I hate to assume that everyone is as messed up as I am, so though I refer only to myself, I have a feeling that I am not the only one that has done this. 

Before I got into a serious relationship, I constructed an elaborate idea of what it would be like in my head. I journaled prolifically, detailing exactly what my partner would be like, and how our relationship would work.

He would be gentle, but strong. Godly, manly. Never passive. Never wavering. Never unsure. Everything he did would be the model of leadership. He would never make me angry, or frustrated, and certainly he would never hurt my feelings. 

And, of course, our relationship would be similar. The epitome of what it looked like to be in a Christ-centered relationship. We’d do devotionals together, and pray regularly. Of course, he would be just like me, so working through differences of opinion in theology, Bible reading habits, and styles of prayer would never be a problem. We’d never struggle with purity, ever. We’d be purer than the Duggars. We’d always treat each other with kindness and consideration, and harmony would reign.

In short, we’d be perfect. 

Then I got into a serious relationship, and it’s been a 2 year struggle to let go of my imaginary boyfriend. To drop the pretend, and realize that I’m a broken human being, dating a broken human being. I had to come to realize that all relationships in a broken world will have issues. I had to come to terms with the fact that my dream world wasn’t real, that in a real relationship there are differences in opinions, there are faults that must be forgiven, and bad habits that aren’t quickly unlearned. 2 years of misunderstandings, arguments, anger, disappointment, sadness, worry, strife, anxiety, and tears.

2 years of a real relationship that have been among the best two years of my life. 

Because even with all of the brokenness, even with all of the ways that it has failed to meet my impossible expectations, it was been incredibly beautiful. 2 years of friendship, laughter, healing, joy, happiness, surprise, delight, kindess, warmth and love.

I’m a broken human being dating a broken human being. A beautiful, kind, sweet, gentle, funny, intelligent, and brave human being. 

If that’s not grace, I don’t know what is.