Relationships / Welcome To Our Marriage

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Strength In Our Choices. 

First impressions: 
Aaron - 'What first drew me to Hollyanne was how fun she was, she wasn't boring in any way, so bubbly and lively (not to mention how hot she was!) however, in all seriousness, I saw her faith in God and there was something different about it, she had an air of adventure about her, she wanted to adventure and it was inspired by her faith.' 
Hollyanne - "What first drew me to Aaron was undoubtedly his 'realness'. To me he stood out from every other boy in the room (...I was 13 at the time, how cheesy!) anyway - little did I know that he would end up being my husband someday. When I was 18 and we were staying with friends up near the North Coast, I pretty much fell in love with him all over again, he had been away in London for a year previous and something had changed in him that I really appreciated - he was more free and had a genuine spirit. Plus he always made me laugh! Never failed to."

You're probably wondering why we've decided to do this post together, and to be honest i'm not quite sure what has lead me to do it either. 

The topic of relationship's is such a big one, and no doubt, it is on the minds of many. 
We were made for relationship. 
My faith has taught me that. 
Relationships and marriage as concepts are fragile to say the least - 
their purpose is 'misconstrued' in todays society over and over again 
& the beauty of relating to another is sometimes crowded.
 It becomes a list of boxes that a potential spouse (or anyone in our lives for that matter
need to live up to. 

But I guess this post is about going back to the core of a relationship. 

A stripped back, authentic look at relationship. 

Two people who connected and who then went on to work together, 
stick by each other, commit to each other (over and over again)
pursue each other's well-being
 and make mistakes... together. 

You see it wasn't the perfection of the relationship, 
it was the choices we made which have moulded us. 

I'll say this now, if you take anything from this post - let it be choices.

These choices have brought a special kind of strength to us as individuals and together as a couple. 

The connection, the feelings, the emotion of happiness - they aren't permanent.
Realistically these things are very much fleeting
The connection you have with another person, is something that you work hard to 'maintain' 
and in saying that, 'maintaining' isn't even the right word 
- growing it is more like it!

 I do firmly believe the connection with another person will develop and change over time.

The clincher is the choice to work at it. 

To not see it as something that, if left alone, will always be there when you want it to be. 
No, it won't be. 
You must nurture it.

At the end of the day, romance, love, relationships and marriage, 
come down to a series of sincere choices. 

Which brings us on to the two 'bookends' of our relationship: 

I took myself off for five months at the age of 18 to complete a DTS with YWAM, after the first three months of being together. Our relationship was only a 'baby'!

Nearly four years later, the present first year of our marriage, which as expected, has been a significant one (no surprises there!) 

So we decided these things would help us give you some insight into our personal 'story' as a couple.
In some way, we hope that being real with you will empower other couples to seek a strength in your relationship, the strength that will stick. 
& if you're not in a relationship, that it will encourage you in what a relationship could be for you when you find that right person. 

Hollyanne on 'one': 

The choices we had to make during those five months that I was away were difficult. 
Our relationship was just beginning and yet we had to in some way grow it while being apart, 
all the while, I was completing an intense time of training. 

If anything, this experience was going to be a make it or break it. 

Many DTS students arrive at YWAM with boyfriends/girlfriends back home, some graduate with their relationship still in tact, but (as warned by my mentors) many don't. 
It's one of those experiences which forces you to choose whether this person was worth it, 
whether this person was for life. 

What helped me choose was this: 
I was developing as a person, I was experiencing cultures and people in unknown territories, I was changing... (as you would with a once in a lifetime opportunity) but even throughout this, Aaron stuck with me, he walked with me, he related to me, he adjusted to me while I was growing as a person. 

He wasn't freaked out or threatened by me growing and developing, or fed up with the Skype calls - he endured the negatives and embraced the positives, with me
That's how I knew. 

I also knew because he stuck with me, even when I wasn't even sure of the relationship myself, 
he gave me space when I asked for it, but he never walked away fully, and he also stayed committed to me even when challenges and people tried to get between us and even when I made mistakes. 

Those five months were life changing, not just because of YWAM but because it showed me I had found my life partner, who would walk things with me. 

Who would walk through the crap, to put it bluntly. 

Someone who didn't run away when things got messy. 
When we made mistakes. 
When we faced separation. 
When Skype didn't work.
When we couldn't speak for a month. 
When I contemplated staying in Florida, he began making plans to visit me. 

It was the choices and the commitment. 
Not the feelings and the romance as such. 
It was who he was trying to be for me, 
and who I was trying to be for him. 

We were just trying to be the best for one another. 

Aaron on 'two':

"When I think about what I've learnt about doing life with Holly, amidst the joys and the challenges, having complete independence (which still scares the crap out of me at times!), and working towards our dreams - all of which are great things- I would say that for me the 'keys' to life with another person boils down to just a few things. 

Grace, selflessness and generosity.

 This was 'head' knowledge to me for some time, 
but only recently, has hit my heart with a bit of a thump. 

You see, I've realised, a healthy relationship with someone is to, as Hollyanne has said, grow in connection, to chase after romance, and to build an effective and loving partnership. 
This partnership forms when it stops being all about me, and more about the other person. 

Think of a time that you have given a gift to someone -
Was it something they really wanted? Picture the look on their face of pure joy, love, appreciation, and thankfulness. 
This in turn resonates inside you as the gift giver.
Their experience of joy, love, gratitude, becomes what you experience in that moment also right?

That I believe is the simplest picture of how we are to posture ourselves in a relationship to another person. 

 When we operate out of a selfless, gracious and generous heart in our interactions with our partner - selfishness has no opportunity to breed. 
 Both of us are striving towards the same goal- 
working towards the needs of the other, and championing each other to greater things, 
and being the BEST advocate and believer in one another.

When I choose this posture with Hollyanne, I begin to love her more. I begin to see past my own self,  past thinking 'she's wrong I'm right', past being lazy, passive, and past doing life 'my way', and rather, moving into a place where I ask 'what does Holly need right now?', where I date her, pursue her, and surprise her, and to do life with her. I begin to see who she really is - i begin to remind myself of the reason why I married her- in fact, if I live selflessly, I won't need reminding- I'll just see. 

In all of this, you may read similar in marriage books, however what I would leave you with is this - the difference between head knowledge and 'heart knowledge' (that being when it hit's your heart and you begin living from it) is stark. "

When it hits your heart, it becomes real and your choices are influenced by it. 
These choices are the choices that we believe bring that strength to the core of your relationship, when it's all stripped back, in the end of the day it's this that is comes down to. 

We hope and pray that this in some way empowers other couples. 
 We hope our honesty too, allows you see that, it's not about perfection - 
it's not so much being a 'power couple', but just being a 'commited couple'. 
Pretending didn't get us anywhere, we had to be honest with each other and others, 
in order to grow, and that growth was possible and is still going on. 

So we empower any other couples reading this in your growth together - 
just be real about it, you've got this!

A & H x

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