Dear Future Husband’s Ex-Girlfriend(s)

Hi there,

Listen, I know this might be a tiny bit awkward but I felt like I needed to get something out in the open. I know you’re probably not going to like me and I want you to know that is totally okay because I know what it’s like to be an ex-girlfriend.

It’s pretty terrible right?

The worst is that middle ground between not wanting him but not wanting anyone else to have him. And when you see an unfamiliar female face start popping up on his social media sites it immediately raises alarms. Because we know. We always know. We know him. We know how he interacts, what he says or doesn’t say, the way he is. We know him because we loved him.

So I’m here to give you permission to not like me. I’m giving you permission to look at my pictures and read my posts and my tweets and who knows what else and find all of the things wrong with me. Because there are… SO many things. I get it. It sucks. It sucks to watch a man you cared deeply for start to care for someone else.

And even if you know the reasons why it still feels like rejection all over again. The truth is, it’s never about you. Just like it is not about me when I’m an ex-girlfriend. It isn’t easy to stop loving someone. It isn’t easy to share your life and story and bits and pieces of who you are with someone and then one day you realize it just isn’t enough. Where does that intimacy, that overlap of life shared go? Is there an alternate universe where it goes on? It keeps living? I know I’ve hoped for that at times.

I’m sorry he wasn’t it for you. Truly I am. I’m sorry he isn’t the man who will make you better for the Kingdom, who you were created to love. I’m sorry he won’t say your name when he promises to love and cherish in sickness and in health. I’m sorry it hurts. I’m so sorry. Because I know. I understand. I feel your pain.

I promise that I will cherish the love you started to grow in him. I will protect the goodness you brought out. I will respect the memories you shared and the life lived. I will never try to be you or replace you. You played an important part in his life. You helped shape him into the man he is today. You were valuable and necessary. I promise to do my best not to compare myself to you — to battle my own demons because I’ll probably want to be prettier or thinner or funnier or whatever. But I will try to choose to believe that there is room for him to love the past and love the present.

I will hope for you that you find the right one. The one who makes him seem like he was the right thing at the right moment and now you’re okay to move past. I desperately hope that for you and will believe it for you. I will never promise something which isn’t mine to fulfill. But I will hope for you, even when you can’t hope for yourself.

When we choose to pursue Papa’s best, it often times looks nothing like what we have in mind. And I can’t tell you how grateful I am that is the case. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t sad and hard and disappointing when what isn’t the best doesn’t happen. I know for me, most times the best hasn’t come when I have good. It’s come when I have nothing but my Papa. I’ve learned to choose that my PAPA is the Promised Land when I don’t know what Canaan will look like.

But all of that to say, you are incredible. You are beautiful and special and precious and worth pursuing. Just because he wasn’t it doesn’t determine any part of your worth. You have to believe me when I say that. It isn’t him or nothing.

Being an ex-girlfriend is a title we always hope to avoid. It’s one that comes with weird emotion and unexpected longing and confusing thoughts. It doesn’t make sense and it can be tricky to navigate. If I need to be the enemy for awhile I understand. It’s okay. Just know I’m grateful for you and the way you loved him and showed him Jesus. Even if he didn’t see it at the time.

Thank you for loving him before I got there. Thank you for opening your heart and holding a piece of his. Thank you for letting him go when it was time.

I owe you.

– Rach

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Dear Future Husband: I Got it all Wrong

Hi love,

I’m sorry I’ve been quiet for a few months. To be honest, this is a hard letter to write. It feels vulnerable and scary and reckless. I stopped writing to you because I thought I had found you. I thought I knew your name and face and story. I didn’t want to write to you when I thought I knew all these things. It felt awkward and presumptuous. Because I thought our story had finally begun, I wanted to tell you the things I was thinking instead of writing them.

But my love, I got it all wrong.

I know we will each get it wrong so many times before we get it right. The one time it needs to be right, we’ll get it right. But getting it wrong can hurt so badly.

I made memories with this man. We left our footprints all over the city and pieces of our hearts in secret places. I started to memorize the way his hand felt in mine. I knew his favorite color and the songs that made his face light up. He told me his hopes and fears. I let him break down my walls.

I thought he was you.

I wanted him to be you.

I treated him like he was you.

But you know what I am grateful for? I got it wrong with him and not you.

I was so afraid to lose him, lose the love I desired for so long, that I think I tried to fit an oval shape in a round hole. It wasn’t quite different enough to be frustrating, but it was just different enough to not fit. I didn’t see it at the time. I didn’t know he was an oval when I needed a circle. I thought the disconnect and arguments, slightly parallel but ultimately perpendicular paths, and off-handed comments were all part of choosing to love. I thought they were the hard parts you have to work through to get to the best parts.  And maybe they could have been. Maybe in a different world he was you. But in this world he chose not to be.

So love, I have to confess that I let my priorities get out of order. I let myself begin to chase him more than Papa. I let myself put my hopes and dreams in his hand, only to reveal the fullness of my idolatry when things began to end. I wanted Papa’s best for him to be what Papa’s best for me is. I wanted our dreams and desires to be the same.

I was not always the woman I hope to be.

I won’t own what is his to own but I will own what is mine.

But here’s the hope in all of this. I saw it first hand a few days ago when I watched two beloved friends commit their lives together in front of their family and community. I heard their vows to Papa and each other. I heard them say they will always put Him first and each other second. Tears rolled down my face at the holiness of this moment. Tears rolled down my face in longing for the things I hoped this other relationship had for me. Tears rolled down my face for the hope He gave me that you will one day make a similar promise. To love Papa first and us second.

I wish I didn’t have any wrongs, and I wish you didn’t either but I am not sorry for the process sharpening me into the woman you deserve.

