I want to share with you a snippet from mine and Heidi’s relationship in the early days. A lot of people think we got it together…the ones who know us know we don’t! But I learned some things along our journey together that I thought I’d share because I see an ever increasing amount of failed Christian relationships and I hope my story can prove that even though the relationship may have gone south…It CAN fly north again…but the road is not easy and it requires longsuffering.
Heidi and I have been together for 10 years. 5 1/2 dating…coming up on our 5 year wedding anniversary. I will be the first to tell you…we should never have stayed together long enough to see this anniversary…well technically we never should have made the wedding, but by the grace of God and a father who modeled earthly marriage commitment we are here today…as in love as ever.
When Heidi and I started dating, she was newly turned 17 and I was 20. Her oldest brother and I had become best friends and quite frankly, she was my best friend’s annoying little sister. There was no interest there, at all. However, nine months into knowing her, something happened…I’m pretty sure that since no girl had showed me any attention in over a year living in Boise, that the first sign of attention from Heidi was a welcome gesture.
Shortly after we started dating, I turned 21. My friends at the time were horrible influences on me and to the bar we went just about every night we had off. Now at first, Heidi didn’t care. She trusted me, but she was bummed I was leaving her behind so often to go out, but never once did she guilt trip me or give me puppy dog eyes to stay with her. I took full advantage of this and was out most nights drinking and carrying on.
I will also point out here that Heidi was on cloud nine and loving our relationship. For me however, because she was still immature, there were a lot of things she did in front of my friends that quite frankly embarassed me. So through this “phase” of our relationship I really didn’t care and she was more of a convenient girlfriend and I hate to say this…potentially temporary depending on how the “clubbin” worked for me so I wasn’t as “High” on the relationship as she was in the beginning.
I like to display this visually with this image
The lines are the indicators. Heidi is up in the relationship…I am down.
Over time, I start being more like my friends and becoming a different person and really started being a jerk to Heidi because again, I really didn’t care. However, she did. Over time the graph changed. Heidi’s relational satisfaction started dropping.
This is a good point to let you know that all this while, I was trying to become a better person so I could make lots of money at my Quixtar business so personal development was super important to me. This is the year I read over 250 books. As Heidi was falling off the “Love Graph”, I had read a couple of books that, in the long run ended up saving our relationship. One was “Leadership and self-deception” and the other was “Attitude is Everything”. I don’t know why but these two books rocked me and opened my eyes to the jerk I’d been. I set out to change and change I did, but was it too late?
The graph shifted…I fell in love with Heidi all over again and really wanted to make the relationship awesome, but she wasn’t on that same page.Now I was high and Heidi was low. We had switched positions which made me changing, that much harder. Now I was trying really hard to be sweet, to say kind things, to do kind things…and she wanted none of it, which was extremely frustrating. If you’ve ever experienced it or seen “Fireproof” you know what I mean. I thought about ending it, but God got ahold of me and said, if you want to know that you can be successful in marriage, you have to treat this relationship as if there is no back door because one thing my dad taught me is your vow is your vow and on your wedding day, when you say that vow…you remove the back doors. So I kept after it.
Things seemed to be getting better after some time…but something interesting happened…I came down off my high because it’s hard to stay there and Heidi came out of her slump because when the relationship is operating the way it should, you can’t stay low, so we met in the middle.
Now the key here isn’t the graph or that I read books….those are parts of the overall scenario. What I want readers to take away from this is that I was on a mission to “be better” to “develop myself” into the man I felt I wanted to be. I was able through the reading of the books to accept responsibility for my actions and attitudes that sent Heidi into the dumps of our relationship. I didn’t try to make excuses or justify my treatment of her. I admitted that I had screwed up and I wanted to be a better man. On the flip side of the coin. Heidi, who had every right to hate me and break up with me allowed me time to become that better man and then accepted me even though I had so wronged her. This, in my opinion, is how a south bound relationship can be sent north. Accept responsibility, set out to change yourself and allow your significant other time to change and then accept the changed person. We did this and we have an amazing relationship now based on realistic standards and a true love and respect. Is it challenged from time to time…absolutely, but we proved we could work through the really hards stuff so we are able to safely navigate the waters of life.