. "Are we together because we are supposed to be, or are we together just because we have been for 6 years?" Things are going to get boring. The honeymoon stage cannot last for an eternity. However, it will become boring and stressful with any one person you are with. Do not think "What if someone out there is better?" because what is better? You may end up with someone who doesn't drink every night, but you just lost the faithful husband who drinks every once in awhile to be with the sober guy that gets around.

The saddest thing of all is that the things that we fell in love with tend to become the reason for our annoyance. You may have fallen in love with the way he snored and you thought it was so adorable. Now, it is merely the reason for your lack of sleep. You may have fallen in love with the way she was so generous. Now when she donates to charity you are furious that she consistently gives all your money away. I hope that in your relationship you can find the good out of all the bad that you first fell in love with.

People are going to mistakes. Whether you forgive them or not is your choice. However, "better" does not exist. One human being is not better than another. We are merely different.

Although I say this, there are circumstances that couples should not last. If you simply do not love them, if your trust is broken beyond repair, if they abuse you, or if they only choose themselves. However, every relationship is different. The most uncanny relationships work out, and the perfect couples are crumbling behind the scenes.

There is something that I was once told that changed my view on relationships and how I act in them.

One day, I met an elderly couple that was still head over heels for each other. She lived in a hospital bed where nurses and doctors took care of her daily needs. This may seem lonely, however, she was rarely alone. Every day her husband came to the hospital and waited for her to get up, and he left after she fell asleep. Making small talk, I asked "So, how long have you two love birds been together," and she said "Over sixty years."

The curiosity got the best of me when I asked, "How? Can you tell me your secret?" I joked that my boyfriend and I had been together for about a year at this time, and most days I did not know how to handle him. They looked at each other and smiled.

"Just take it one step at a time... One day at a time. You will have your good days, but you will also have your bad days. One day at a time."

Ever since then, I have pondered what she revealed to me. In this busy life we get so ahead of ourselves. We plan out the future when in reality we do not know what the next hour holds. We worry about the future as if it is promised.

No relationship is perfect, because there is not a single soul who is flawless. We make mistakes, because we are human. Everyone has their good days, and days where we all fall short of the reasons someone fell in love with us.

Just take it one step at a time. One day at a time.

Cover Image Credit: NevenaBK

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To The Girl Who Had A Plan

A letter to the girl whose life is not going according to her plan.
“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” - William Ernest Henley

Since we were little girls we have been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We responded with astronauts, teachers, presidents, nurses, etc. Then we start growing up, and our plans change.

In middle school, our plans were molded based on our friends and whatever was cool at the time. Eventually, we went to high school and this question became serious, along with some others: “What are your plans for college?” “What are you going to major in?” “When do you think you’ll get married?” “Are you going to stay friends with your friends?” We are bombarded with these questions we are supposed to have answers to, so we start making plans.

Plans, like going to college with our best friends and getting a degree we’ve been dreaming about. Plans, to get married as soon as we can. We make plans for how to lose weight and get healthy. We make plans for our weddings and children.

SEE ALSO: 19 Pieces Of Advice From A Soon-To-Be 20-Year-Old

We fill our Pinterest boards with these dreams and hopes that we have, which are really great things to do, but what happens when you don’t get into that college? What happens when your best friend chooses to go somewhere else? Or, what if you don’t get the scholarship you need or the awards you thought you deserved. Maybe, the guy you thought you would marry breaks your heart. You might gain a few pounds instead of losing them. Your parents get divorced. Someone you love gets cancer. You don’t get the grades you need. You don’t make that collegiate sports team. The sorority you’re a legacy to, drops you. You didn’t get the job or internship you applied for. What happens to you when this plan doesn’t go your way?

I’ve been there.

The answer for that is “I have this hope that is an anchor for my soul.” Soon we all realize we are not the captain of our fate. We don’t have everything under control nor will we ever have control of every situation in our lives. But, there is someone who is working all things together for the good of those who love him, who has a plan and a purpose for the lives of his children. His name is Jesus. When life takes a turn you aren’t expecting, those are the times you have to cling to Him the tightest, trusting that His plan is what is best. That is easier said than done, but keep pursuing Him. I have found in my life that His plans were always better than mine, and slowly He’s revealing that to me.

