We just made the first mature decision of our young lives, to break up.
There were a few tears, but surprisingly, overwhelming peace. At the end of it all, we knew we had made the right decision. But it was definitely a rough night...
I remember it well. Sitting in his car in a sweet little Southern California neighborhood near our college campus, I told my boyfriend, David, that something had to change. I thought that we had to either take a break or break up. Thinking and hoping that he would say that we needed a break, he said the two words that cut me like a knife and hit me like a ton of bricks. He told me that we needed to “break up”. I told him that I could see our future together. I pointed to a nearby house and said I could see a life with him, and a family (which, let's be honest, probably scared him more), but in the end we both agreed that this was the best decision. Our relationship was a mess, and something needed to change. So just like that, we broke it off. Oddly enough, for as much arguing and fighting that had filled our relationship up to that point, we didn’t fight once that night. There was only peace.
He drove me back to my college dorm, and as I said goodbye, I told him, “I just want you to know, what we had was real”. And for me it was. David was my first kiss, my first boyfriend, my first real love, but that February night, he became my first breakup.
No one can really prepare you for the devastation of a break up.
There were moments I felt like I was drowning and couldn’t find air to breathe. There were moments my girlfriends had to drag me out of my dorm room so that I would eat something. There were moments I saw him on campus and thought I would pass out and throw up at the same time. I didn’t know that I was capable of loving someone so much, and I didn’t know how much this would hurt. But as devastated as I was, I saw the reality that while we were together, our relationship was unhealthy and broken. I pictured a man who would fall head-over-heels for me, and he pictured a secure confident woman. We were 19, and neither of those things. I was needy and insecure, he was selfish and immature, character traits that we used as weapons to hurt each other. We both knew something wasn't right. The reality was, I was going to a man to fulfill me in ways he just could not. A man who was just as flawed as me, a man who was not built to fulfill the deepest parts of my life.
Our breakup ended up being the best thing that happened to us.
Our breakup gave us time and space, time to heal and realize our own brokenness, space to be counseled, encouraged, and grow. Sometimes, when you let go of the thing (or person) that you cling to so tightly, it can provide real freedom. Sometimes a good and healthy move in a realtionship can be really hard, but by walking through real pain, you can find real power. I did some hard deep work that winter, realizing how broken I was. I realized that the expectations I was putting on David were simply not realistic. I let go of my expectations and forgave him for the hurt he caused me. Forgiveness set me free.
If you are going through a difficult time in a relationship, remember that every moment of pain can be worked out for good in both of your lives. It can make you stronger if you allow it to. The worst thing to happen to you can turn into the best thing. The dark night may seem like forever, but the sun can come shining in at any moment. And that’s exactly what happened. After David and I had a good amount of time to reflect and process where we needed to grow, we decided to get back together. There was a purpose through all the pain, because on September 28, 2013, we were married. But we never would have gotten there without the pain, the heartache, and the hard work of evaluating ourselves. That was the key part of the process which led us to make the most important promise of our lives.