I feel very eerie about this notion. I love my husband, so much. I love being married, so much. However when I see “#relationshipgoals,” tacked onto a clip of my husband and I dancing, or in the comments of a posted picture, I shudder down my spine. I am flattered, however I also want to grab the person by the shoulders, vigorously shake them, sit them down and then lecture them for at least 3 hours about our story and struggles. Keone and I are married and share a career. We are with each other almost every second of the day. We feel very blessed because we realize it’s unusual to share a career and our lives totally. We did not plan this. I never imagined myself ending up with a Filipino, Christian, half-jock dancer. Never. It simply happened that way, it happened at the right time, and for us, meeting and becoming a couple was a God thing. It continues to be this, but it also is absolutely a hard work thing. God opened the door, yet we had to step through, and we have to keep running.
But why would our version of life being a goal for others bother me? Well it depends on both the motive and interpretation of the onlooker. What you see is us dancing with each other, intertwined, in love. Yes, we are very much in love still, yet it still takes effort. In terms of our creative work together, know that the process to make our choreography is one of exhaustion, differences, arguments, relentless forgiveness, patience, and biting our own tongues. Dancing it is wonderful, yet making it takes so much out of us. So much endurance as a couple. We don’t pull out our phones and snap-chat in the middle of a disagreement because some things are not meant to be shared with others. I hope anyone would realize those dark moments exist. We share the light, but those who have bothered to ask know that the process and path to the light is riddled with obstacles.
Here’s another thing. What is the goal? If the goal is a general goal of marriage then I raise my hat and wave it in the air to you! Marriage can be beautiful. Support, consistency, unconditional love, affection, intimacy, building a life with another person. All of these are amazing blessings that come hand in hand with marriage, but you do not get those unless you ALWAYS WORK at it. Romance is lovely and it pokes it’s head out every now and then, but the longer we are together the more I value the smallest choices he makes and why he is doing them. My heart leaps knowing he is doing that for the future of our family. It’s the times he plops on the couch exhausted because he gave his all that day in what he is best at. It’s the fact that if he’s walking ahead of me, without turning around and looking, he’ll stick his hand back to look for me like a periscope because he wants me at his side. It’s when he asks for my opinion for the tiny and seemingly insignificant decisions throughout the day, and further, that he values and respects that opinion. It’s when I overhear him including me in conversations with other people (pronoun choices boys make a big difference.) Love’s grand gestures are beautiful, but they really don’t mean a thing if not backed up by a array of everyday actions. That is where true love lies. My husband could make some big gorgeous production for me, but most of the time I’d rather just slow dance or two step together. Or do the dishes together. Or just sit on our butts and cuddle our dog. That’s where true free connection lies. Not in the big show.
What breaks my heart is this expectation that someone would dare put on another person. Even if it’s someone they haven’t met yet. You have no idea who will walk into your life. You have no idea who you will team up with. Keone and I are in love, but we’re also on a mission. We sincerely believe we’ve been placed together to dance and point to our Maker. We are not just husband and wife, but a team. We’re supposed to be having an affect on the world and nobody has the right to tell us what or how to do that, but God. Nobody has the right to do that in your life either. Love is a series of choices. A series of choosing yourself second. And if you make the life-long commitment, because YES, marriage should be a lifelong commitment, then you better make sure you are matched up with a person who will go into every type of unknown with you. Who will push you to be better. Who will pick you up when you fail. Who will be strength when you’re weak. Who will keep you grounded, yet confident. Who is not afraid of your messes. And who will let you be that same person for them when they fall short. Relationships are hard – there is no getting around that fact. But it’s the investment, the commitment, the willingness to love when it’s hard to love that makes it strong. If you don’t want this with someone, how dare you try and take their heart. How dare you give yours away to someone who won’t be this for you.
It makes me sad and unnerved to think anyone would pigeon-hold themselves into thinking their life should be just like anyone else’s. We all have purposes. We have parts to play and people to help us get there. However, when it comes to the decision of who you want to live life with in the most intimate way, you must be open to and aware of who YOU are. I knew myself before I met Keone, and then I met God and I found myself even more through Him. I love my husband and our lives weave together, yet each of us is very much our own person. These are the things you can only get glimmers of from youtube videos, instagram posts, and tweets. People are people, and you understand that by knowing someone in PERSON. That will never be replaced. It is a dangerous thing to build expectations in your own life off of what you see from a distance. The fabric of being alive cannot be imitated or rebuilt. It’s precious, individual, and can only be experienced. These are the best things; that which can only be experienced.
So next time you want to #relationshipgoals, or whatever is next after that fad has passed, just remember how human we humans are. It’s absolutely fine to be motivated by others and to have aspirations – however don’t put people higher than they should be. Let them only strengthen you. Know we all have dark struggles, we all have mistakes made, things we wished we didn’t say, and terrifying moments. You will have to find your own, like it or not. Be open to how your time on this earth will unfold – if you are too busy trying to mold your life into somebody else’s you will miss the point. You will miss the beauty that was meant to be yours.