6 months before he proposed, we almost ended things for good.
I can’t remember what it was about now, because whatever it was, it wasn’t really about that. I know now, it came down to fear. My fear that I wasn’t enough. And his fear, that he would choose the wrong person. Both reasonably rational and equally destructive. Left untended to, one easily and swiftly would have taken out the other. Fear could have stopped us in our tracks. But this is the thing about fear — it doesn’t tell the whole story.
Maybe it won’t turn out like you imagined. And maybe putting your heart on the line means risking rejection. But maybe, when you lay everything down — all of the walls, fears and pretenses — you’ll open yourself up to love in it’s truest, most vulnerable and breathtaking form.
With our wedding only months away now, I’ve learned we weren’t alone in our fear. So often the narrative in our culture urges us, “if we’re unhappy, we must not be in love. Or if it’s hard, we must have chosen the wrong person.” But what if it’s not about right and wrong? What if it’s about waking up and saying yes, every day, over and over again. Yes to your person. Yes to showing up. Yes to the commitment that you made to each other for all your days.
In one of my favorite books, the Meaning of Marriage, Timothy Keller says “you will always marry the ‘wrong’ person.” But don’t panic — that’s not meant to be sad. It’s meant to be freeing!
It doesn’t mean you won’t find the love of your life or always be in love. It means sometimes, you will not feel very loving. It means there will be hard moments and challenging seasons and sleepless nights. It means you will change and grow and transform. You won’t be the same person you were before you entered into marriage. And neither will he. But it means you choose to love anyway. It means they choose to love you anyway.
So you can expect challenges. And you can expect some days to feel like effort, like a conscious decision to choose love.
Love is a feeling, of course. It’s a beautiful, powerful, dizzying force, but it’s more than that. It’s a choice.
A choice to look fear of rejection in the eye and choose to be vulnerable anyway. A choice to loosen your grip on control and offer love without condition. A choice to love another person for all of their wonder and all of their flaws. And a choice to let yourself be loved in return.
There is nothing more freeing than to be able to show up in front of another human as nothing other than yourself.
To set everything down and share the most dazzling, impressive pieces of yourself, right alongside the hidden crevasses of your heart. And to know that no matter what, every day for the rest of your life, they choose you, regardless of your mess. No, they choose you because of those things.
A version of this post was originally written for White Magazine.