Once upon a time, there lived a woman who thought it was her husband’s job to make her happy and feel complete. She let his actions and decisions affect her daily life and basically gave him full control of her emotions so that when things were good with him, she was happy. When things went wrong in the relationship, she felt down, stressed, and during that time, she would start to think about the past and question her relationship, yet she did nothing to change it.
This woman didn’t take responsibility for her actions, never once thought of what she did to hurt her partner but instead was always the victim in her relationship. Always the one hurt, and this led to distrust and, over time, jealousy and hatred. Yet, this woman stayed in her relationship because she needed her husband like we need air to breathe. She couldn’t see a life without him, but not in a loving way; it was more like fear.
Needless to say, that woman was me. Man, that took a lot of work to realize that about myself! It’s hard facing the truth!
Looking back, one of the biggest problems with my relationship was that, Bini was a NEED for me, instead of a WANT. I needed his love to feel validated, and when I didn’t get it, I felt insecure, betrayed, and lonely. OUCH…again very hard facing the truth. I made our relationship mean more to me than I meant to myself. That wasn’t healthy at all, nor was it love. It was fear! Fear of facing life alone, fear of not being loved, fear fear fear.
It’s easy to shed light on our past now that we have both done the work and gotten past the hurt, however, when we were living through it, I was a different person - needy and argumentative, and our relationship felt more like we were simply roommates living in the same house and raising children together.
Then we came to a point where we just needed to separate. The darkest times in our relationship turned out to the best though. During that period, the separation gave us both time to reflect on our actions. More importantly, I faced my fear of being alone and saw that life does exist without him. I started doing things that made me happy and put myself first. It’s during this time that my journey into self-care and self-love began. I realized something significant during those months… I HAD TO LOVE MYSELF FIRST BEFORE ANYONE COULD LOVE ME. Once I realized that crucial point, my life and relationship changed for the better. I learned that Bini couldn’t make me happy, if I wasn’t happy with myself to begin with. No one could because that was my responsibility. Only I can control my emotions and what I let affect me (that’s a hard lesson to grasp, and it comes with learning to love yourself first). You begin that journey by being HONEST with yourself and seeing your life for what it means to you.
I'm not telling you this story today so that you can get a separation and think everything will be fine. That is actually the last thing I want for you. It was hard on everyone including our children (who thankfully were not old enough to truly grasp what was going on). It put a strain on both of us financially, emotionally, and physically and only later worked because we were willing to do the work and reconcile.
Pay attention here: YOUR LIFE IS IMPORTANT! YOU MATTER! YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYTHING IN YOUR LIFE! You will see that more and more as you practice your self-love routine; doing things that make you happy for you, taking time to reflect on your life and owning up to your shortcomings, giving to others, laughing, meditating, prayer, and simply being present to everything that is happening in your life.
Needless to say, Bini and I are now at a place where we can openly talk about anything and work through our emotions. We are growing and learning together in this marriage journey. I hope that through our story, couples can learn from our mistakes.
Today our relationship is based on one essential understanding; we genuinely love one another, and that love is what makes us WANT each other more than anything else. Knowing this keeps our marriage grounded and our trust intact.
I hope this blog helps you or someone you know. If you are going through a rough patch in your relationship, I urge you to talk to your partner about your feelings openly. Be honest with yourself first, though, and look at your actions before going to him/her about theirs.