They say you don’t really know yourself until you’re faced with adversity–when the most important thing to you vanishes.
Sometimes, you make time for yourself. You get in your car and you turn the radio’s volume all the way up to its limit. You make tea for yourself right before bed. You write in your journal.
Other times, you have time with yourself. You contemplate the thoughts running through your mind. You sit in the dark with absolute silence. You replay every moment from the last 72 hours. You eat ice cream for dinner.
Eventually, these two situations mold. You numbly watch your favorite television show, and watch the characters go about their lives while knowing nothing of your own. You eventually turn the lights on and sit in silence. You remember to eat a sustainable meal. You remember to pray.
Without the latter, you can never move forward to find what is about to come.
Being in a relationship can be the most honest way to find out the strength of your sense of self.
Do you lose yourself in the whirlwind of emotions? Do you let your partner make every decision? Do you take the reigns every once in a while?
I bet we all imagined our first serious, adult, real relationship: dinners on Friday nights, every holiday and birthday spent with each other’s families, little presents dropped off at each other’s doorsteps before work, and maybe even an occasional coffee date in between college classes or shifts at our new adult jobs.
I know when I dreamed of my first (and hopefully only) adult relationship, I dreamed for these little factors to become regulars in mine.
Sometimes, though, we do not always get the cards we wished we were dealt.
Instead, we get an array of opportunities, a firework on a bleak night.
When I began my kind-of-adult relationship, none of the aforementioned hopeful factors mattered. Why? Well, because we go to colleges in separate states. Trust me, I spent my fair amount of time looking up long distance relationship tips, ideas for how to feel closer when you feel so incredibly far apart, and anything else to make my worn heart feel a little more dapper.
Instead of daily, or even weekly, date nights, I get a warm embrace after being apart for weeks. I get a phone call every day when we are both free so we can let all of our cares flood into each other’s ears. I get a man with an honest heart and a childlike spirit who makes me feel at ease from over two hundred miles away.
See, being in a relationship with someone who lives right down the street throughout the summer is wonderful. We spend time outside, spread blankets on the grass and watch the stars, take a paddleboat out on the water, and finish our days with Ramen and Netflix. Those days were when our fire sparked. The days after were when we put our faithfulness, attraction, friendship, and relationship to the ultimate test, and one like any other we had ever experienced.
Some days we couldn’t stand each other.
When one of us was busy, but the other person wanted to talk, it was easy to get frustrated. It’s hard to understand why someone who you put an incredible amount of effort in cannot make time to even answer a phone call. We all steep to our lowest of lows when we face our biggest challenges sometimes. Sometimes, though, life happens. You have to put down the phone, take a deep breath, call one of your friends, and find some of your own time to enjoy life. It isn’t fun when you wait around by the phone all night.
Rather than arguing about the circumstances in which you find yourself, use this trial to grow together. Anyone can grow apart, but the true warriors grow together and stay together.
Remember the first time you were able to hug your partner after weeks of being apart? It is a feeling unlike any other. All the phone calls, letters, text messages–none of them compared to seeing and hearing each other in person.
When you’re apart, though, it’s hard to remain friends when all you want to do is talk about how much you miss each other. Actively missing each other every minute of every day can become exhausting. You begin to dwell on it, and it overcomes you. It’s not only important to treat your partner like your significant other, but you should also remember one important part of your relationship: your partner becomes your best friend.
This is the person who you laugh and cry with, the person who sees you at your worst, and this is the person who becomes your biggest supporter. Through these aspects, it’s always important to remember you are each other’s best friends. Not every conversation needs to revolve around your undying love for each other, how depressed you are from missing each other, or however you spend your precious amount of time communicating. Take time to talk to each other about your days, ups, downs, and secrets.
After every storm, the sun comes out to play. Your time apart is limited.
Your relationship, though? Well, your relationship can last forever if you let it.
Lauren is a Ball State University alumna with a Bachelor's degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. She enjoys breakfast for dinner with a side of literary enjoyment.