If you had told fourteen year old Maren that in ten years she would be engaged, sharing a home and adopting a dog with her fiance, she would have straight up told you to f*ck off.
The idea of letting someone that intimately into my life was quite literally laughable.
I envied girls in high school who were always dating someone, happy and enjoying being young and in love. But I knew that when I truly decided I was ready to love someone, and let myself be loved in return, it would be the real deal.
I’m a bit of an all or nothing type of gal. It’s either free shipping, or I don’t want it. You feel me?
So the idea of wasting my time and energy with a boy, when I knew I wasn’t ready to be loved in the way I deserved, seemed stupid. Don’t get me wrong, I had many a high school crushes, some brief flames and a weird heartbreak that managed to last me four years and into my freshman year of college.
But I think I knew in my heart they would never love me the way I wanted to be loved.
Watching my parents fight for a marriage that was doomed to fall apart, really made it hard for me to open my heart to anyone. It’s rare for anyone to truly know me, because I have perfected the art of being extroverted, engaging and great at casual friendships.
When my fiance walked into my life three years ago, I had absolutely no intention of letting him get to know me. I fought it hard. Tried to put our relationship in the friend-zone with a passion, and it mostly worked. Except that I talked about him all the time, felt like I could always count on him, and I was wrapped in this intense sense of home when he was around.
When I got a flat tire in an unfamiliar place, he was the first person I thought to call. Without any hesitation he came to my aid. Not because he wanted anything from me, but because he truly cared about making sure I was safe, always. And he’s never stopped making sure I am safe, cared for, loved and adored.
I think it’s important for children who grow up watching a bad marriage to understand that it’s ok to want more for ourselves. You deserve to be loved and cared for, to laugh and find moments of intense joy with your partner. You should be best friends with your partner… lord knows you spend most of your time with them! But when you don’t grow up with that image everyday, it’s really hard to think we deserve a best friend and soulmate.
My issues with intimacy are not unique. I know countless friends who share similar stories of struggling to accept the love that is given to us. But we only attract the love we think we deserve. If you believe that you are destined to re-walk the path your parents set as an example, you will walk that path.
Choosing to make the commitment to letting ourselves give and accept love is an intensely vulnerable decision. To give ourselves, in all our raw and unfiltered beauty and despair, is the perhaps the hardest thing we will ever had to endure. But I believe now that without taking that leap, we would never know just how glorious it feels to fall.