The end of your plan isn’t the end of your life. There is more out there. You may not be the captain of your fate, but you can be the master of your soul. You can choose to be happy despite your circumstances. You can change directions at any point and go a different way. You can take the bad and make something beautiful out of it, if you allow God to work in your heart.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Patiently Waiting With An Impatient Heart

So, make the best of that school you did get in to. Own it. Make new friends- you may find they are better than the old ones. Apply for more scholarships, or get a job. Move on from the guy that broke your heart; he does not deserve you. God has a guy lined up for you who will love you completely. Spend all the time you can with the loved one with cancer. Pray, pray hard for healing. Study more. Apply for more jobs, or try to spend your summer serving others instead. Join a different club or get involved in other organizations on campus. Find your delight first in God and then pursue other activities that make you happy; He will give you the desires of your heart.

My friend, it is going to be OK.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Beavers Photography

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Change, Change, Go Away...

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Change sucks.

I've gone most of my life convincing others (and myself) that "I love change!"

Or saying "I like to think I'm adaptable, so spontaneity is something I love."

To give you the cold, hard and honest truth: All of that is a bunch of shit. Aside from when I still wore diapers, I have never been more full of shit than when I say these things.

There comes a time in life when we grow tired of our own lies and until that point, nothing generally changes. Except, change sucks, right?

I like when the weather changes from freezing cold to invitingly warm.

I like when someone else changes my sheets for me and I don't have to jump and sprawl my 5'3" body to secure the fitted sheet onto the farthest corner of the bed (which generally ends unsuccessfully).

I really like it when the stoplight changes from red to green (because I have a need for speed).

I even like when someone asks to change seats with me on a flight because the reality is that there is no such thing as a good seat on a flight. If you're on the window, you can't get up easily (but you can rest your head) and if you're on the aisle, you can sit there and get up as much as you want, as long as you don't mind your elbow being taken out from under your head while you sleep every time the drink cart passes by.

The point is, these trivial changes are fine, expected and some can even be enjoyable.

It's the changes that we do not expect, the ones that go against our status quo and our life flow, that knock us off balance and send us into a spiral of confusion, excess chocolate consumption and challenge.

As I've mentioned in previous articles, I am a big believer that all stress is a result of something being different than what we want or expect.

Big changes are no exception to this stress.

The coolest, most amazing, incredibly awe-inspiring part about life is that change is possible. Everything around us, at all times, is constantly changing. Unfortunately, this means that we too are subject to this change.

So, what kind of change am I talking about?

Am I talking about the change in your pocket you thought you lost and then found? No.

After all, nobody likes to lose anything besides weight these days.

And to that point, our bodies are constantly changing too. Our hair, our face, our skin, everything physical about us. These are the types of changes I'm talking about. Our relationships change, our jobs, our friends, our understandings of life, all of this changes. These are the big guys, the "uh-ohs," the "I didn't want to learn another life lesson this week" kind of changes.

However, despite the fact that I am 21 and those of you reading this are a range of ages (which I am so grateful for), one of the many qualities that unite us is that we have all experienced change.

Individuals of all ages experience loss and grief. Death plays no favorites and spares no ages. Physical changes happen to all age groups too. Life changes that alter our emotions and mental states are constantly happening to everyone, at all times.

The last three years of my life have been laden with changes. More specifically, the last six months have mentally worn me out but there's a quote that I keep going back to that my mom shared with me over the summer, it says: "an arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means it's going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming."

If you want to rearrange it, you've got to change it.

My hope is that we realize that we don't have to love change. In fact, we don't even have to embrace it because some changes are just too tough. What we do need to do is hold on and keep aiming and acknowledge the fact that we all are constantly going through changes.

Whether we talk about those changes or not, they're present because they are a sure fact of this wildly amazing life we live. One of the few things that remain constant in this life is the fact that things will constantly change.

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