Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday, where I bring light at the start of each week to something I’m truly thankful for, which for today is for being able to celebrate a seven-year anniversary of having a monogamous relationship with my partner Chris, something I thought I’d never achieve.
You see, relationships and me were never very simpatico before Chris. Staying with someone for any length of time prior to him was always accompanied by various acts of addiction and indiscretion. True monogamy on a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual plane was never fully present for me and I had every excuse under the sun as to why, none of which I ever owned either.
Before Chris, the longest I was ever completely monogamous with anyone was about three years. While my last partner and I did reach our seven-year mark, we had broken up for extended periods during it and were never fully faithful to each other after them. Why my current relationship has been far healthier for me is directly related to two things, my spiritual thirst for a closer connection to God and my diligence to my 12 Step recovery work, neither of which ever mattered to me with any sort of regularity before Chris came along.
In fact, I used to think that every time a relationship started to go south that it was my partner’s fault, which I made sure to constantly blame it on rather than me. Believe me it’s pretty easy to do when the person you’re dating has glaring toxic behaviors that can be easily pointed out. But, when I finally began working on the 12 steps and focusing on my own spirituality, I quickly realized that much of my relationship woes were actually due to me.
My codependency, insecurity and abandonment issues often drove partners away or into unhealthy behaviors, but instead of focusing on changing those parts of me, I’d focus on what I felt was wrong with them instead, which only contributed to the relationship’s demise. Thank God I see this so clearly now, as I don’t think Chris and I would have made 7 years monogamously if I didn’t.
While we’ve had our ups and down over the years, there is definitely a spiritual bond shared between the two of us now that keeps getting stronger. We both are working on growing spiritually and have our own recovery programs as well, something that never existed in any of my previous relationships.
Honestly, I truly believe it takes a lot of work to remain in a long-term relationship and monogamous at that. And to place blame on the other partner for when things go astray, rather than look at oneself, is precisely why so many loving connections end up failing in the long run. Whenever tension hits the fan between Chris and I now, we both work to clear our side of the street and to see how we both had a part in it.
We really have grown incredibly in the past few years and frankly, I’m amazed at how much our relationship has changed for the better. With the recent addition of us finding a spiritual place to worship, I really feel the both of us are in it for the long haul now and I’m quite thankful for that, as I don’t believe any relationship can last without a spiritual bond.
A spiritual both that at seven years, I can truthfully say Chris and I still treasure our intimacy together, to laughing and joking together, to watching our regular tv shows together, to going to the movies together, to dining out together, to exploring nature together, and to experiencing plenty of other things together as well.
While our biggest challenge at this point is letting go of control at times, I have no doubt that we are at this very moment meant to still be together, celebrating this amazing achievement of seven years. Gratitude doesn’t even begin to describe how thankful I am to God for this. To look back at where Chris and I both were in the beginning and to see where we both are now, is truly a night and day difference.
So, as Chris and I begin our eighth year together, I find myself feeling so very thankful for finally being in a relationship where both partners continue to grow closer each and every day, solely because we each know there’s work to be done both on our own and with each other. Work that most certainly, one day a time, keeps us remaining faithful and monogamous to each other, and devoted to God…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson