With Valentine’s Day so close and one of our Behaviorists so recently engaged (huge congrats, Laurie and Chris!), I thought it would be fun to check in with each of our Behaviorists in a long-term, committed relationship. I wanted to know how different women mentally prepare themselves for that in-it-for-the-long-haul type of love.
Here’s what they each had to say.
It seems like just yesterday I started writing for Model Behaviors. My bio was posted recounting the beginning of my journey of rediscovery after a recent breakup. I was raw, open, and fresh into healing. So I wrote, and wrote, and wrote some more, channeling all of my pain, hopes, dreams, and critical analysis into writing and into myself. I was putting energy into the universe that would eventually lead me to my partner, my love, and my best friend.
I got ready for this relationship by learning to fully and unapologetically love ME. I honed in on all the things I wanted in my life and the love I wanted to cultivate. Then I became that for myself. I got honest about the things I was struggling with (and still struggle with), I removed unhealthy habits and people from my life, and I sent liberatory love out into the world, expecting nothing in return but gaining all the best things along the way.
On Friday February 13, 2014 I sent a message on Facebook to the man who would become my partner in the work of social justice and my partner in life. It was the luckiest day of my year.
“I love myself. The quietest, simplest, most powerful revolution ever.” – Nayyirah Waheed
I knew myself and what I believed. A healthy, committed relationship will demand sacrifice, but I needed this strong foundation to build on. My relationship with my husband is dependent on our individual faith, submission, and relationship with God. We don’t have a perfect marriage, just like we’re not perfect people, but we’re in it together as a team on our journey.
I’m definitely a planner and a prepper. For everything. But I’m not sure I ever consciously, specifically prepared myself to be in a relationship. I learned lessons and gathered tools through past relationships that I think all came together in a meaningful way and finally made sense when I met my husband. I was unknowingly preparing myself to be a partner for many years through experiences, trials, and sometimes failures. And still each day I come across things in my marriage and friendships that force me to think harder and dig deeper.
For me personally, I don’t believe a relationship of any kind is something I could ever have been 100% prepared for. Each one is so different and constantly evolving.
Kellen and I began dating in 2013, and I quickly fell head over heels! For us, the key to maintaining a healthy, successful, and committed relationship is communication, trust, and allowing God to be at the center of it all.
At the beginning, mentally, I prepared myself by writing down what I wanted in a husband, hammering down my intentions and asking myself, “Is this something that could last forever or is it just something that is fun right now?” I had to know in my heart, and I needed to answer without a doubt that, “Yes, this could be forever,” in order for our relationship grow, flourish, and become something serious, instead of just another fling.
For two years we were together in Kansas City, but then I moved to San Antonio for my job, so for the last ten months we’ve been dating long distance. It’s difficult and sometimes painful, but it’s one of those tests that will make or break your relationship. For us, it’s helped both of us grow as individuals, strengthened our relationship, definitely made the heart grow fonder, and has helped us to further improve our communication skills and our trust in one another, all while maintaining God at the center of our hearts.
Before I even met my fiancé Chris for our first date, I mentally prepared myself. I knew exactly what I needed from a mate and more importantly, what I deserved! People will tell you who they are right from the beginning, so I was looking for all the clues that would let me know whether or not he exuded integrity, loyalty, dedication, trust and had a big heart. I promised myself to pay very close attention to my instincts and trust whether or not I had the feeling that I was “at home” with this man.
From the moment I met him, Chris consistently showed genuine interest in wanting to connect and truly get to know me, and he let me get to know all the wonderful things that made him who he is too. All the scars, lessons, accomplishments, and treasures. After twenty-one months of dating, he proposed, and I’ve never been more excited and confident about saying YES to sharing my life with someone! We are truly blessed.
After ending a pretty tumultuous relationship, I knew everything that I absolutely didn’t want. Because I knew that relationships didn’t have to take a lot of work and that real love didn’t have to be so difficult. But who wants to meet someone on the defensive—with a series of do-not-pass-go’s? For me, being open for a healthy kind of love meant ditching that old mindset of what I didn’t want and developing a new one of what I did want and need in a lifemate. And being deserving of those things meant that I too had to bring them to the table.
Which led me to the creation of my four-question test: 1) could I roll over and look at this person for the rest of my life? 2) Could this man be the father of my future children? 3) If something were to happen to me, would this person want to take care of me and vice versa? 4) Lastly, does he believe—in me, God, something more in life—and live it?
Though I didn’t have much of a test audience, I’m still one for one. I call that a success.
How did you find what you were looking for? Or, how will you find what you’re looking for? We’d love to know…