Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

Posts tagged “being engaged

The Trust Tree

I wrote a previous post about planting a seed of trust. I must say, I’m loving this metaphor.

The fiancé and I have been nurturing the seed into a little sapling and now it’s starting to look like a tree.

It was important to me to make real strides in regaining our trust before the wedding. And we’ve done that.

For his part, the fiancé has done an amazing job of pointing out when his behavior is noticeably different.

He’ll say, “I totally would’ve done it this way three weeks ago, but today I’ve done it this other, more trustworthy way. Aren’t you happy?”

Each time he does that, it’s like pouring water or sunlight or whatever onto the sapling. After the big blowup, I didn’t want to trust him, and that was a problem. But now, I want to trust him.
With each moment that my trust grows stronger, so does the love. All of those feelings I had pushed away in an effort to be less hurt in case things fell apart were still there. I just had to access them again.

I thought the trust tree was just about trust. But our foundation has three parts and all three really are very connected.

I can already see improvements in our communication too. We have fewer confusing moments, and we more quickly settle the ones that do arise.

I’m so glad the fiancé is on board with this ridiculous metaphor. It helps me to think of it in this way. Being able to visualize our relationship getting stronger is a real help to me.

He also didn’t rush me to immediately feel better. Even with the impending nuptials, he gave me space and time to work through my shit. And he was there working through it with me.

I can now confidently say we are out of the woods and our relationship is strong again. I can marry him with no doubts in my mind. The last couple weeks have shown me that I can rely on him and we can get through anything. So, really shortly, I’ll be referring to “the husband”, instead of the fiancé. Exciting, right?


We Are Built On… Communication

Love.

Trust.

And now communication. Communication is the third of our three relationship foundation principles. The fiancé is the one who first brought this up as important to the core of a relationship back in August 2010. After he explained it, it began to make sense.

In a relationship, being able to talk about all the important stuff is a must. You can’t have things you can’t discuss. In theory, your partner should be your best friend. The fiancé and I have always been able to talk about everything, so we were open and we thought we had that big first step accomplished.

But we’ve learned since then that there’s so much more to communication. He and I communicate in different ways. Of the five love languages, we each have two, and none of them overlap. He thinks emotionally, and I think logically. He hardly finishes his thoughts or sentences, and I provide too many details sometimes.

It’s taken us quite a while to sort through all of our language barriers. We have made progress, and that’s something to be proud of. I still have to remind him to slow down and finish his sentences. He still has to remind me that he can’t be expected to remember every nuance and detail in my long-ass stories.

We never stop working towards our goal of understanding each other. It helps that we know each other better than anyone else has ever known us. We work hard to maintain our new vulnerability and intimacy. It keeps us on the same page and that always makes communication better.

We’re not perfect and we never will be, but we try to keep sight of our biggest pitfalls. When he omits things, it wears down both trust and communication. When we forget to communicate our feelings, it wears down both love and trust. And when I deflect his feelings, it wears down communication and love.

Trying to be aware of both my flaws and his isn’t an easy task. It’s way easier to point the finger away from myself, but I can’t do that. I have to be cognizant of things we both do that could weaken the foundations of our relationship. 

I’ve learned that communication can make the love and trust stronger. Love can make the communication and trust more resilient. And trust makes communication and love easier. The fiancé always calls me wise, but he’s the one who set the foundation for our relationship. Since the beginning, he’s truly been the head of our relationship and forged the path we followed. For a relationship-traditional girl like me, that makes me very happy.

At first, it was just a theory that had to be worked on. Renewing our foundation will be a life-long task, but I’m looking forward to the task. I think we’re up to it, and I know we’ll succeed.


We Are Built On… Trust

Love.

And now trust. The fiancé and I see trust as one of the three foundations of our relationship. I’m writing a three-part series about it. I’ve been writing in the past couple weeks about how our trust has taken a big hit. We’ve been working hard to come back from that.

We learned that no matter what is said or done (so far), we can’t be broken beyond repair. I trust his strength and he trusts me to do what I say I’m going to do, and that right there is the foundation of our trust.