The thing I am certain of in all of this though, is how beautiful Papa’s redemption of our stories will be. Sure, we’ll both have a suitcase or two of the past. You’ll have names and I will too. But I believe Papa will take those names and give us new names. Give us the names of each other. The last names we’ll ever have to know. The old will be gone and the new will come.

My love, I got it all wrong…. with the wrong one. But with you, I will get it right. By His grace, we’ll both get it right.

until then, I’ll be here.

 

Dear Future Husband: I’m a Runner.

The pounding of my feet on the pavement jarred loose the thoughts that seemed stuck in a hamster wheel. My aching legs screamed in protest while my ever constricting lungs loudly reminded me that I had gone too far. Still I pushed myself harder. My speed increasing with the crescendo of the music blasting through my headphones.

But just a little further. Just a little bit longer. Just until I forget.

The wind sliced through my feeble workout clothes. I felt the chill down to my bones. Tears formed in my eyes as the prickly air made it’s way behind my sunglasses. In spite of my effort, the weather tears were the only ones I could muster up.

Approaching the intersection, I looked right and left and right again as I made myself sprint across the road. I jumped onto the curb and saw the darkness crowd my vision.

Okay. Time to stop.

I bent over gasping for air.

My brother once accused me of being a runner. He told me that when things got hard or difficult or uncomfortable I left.

Its true. Sometimes I do it emotionally, but often I do it physically. I’d never liked running as a kid but at some point I found it sorted my thoughts out a little bit. On days like that day when everything hurt and nothing made sense, I find solace in getting lost in the bitter cold.

Unfortunately I hadn’t realize how far I’d run or how close the sun was to setting until I turned around to go home. I groaned as I turned the corner to start my long journey home. I really need to pay attention when I decide to get lost.

You fool. You silly silly fool. 

My inner monologue has always been the most cruel. It is something I’m working to change. Trying to be better and different. But right then it wasn’t working.

I picked up my pace once again, trying to focus my attention elsewhere.

Knowing that with every step I ran, my bleeding heart put one more brick up in the wall to keep it safe. I let the ugly words repeat in my brain with each pounding of the pavement. Until I heard His words.

beloved, is your heart safe with me? 

aw crap.

Papa, I know the right answer is yes. but right now my heart doesn’t FEEL safe with you. 

but beloved, is your heart safe with me? 

I rolled my eyes.

I started my internal protest. I made a case and presented my closing argument. Smugly I decided that just maybe I had won this time. That my hurt and sorrow and excuses and circumstances and reasons meant that my heart really wasn’t safe after all.

oh beloved, you took your heart away and gave it to circumstances. Of course you’re going to believe your heart isn’t safe. But, I ask you again, is your heart safe with me? 

And as I slowed my pace, allowing my tears to form in my eyes, I let the make-shift walls I’d started to build crumble around my bleeding heart.

yes, Papa, my heart is safe with you. 

You see Love, sometimes I need to run. I need to take the thoughts and frustrations and confusing moments and let them fall away onto the pavement. I don’t need you to chase me when I run this way. But other times I run because I’m afraid and hurt and anxious. I run to see if you’ll chase me. I know it isn’t fair for me to test you in this way but that’s why I’m telling you now.

More often then not, I run to see if I’m worth running after.

And I just wanted you to know.

So until then… i’ll be here.

 

Dear Future Husband: Past Regrets

Hi love,

How are you? Are you getting all ready for Thanksgiving? Are you spending it with your family or friends? I can’t wait to know these things!

So this past weekend I went to visit one of my best friends and her husband in Chicago. It was such a fun trip. One that I hope we’ll take together someday. I think you’ll like them both. They have such amazing insight into life and love and Jesus and our stories. It’s restful to be with them.

Anyway, we got to talking about past relationships and what level of detail should be shared with boyfriends or girlfriends who are getting serious. We discussed various situations and failures. My thoughts were yes, share. I think there will be more problems in the long-run.

Now, I don’t have a long list of regrets or things I’ll have to share with you that will break your heart. I have some things that someday we’ll need to talk through and I can explain why and how and what I learned but I’m not too worried about what I’ve cultivated in my past. But I do want you to know that your past regrets are not a deal-breaker for me.

I want you to feel safe enough to tell me the times you screwed up. I want you to feel safe enough to show me the worst and know that I’ll love you because of it. I want you to feel safe enough to cry in my arms if you need to tell me you gave away something you shouldn’t have. I want you to feel safe enough to know that even if I’m sad and hurt I’m not going to stop fighting for you. For us.

Your past is what has made you into the man that I will eventually fall in love with. I’m not scared of your story. I’m not scared of your skeletons. I’m not scared of hidden shame and secret failures. I love you regardless.

I will never hold these things over your head. I will never use them as a weapon. I will never think myself better because I didn’t struggle the same way you may have. I will never let them come up in arguments or heated discussions. I will never respect you less because of them.

I will always love you. I will always respect you. I will always fight for you. I will always fight beside you. I will always trust you. I will always think the best of you. I will always try to remember your intentions are good. I will always try to remember Christ in you will make me better.

Because I want all of you. Your fears and failures. Your wounds and insecurities. Your baggage. Your past. Your victories and triumphs. Your strength. Your wisdom. Your insight. Your ability to see the world in a way completely different from anyone else. Your passion. Your talent. Your skill. Your tenderness. Your honesty. Your respect. Your love.

We’re broken people with broken pieces in our past. Broken pieces cut others and make them bleed. But love can dull those sharp edges and they can be made new and whole. And maybe our story and both of our failings will bring hope to someone who may have felt hopeless and beyond repair.

But love, know this, whatever your past, I’m not going anywhere.

So until then, I’ll be here.