It was not the most conventional of relationships.
I always wondered, what would bring these two people together? We differed in upbringing, generation, culture, and worldview- this being just a few items off of a long list of differences. Why did we “work,” when all the cards seemed to be stacked against us?
It started out innocently enough, I love art and so does he. This predisposition is the reason we met. Once upon a time on a day unlike any other, a booming voice rang through the gallery I worked at. “Helloooo!,” came an unidentifiable accented voice. A voice I knew, a voice I was familiar with, a voice I had corresponded with over the phone. And yet I had no idea who this was. I had no idea that the man that this voice belonged to would change my life. This was two years ago.
Today, this man is mine. Our love story may seem simple: man meets woman, they fall in love, they live happily ever after but this is the farthest thing from the truth. Mijn Lief, and though this seems like skewed English, in Dutch- his native language- I am saying “My Dear” and I have had a roller coaster of a ride.
Everyone dreams of the perfect love: We have been brainwashed by the books we’ve read and the movies we’ve watched to believe that love is straightforward and easy. This is usually not the case. Not for me, and not for many others. No one expects love to be hard work, and yet as most people find out: hard work is part of making a relationship work. As a young girl I did not dream that I would meet my dream man and in the end we could not be together. That was never a scenario I even thought about. It was impossible, in my mind. And yet it almost happened.
No one person is perfect. No couple is perfect. No situation is perfect. This was a hard concept for me to grasp having grown up practically living off fictional romance. There were so many times I thought, “this can’t be the man for me.” There were so many times I wanted to give up. There were so many times I thought my life would be better off without him. But each and every time without fail, as soon as any such thought came to me, I felt “off.” This was a case of my brain and heart being misaligned. I couldn’t live without this man. (Please excuse the cheesiness)
We can’t choose who we fall in love with. I just happened to have fallen in love with a man who I shouldn’t have been in love with. And he just happened to fall in love with a woman he shouldn’t have been in love with. And despite everything, we made it work. Why? Because we want it. We took our imperfect relationship for what it was: imperfect. We never pretended it was anything other than what it was. This acceptance of flaws, mistakes, missteps, and hardship is what makes us a stronger couple. This makes us work harder on our relationship. We pay attention to where we are lacking and put more effort there. If for any reason that is not possible we make up for it in other aspects of our relationship. We have a lot of love but it works because we make a conscious effort to make it work.
Today we are even more in love than when we first met. Struggle and strife are still present, they always will be. But we feel victorious. We know how to handle each other and our relationship. And the most beautiful thing is that we got what we wanted, what we fought for: the privilege of being with each other and having “THE” life together, the dream. And I say privilege, because it is.