There was a time when the words, “you guys are goals” put a smile on my face. I lived for painting a picture of a perfect relationship. Isn’t that what everyone wants? An Instagram feed with pictures we have strategically chosen, with multiple filters on each, to hide any ‘ugly’ reality so people will think the ‘bad’ just doesn’t exist? Wrong. Real people, want real people. Behind all of the masking I was doing in my life, I was a real girl, in a real relationship. One that has had real highs, and really real lows. A couple that has had so many individual struggles and victories, all leading us to this very moment. Two people that have made an incredible team together, but at times have let the other down.
Why have I been so ashamed to admit I’m not perfect or my relationship isn’t perfect? It comes down to realizing perfect. doesn’t. exist. Man, that’s hard to realize when all we do is surround ourselves with fake perfection. We follow people on social media and envy everything they have, without knowing who they even are. We listen to the voices telling us how we should view beauty, how we should act in order to be accepted, and what our relationships should look like (thanks Nicholas Sparks). We subconsciously start comparing our lives and our relationships to the ones we see on social media, on TV or even in the movies. Y’all; have you ever found a cookie recipe on Pinterest and tried to recreate it? I’m the queen of, “nailed it” moments when it comes to Pinterest. My cookies never look like Martha’s but that doesn’t matter when someone says, “this is the best cookie I’ve ever had.” You see where I’m going here? Our lives don’t have to look perfect to be fulfilling. We all know Martha had professional photographers, a grade A oven and picked the 5 best cookies out of the 3 dozen she made anyways (no shade girl, love your recipes).
It has taken me years to learn the true meaning of authenticity. A word that has changed my life. I’ve learned that a relationship that experiences challenges isn’t one to be ashamed of. The relationships I look up to have all confessed to surviving some really difficult times. Those times don’t always come 15 years down the road after you’re married. Sometimes, they happen during seasons that we have been led to believe should be the “happiest times of our lives.” Does that mean we have failed? Does that mean that happiness isn’t meant for us? Nope. We are just living in an age where it is so easy to access a world where the things we share are picture perfect. Leading us to believe, at times, we are the only ones without an exciting, beautiful, or perfect life.
So, what happened when I ripped off the mask and allowed myself to blow the horn as the new conductor on the hot mess express I’ve been riding my whole life? Everything. Everything I wanted in life started to happen. Genuine connections with people, a deep-rooted happiness I hadn’t felt before, and I started to become a person I was pretty proud to be. For the first time in my life I am truly comfortable in my own skin. I was so busy trying to be something I thought I HAD to be that I was confused who was really me and who wasn’t. That’s a gross place to be. I’ve said it other places but I felt a pressure to be perfect for the sole fact that Nick was a baseball player. I thought I needed to look a certain way or have a certain job title to be “worthy” of my relationship. Once I learned how wrong I has for feeling that and tossed those feelings out the window like an old piece of chewing gum, I’ve been able to let people see the real things that make me enough. Now, that doesn’t mean people still don’t have their opinions about me and my relationship but those are THEIR feelings to feel. The people I have connected with through authenticity are THE most incredible people I’ve ever met. Trust me, the people you want to sit down and have a cup of coffee with are the ones that don’t care if you haven’t had time to get your nails done or if your Instagram feed is cohesive.
I’ve found it difficult with my social media to find the balance of showing how proud I am of how far we’ve come, while still acknowledging the battles we’ve fought to get here. This relationship isn’t something I’ve always been proud of, but the marriage we have today is the proudest I’ve ever felt about something.
Choosing to be authentic has opened a door that allows people to see my relationship isn’t spared just because of the lifestyle we are in. We are just as prone to the heartaches of the world and we have felt some of the heartache life has to offer. We have worked really hard to become the people we are today and have learned the hard way the pain that can come from not having a Christ centered relationship. Putting Nick first is setting him up for failure in our marriage. As hard as he tries to be the perfect husband, and as close as he comes, he will always be as human as the rest of us (Jack Pearson anyone?)
We’ve all heard it before, relationships take work. Whether it’s friendships, dating or marriage each of these relationships need to be tended to in order to grow. Which brings us to asking for help. How are we supposed to know how to handle some of the curveballs life throws? One of the best things Nick and I did is invest our time and money into Christian marriage counselor. Someone that through the ups and the downs can give us tools to put in our tool belt. When the time comes that we need one of those tools to fix something in our lives, we have it. Marriage counseling does not mean you are failing, it means you are willing to prepare yourself and your relationship for the challenges you WILL face because you don’t want to fail.
I always think of what I’ll tell my children one day when I see them gushing over a romantic fairytale love or envying that Instagram couple that are #goals. I want them to know love is real. I want them to believe that God has made someone that fits their heart so perfectly the thought of that piece missing brings you to tears. I also want them to know that there isn’t a human in the world that is perfect. There isn’t a relationship in this world that is perfect because we are human. As imperfect humans, we have the horrible ability to hurt people we love with our words or with our actions. I want my children to know a beautiful relationship can be messy, complicated, confusing and boring at times. The beauty in the pain is there is opportunity for massive amounts of growth and through growth comes the deepest forms of love IF you are willing to put in the work.
My hope is when people look at Nick and I they don’t admire us because we make our lives look so perfect that we become the unrelatable ‘goals’ we are all so used to seeing. Instead, I hope people see an imperfect couple that have chosen to not live behind the mask of lies telling us we aren’t enough if at times our lives are messy. I would much rather someone look up to us because we are honest about the amount of WORK we have put into our relationship over being #goals because we wore a mask and made it look like love and life is always easy.
Thankful for you,
The Baseball Gypsy