Trust is one of those vague terms that people throw around without ever really being sure they’re talking about the same thing. The fiancé and I discussed trust to make sure we were on the same page.

He thinks of trust as knowing someone is one your side and has got your back. He’s thinking loyalty and fidelity. I think of trust as knowing I can count on what you say and do. I’m thinking honesty and reliability. Those things aren’t far apart at all, but it explains why he never really got it before when I said I couldn’t trust him.

The fiancé was thinking he could be trusted because he always had my back, ready to defend. He was on my side always. But for me, trust is about staying true to what you said and your words and actions matching all the time.

Once we realized the gap in our definitions, that sparked a discussion of how to meet in the middle. We both just evolved our defitions of trust to include it all. So now we define trust as loyalty, fidelity, honesty, and reliability. Now he knows when I say trust I’m referring to if he’s telling the truth, if he’s on my side, and if he does what he said he was going to do.

I’ve been taking care of the trust seed I planted and I’m looking forward to watching it grow. Even as I write this post, I can honestly say I trust the fiancé way more than I did just a couple days ago. Each day it’s growing more and more.

I earned his trust a while ago, but I didn’t know at first how long it took him to trust me. The fact that I was just so honest right out of the gate is something the fiancé didn’t believe at first. He wasn’t raised to take people at face value. When he finally realized that with me, what he saw was exactly what he was getting, he was elated. That trust in me only made his love deeper.

He knows he can count on me and that I’m being honest with him. I’m starting to have that knowledge about him too and I appreciate it more than words can say.  I feel confident that our trust will end up right where it’s supposed to be even though we took two completely different paths to get there.

He is naturally mistrustful of new people and it took time and experience for him to know I was trustworthy. I’m take things for face value and got my trust broken, and now I’m re-building from scratch to a trust that’s stronger than ever.


The Final Wedding Straw

Logical normal me is excited about my upcoming wedding. I’m marrying a man who I love more than I ever thought possible. I will be wearing a beautiful dress and will be surrounded by hundreds of people that love me and the fiancé.

But I am not logical normal me right now. I’m apathetic bitter me. And apathetic bitter me is not looking forward to this wedding. Every fucking time I turn around, someone else gets added to the guest list. I wanted 75 people at this wedding. There will be 288. Three days ago it was 286, but now it’s 288.

The fiancé and I had a long talk the other day where I finally got out all my frustration about this guest list and his complicity in it. The last week or so has been an exercise in people asking my opinion about things I don’t care about and then telling me                                                                              my opinion on things I do care about doesn’t matter.

I can’t take this shit no mo!

At the height of my frustration, my mother tells me the last two people to get added to the guest list are the pastor and first lady of the church at which my brother is the youth pastor.

A couple things about that: 1) This man invited himself to my wedding. 2) I’ve never met him or seen a picture of him and wouldn’t know him if I saw him in the street. 3) My brother and I are not close or even distant. We have no relationship to speak of so this guy coming to support my brother for me is a stretch by any means. 4) My mother is a pushover (only when it comes to this wedding) and this is how the last 20 out of 30 people got added to this list.

So now when my father says that I’m so lucky that so many people love me and the fiancé and want to be there to share our big day, I say bullshit. There are people coming I don’t even fucking know.

My nightmare about my wedding is going to be my actual wedding. Hundreds of people eye-balling me expectantly, me searching the crowd, trying to find even one face I know well and can look to for comfort.

But, it’s going to be okay. The fiancé came up with a plan. He got me to calm down and stop freaking out. Think Runaway Bride, and maybe you’ll figure out his suggestion to me. I need to mull over it for a couple more days, but I think it will work.

Aside from that rant, I’ve been feeling considerably better about this wedding since his suggestion. I no longer feel like he’s the enemy (along with my parents), now I kind of feel like he’s my hero.

There wasn’t much I knew I wanted my wedding to be as a little girl. I knew I didn’t want to wear white. I knew I wanted it relatively small (no more than 100). And I knew I wanted lots of flowers everywhere. I thought those were simple requests that would be easy to fulfill. Silly me.