- Carissa Woodwyk
He strolled down the school halls like he owned the school. His dark brown hair, wavy mullet to follow, gave the perfect “I am too sexy” look. My eyes were drawn to those black, denim pegged pants, thinking he was the coolest male ever. He was the rebel, the joker, the teaser, the pleaser. And there I was, the new girl, the home-schooled girl, the girl in mauve glasses carrying her flute and wearing her matching navy blue and green whale sweater and turtleneck.
He flirted with me.
He smiled at me.
I thought he liked me.
He didn't like me back.
So, I became friends with his sister.
A decade later, we started dating.
Four and half years later, we got married.
Nine years later, we're still saying, “I DO.”
We laugh, we play, we cuddle, we talk, we fight, we shut down, we retreat, we apologize, we forgive, we repair, we soften...and then we do it all over again and again and again.
We've worked hard. We're still working. We're still learning. We're still discovering...ourselves, one another, what we signed up for.
When we started this, when we started, “ us,” we had no clue what really came with, “I DO.” No clue at all.
Choosing a mate can be exciting and daunting, exhilarating and scary. For many of us, we have this deep desire to spend the rest of our lives with someone – someone who we get to share our entire life with. I mean seriously, the benefits are amazing – companionship, intimacy, fun, protection, advocacy, love, belonging. The list could go on forever! Yet, we all know the statistics on divorce, the breakdowns, the fractures, the splits. We get it. Staying together in this world, this culture, it's hard. Really hard. When we say, “I DO,” we don't ever think it's going to be us. We don't ever want to be one of those statistics. We don't ever want to be the main character on the next Bachelor/Bachelorette show because our love didn't make it.
So, how do we choose? Well?
To stay connected, we have to know how to connect.
To experience trust, we have to know how to cultivate trust.
To offer love, we have had to feel loved.
To work through the disappointment, we've had to learn what to do with it.
To find a mate, we have to have found ourselves.
The dopamine only lasts for a certain amount of time. Yes, the “commitment” hormones kick in, but we have to choose to do the work.
I hope you have practice choosing...connection, respect, trust, love, forgiveness, humility, integrity, sacrifice, grace, perseverance.
I hope you know who you are – the good parts, the hard parts.
I hope you know who God says you are.
And then, have the practice of offering who you are to the world.
Because then, I think you'll know when that same kind of person steps into your world.
Carissa Woodwyk is a writer, speaker, counselor/marriage and family therapist, wife, mom, advocate for the human heart. In each of these roles, she offers her story and voice in ways that invite people to connect with themselves, with others, with God. She is a co-author of Before You Were Mine: Discovering Your Adopted Child's Lifestory. She and her husband have two children and live near Grand Rapids, MI. Read more from Carissa on her blog, catch up with her on facebook and twitter.