You must not know about me, you must not know about me
I could have another you in a minute
Matter of fact, he’ll be here in a minute, baby
You must not know about me, you must not know about me
I can have another you by tomorrow
So don’t you ever for a second get to thinking
Beyonce Knowles. An absolute whirlwind of a woman. A living, breathing masterpiece. She is strong, graceful, eloquent and has provided the perfect soundtrack for all the seasons of my life. The days when I feel fierce; untouchable, on top of the world. The days where I become a recluse, lost in thought about all that could’ve been. Irreplaceable is that song for me. It is so much more than a powerful pop ballad and much deeper than an R&B radio hit. In fact, I firmly believe it surmises in so few words the secret to a long lasting relationship, whether with a friend or significant other. Do not allow yourselves to grow comfortable in complacency.
It is entirely possible to keep that initial spark alive, well beyond the honeymoon period of your relationship. For my partner and I, the honeymoon period saw us giddy and excited. We felt that mix of nerves and anticipation for what may come next on a daily basis. We were never without the butterflies, that’s for sure! It was a time of fun as we’d just begun getting to know each other. We hadn’t yet fallen in love and were still in the early stages of commitment. I was slightly reserved while my partner did the chasing. He tells me off and on that he misses this stage of our relationship but I much prefer the familiarity and comfort that comes with knowing the ins and outs of another person. Of being able to pick up right where you left off without missing a beat. Ultimately, it is the false belief that we are irreplaceable that sees relationships fail. To even begin thinking that another person has invested too much in us to consider leaving is the start of trouble. You may consider complacency in a relationship to reflect feeling so satisfied and secure that you don’t need to try and harder, but it is much more sinister than that. A functioning relationship isn’t synonymous to and doesn’t equate to a relationship in which both partners are thriving. You cannot set your relationship to cruise control or autopilot without risking it falling apart. Most people fail to recognise the complacency in their relationship as it disguises itself in the form of contentment.
A couple of weeks ago my partner and I went through a rocky stage in our long distance relationship. We have been together for close to two years and have fostered a genuine, healthy bond with each other over this time. Rarely do we argue or leave a conversation on an unpleasant note. If there’s anything long distance has taught me, it’s that good communication is key. Going to bed angry or dissatisfied is not an option if we want to maintain the level of connection we have reached. The dilemma faced by my partner and I surrounded how realistic our relationship was and the timeframe we were looking at before an initial meeting was possible. We had broached this topic numerous times in discussion but always looked at it with rose coloured glasses. What match is fifteen thousand kilometres for two people who love each other dearly? No match- so that’s what we continued to tell each other.
While my partner had no misgivings about our relationship and was perfectly happy to press on, I’d grown interested in a friend. I willed myself to think practically and be open to the possibility that our time together was finite. I let my partner know the extent and entirety of my feelings for this other person whilst he and I attempted to come to terms with the fact that our time together may be drawing to a close. While we stayed together, the time we spent in radical honesty became the elixir of life for our relationship. As he so put it, our long talk had rejuvenated and re-energised our relationship; solidified our commitment to each other. The mere thought of losing each other to circumstance brought us both to knees. It felt like grieving, even though there wasn’t a clear split. The basis of this is in attachment theory.
Attachment theory relates to our early relationships with a primary caregiver or maternal/paternal figure. It moulds our expectation of how love should look and be. Our view of ourselves and others is dictated by how available and responsive these caregivers were in meeting our physical and emotional needs. Attachment is defined as an enduring and significant emotional bond between two people in which each seeks closeness and companionship, feeling more secure when in the presence of the attachment figure. Our style of attachment plays out in all aspects of our life and throughout its duration, effecting everything from our partner selection to progression and decline of a relationship. When there is a secure attachment pattern, a person is equipped for readiness and success. They become confident in themselves and stand on their own two feed, assured by their capabilities and reliant on none other. They are capable of meeting both their own needs and those of another.
My partner and I had come to realise that being and remaining by each other’s side was most important. Circumstances change and the obstacles we face in the present moment do not dictate what will happen ultimately. I cannot say what immigration opportunities there will be in the coming years as the current covid situation around the world has thrown a spanner in the works. I cannot say when we will have time to talk between my partner’s personal commitments and mine, however, we are used to change. I may be averse to change but I am entirely familiar with it and have coped time and time again. What we do have going for us is that my partner and I are both night owls- he is American and I am Australian. We have a seventeen hour time difference between us meaning his evening is my afternoon and my evening his morning. We are fairly flexible and have grown accustomed to working with each other’s schedules.
During this period of uncertainty, something my partner said really struck me. He apologised for taking me for granted and allowing himself to be sucked in by meaningless distractions when I should’ve been his sole focus. This issue in particular has bothered me greatly, but I cannot get past the fact that my partner has ADHD. He has communicated this to me before and I understand that it is genuinely harder for him to relegate his time to a single pursuit. We have since found a happy balance and coexist better now that he has resumed taking his medication and I have practiced patience. To be slow to anger is to practice goodness; godliness. The qualities of The Father are boundless in their multiplication and brilliance. We should always make an effort to channel them in our day to day life and dealings with others.
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning, great is thy faithfulness.