Me and Danielle’s story
Updated: 7 days ago
“Nothing is perfect. Life is messy. Relationships are complex. Outcomes are uncertain. People are irrational.” - Pietro Aretino
Danielle and I met at a camp the church I pastor at puts on every summer, called Beach Retreat. We were involved in a shared task at the camp, which is where our conversations began. We connected instantly.
After Beach Retreat, I asked her out to lunch and we hit it off there as well. From that point, we hung out a few times and eventually started dating.
The beginning of our relationship was not perfect, but it wasn’t terrible either. We got into some arguments here and there but overall were a happy couple.
As time went on though, true colors started to show on my end. I’ve always had a tendency towards control, anger and a lack of trust.
This led to the rare arguing growing more and more consistent. It seemed like several times a week there was an issue - most of which I would bring up or point out.
I didn’t know at the time, but they were my attempts at controlling her.
What is strange though is that we still prayed, kept purity a priority, read the Bible together and did all the good Christian stuff - yet our relationship was still falling apart.
After many months of this relational turmoil, we started facing a myriad of external issues as well - all just increasing the pressure on our already strained relationship.
So, in August of 2019, after a year of difficulties and a mentor couples’ advice - we broke up. Our relationship was not healthy at all. There were trust issues, anger issues and more - mainly from my end. It needed to happen as much as we didn’t want it to.
It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to endure and I do not say that lightly.
Yet, there was hope. We broke up thinking after some time apart, maybe we could fix our issues and come back together again some day. We told hardly anyone.
We both sought professional counseling. Specifically for me, I had battled so much trauma in my past (I talk about this trauma in my other blogs) that it was resulting in the unhealthy behavior in the relationship.
Behaviors like the lacking trust, desiring control and not maintaining a cool head in most situations. It’s always who I have been, it just never surfaced until I found myself in an intimate, close relationship.
So, what I thought would be a few counseling sessions turned into 8 months’ worth of EMDR trauma therapy (google it).
During this time, Danielle was also dealing with her mental health snares. In which she conquered by the grace of God and support of her counselor.
Long story short, we finished counseling and slowly started communicating consistently again.
And after 9 months, lots of prayer and tons therapy - we made the decision to move forward as a couple again.
We were of course excited, but still cautious to not drift back into the place we had worked so hard to crawl out of. We even did counseling as a couple for awhile to mitigate the risk.
But, after all of that, nearly 2 1/2 years from our first meeting at a church camp, I proposed and asked her to marry me... and she even said yes!
Our relationship has had its difficulties and is full of complexities. But through that, God molded us into the couple He has called us to be.
The flat out truth is this: getting engaged was easy, having a healthy relationship is hard.
Pictures, post and wedding planning is cool, but it has nothing to do with relational health.
Real relational health is built behind the scenes and takes WORK. Nothing of value is without work.
And we continue to work every day with the empowerment of our Father and support of loved ones to continue to progress as a couple.