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  • Sydney Winegar

One Year Later

I think people tend to misuse relationships.

That's odd to say out loud, but now that I think about it, that's what I have come to see with relationships outside of my own. I have been very blessed in my relationship, and as a Southern Baptist, I have to attribute the credit to God. You might not be into that sort of stuff, but at least hear me when I say that God is the only reason my boyfriend, soon-to-be fiancé and husband, have had a successful relationship that is spiritually and mentally intimate.

God is the only reason Jack and I are in a relationship one year later.

Today, February 12th, is our one-year anniversary. The first time we hung out was on Super Bowl Sunday in 2023, and now here we are, one year later, talking about eloping this summer. Relationships are significant commitments. When you enter a relationship with the mindset of, "I am genuinely interested in this person; I want things to work out," then the entire game changes. If you walk into a relationship with a heart and mind that are willing to change, then chances are your relationship will last. Don't hear me say that you need to change your entire personality and lifestyle for this other person. Still, you need to be willing to cut out bad habits that negatively impact your partner, and you need to be willing to serve your partner not because you have to, but because you want to.

The only reason Jack and I are still together is because we shared the same love for God and were completely sold out for him and because we were both humbled enough to set aside our own selfish wants and desires to help better, love, and uplift the other person. Relationships are tough. There have been many times when Jack and I have argued and debated about what to do. Many times, we have cried because the other person hurt us. We've even cried because we want the other person to be happy and okay, and in that instance, we'd do anything to see the other person better, even if that meant "giving up" or "sacrificing" something for each other.

The way we have come to have a better and more successful relationship is by not looking at things as a "loss" or "sacrifice" but rather an honorable service. It is a service to please and make your significant other happy, and it is a service to get to reassure them of your love for them. One example I can think of such things is when Jack got into the habit of saying "Yes ma'am" to me, and one day, he said "Yes ma'am" to another lady we know, and I was super hurt by that. I asked him not to say "Yes, ma'am" to other ladies apart from me, and you know what the man did? He grabbed my hand and said, "Yes. I will do that for you. I will not say that to other ladies because that phrase is only reserved for you.". That, my friends, is what a healthy, growing relationship is supposed to look like. That takes time, of course. Jack and I were not like that AT ALL at the beginning of our relationship last year, but we have practiced it consistently. We have worked on communicating our feelings, hurts, wants, desires, and thoughts to each other, and we have actively pursued assuring the other person that we love them and that all starts with a selfless heart.

Back to what I said earlier with "people misuse relationships," I say that because when I see relationships outside of my own, I see people breaking up, getting back together, breaking up again, and getting together with a new, different person every single week, and let me tell you it is sad. People don't try in relationships. They think relationships are meant to make them feel better and are supposed to get everything they want in more than one, but that should not be the case. Relationships get uncomfortable. They are complex, but that is the beauty in it. In a relationship, where you are supposed to form a deep, intimate, relational tie with another person in a spiritual, mental, and eventually physical setting, you both must be willing to give up things to gain a stronger and outweighed love for each other. Giving up your video games to spend an extra thirty minutes with your girlfriend before bed should not be a sacrifice that makes you miserable; if you really love your girlfriend and want to see her happy (and you should want to see her happy and better since you are in a relation with her) it should not feel like you are losing your video games, but rather you are gaining time to spend with your girlfriend. You are not losing anything when you change a habit in a relationship, you are gaining the security of a strong and safe relationship with your significant other.

People misuse and ultimately lose and miss out on so many growing opportunities in relationships because they think they don't have to give anything up or "change" at all. People misuse relationships because they think it's all about themselves; that is false. You are in a relationship, a relationship, with another person. It's not all about you; it's about your significant other and then you. I said it once, and I'll say it again. God is the only reason Jack and I were humbled enough to stop thinking selflessly and to serve each other diligently. To you, reader, I ask what you will do now? Do you really love someone? And if you do, are you willing to give up your own selfish wants and desires to better ensure to your partner that your relationship is worth fighting for and protecting?

One year later, one year after practicing selfless service, communication, and humility, Jackson and I are going stronger than ever, but we still mess up. In those moments, however, we get to outshine each other and prove how much we mean to each other by loving, supporting, and "giving up" things to secure each other better. I would encourage anyone who is in a relationship to get into this habit and start actively living it.

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