"There have been times when I wanted to give up. And there have been times when I did what I thought was right and it still turned out wrong. These times were not great for me! Yet I look back at these times fondly, not because I enjoyed these seasons, but because of what I learned from my experiences. These experiences made me tough. They gave me the stamina I needed to overcome the future obstacles that life threw me."
These words came from my now 96-year old grandma. Having spent her childhood in a decrepit orphanage and then getting married to a wealthy man who ended up choosing to be polygamous...and choosing to stick it out... grandma knows better than most the meaning of commitment.
At the time of this conversation, my relationship was on the rocks and I desperately wanted to get out. After hearing my complaints and commiserating with me, she told me stories from her marriage that threw me for a loop. Shocked at her revelations, I asked how come her marriage to grandpa seemed perfect when he was alive. She smiled warmly and replied that the road that leads to perfection is often paved with blood, sweat, and tears.
What I saw was the fruit of the latter years of their marriage. This was only possible because of the toil of their earlier years.
The end of a thing is better than its beginning; the patient is spirit is better than the proud in spirit – King Solomon
Thankfully I listened to my grandma and did not give up. I kept the faith that the latter days of my relationship would be better than the earlier, all the while toiling away in the background to perfect the relationship. As faith would have it, the words of King Solomon proved true in my life.
I tell you this story to encourage you not to give up if you are going through a tough time. If you and your partner are both committed to each other and committed to working on yourselves, the latter days of your relationship will be better than the earlier days. See, relationships are tough by nature. They involve two different and ever-changing people with different experiences coming together to try to make a life together. This alone ensures that there will be rough periods to ride out.
Don’t interpret the tough and unhappy times to mean that you and your partner are not meant to be together, interpret it as sign that you need to double-down and get tougher.
I will end with perhaps the best piece of advice my grandma gave me during the hurtful years of my relationship. She said that after exhausting all that I can do in my own power, then I should just stand still, and watch divine providence do only that which it can do. I continued to give my grandma credit for this saying until one day as I read the bible, I found these words:
Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand – Ephesians 6:13
This showed me that even grandma needed a little pick me up when dealing with her relationship woes. If suffering from relationship woes, do not suffer alone but reach out to others for help. I hope this helps you tough it out.
Relationships are tough, so you must be tougher