What have I learned after 5 years? I asked myself this question months ago, but I just couldn’t come up with an answer on the spot. I didn’t feel good about my inability to answer. Didn’t I really learn a single thing? Was I just living life for the sake of just living the moment? But it seemed like I have always occupied myself with what to do next? I squeezed my head hard, and still no answer! Until I realized 5 years is a long time. And for me to stress about a simple answer is ridiculous. So I cut myself some slack. And that was the first thing I learned from being with someone!
- Cut people some slack! and most importantly, cut yourself some slack! Allow mistakes. Learn from them. Don’t spend your time dwelling in the way you hurt your partner, or the way they hurt you. You decided to forgive? Then also try to forget! Stop the emotional abuse of reminding yourself and them of the horrible things you went through (I still need practice in this department though). There will come a time when you realize that leaving the bedroom’s door wide open is not the worst thing they’ll do! Let it go. Save your energy for real marital and relationship crisis.
- Respect is key! And most importantly, RESPECT YOURSELF. Lose respect, and everything will start to crumble. The name calling, the shaming and the over-controlling are signs of not being respected enough. Once you start stripping of each other’s honor, love will fade away. Love doesn’t stand a chance if you started calling your partner stupid, or yelled at them in front of people, or didn’t appreciate or take notice of their effort! The ongoing blazing passion in the beginnings will eventually calm down to become blue flamed calm fire that will only burn forever if you keep respect as the number one priority in your relationship.
- Own your problems. They are yours! They’re no one else’s. Therefor, they should never be discussed with anyone, or told to anyone for gossip. Not even the closest person. No one will have the solution for you. You two alone will always have to come up with a solution. You will only worry the people who love you and care for you, or make yourself a joke to those who despise you.
- Family comes first. Since the day I met David, I have struggled juggling between the desires of my family and keeping him happy. He was so understanding about being a secret boyfriend for the longest time. And since we got married, he’s also been compassionate about being away from home. Through all the breakdowns and stress and anxiety attacks, he managed to calm me down and reminding me that I can always just leave back to Saudi Arabia and spend time with them. This was kind of a revelation for me. I had never really thought of how much my family is super duper important! Just when I left to the States, I think I left my heart back in Jeddah!
Those were the most four revelations I have learned worth highlighting. I also learned how we must communicate, and that without communicating properly, nothing will be fixed. For the longest time and still sometimes, we both act like children, we only stir problems while expecting the other to understand our silence, or sarcasm.
I learned that he is only human and hurts as much as I do. I’d always been self-centered when it came to my emotions. It’s one of my flaws still. I expect people to be cautious with my feelings. It is exactly why I, most of the time, keep to myself. I never want to say something that might offend somebody without me realizing that I do.
I learned that hobbies and alone-time are holy! And it would be blasphemous if we tried to step over one another’s time or hobby! But at the same time, we have to think, plan and live for two people from now on. We’re not living as individuals no more. We’re a couple! Every decision should be mutual regarding housing, education and career. It’s a tough one this one. It’s not easy to compromise.
Finally, I learned that I hate BART, and I hate commuting, and that David was right when he never wanted to go to San Francisco on his off days!