Accepting the Love

From time to time, I’ll get emails from readers younger and less-versed in the ways of relationships than I. In these correspondents, they’ll sometimes ask for advice or encouragement in dealing with their current romantic situations. And often times, I am blessed (cursed?) enough to have experienced what they’re going through and can offer a bit of solace to their worried mind.

But the other day, I received an email from a young lady and she had a problem I hadn’t yet encountered in my life. She had been disrespected, emotionally abused, and downright treated like a pile of boo-boo in her relationships and yet, her current boyfriend was the exact opposite of what she had experienced prior. He was kind and considerate. He worried for her and did things without being asked. He liked her and loved her simultaneously (those two are not synonymous just so we’re clear). From what this young lady wrote, her relationship was beautiful and lovely and all the things we hope to have out of a romantic partnership. And yet, she found herself lost.
She wrote that because of her past dealings with less-than-cordial men, she found herself reluctant to accept the goodness that had come into her life; she found herself hesitant to fully commit herself to their romance because she had been broken and bruised so desperately in the past. So though this new man in her life was everything she wanted and needed in the relational sense, she found herself leery of him and their relationship. And though I couldn’t necessarily relate to this particular issue, I found myself being concerned for this young lady and the man she was with.

It’s not a secret that relationships have the means to mess us up. Depending on what all goes down during the course of the courtship, it can leave us scarred and sometimes broken. The image we have of ourselves can become warped; our feeling of self-worth can become damaged (sometimes beyond repair, sadly); and we can be left with a void in our heart where love should reside but instead, all we feel is the pain of our past.
So what happens when something good and real finally comes along, even though we may feel like we don’t deserve it? We fight the inherent feelings housed in our bones to bristle at this unknown goodness and we do our best to accept it, to return the love we’ve been rewarded.

Often times, our past will wreck us. It will leave us barren and lacking any remote possibility of being happy. But we are better than our past would allow us to believe. We deserve to have the happiness and fulfillment we crave. We deserve love.

And though our past heartaches and emotional scars may hinder us at first, it’s on us to fully recognize what wonderful goodness has been provided to us and to accept it into our lives. The process isn’t always easy or quick, but it is worth the effort it takes.

The hurts of your past don’t get to dictate the goodness of your future. That’s solely up to you.

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  1. MarieLa said:

    Dear Cory, I have been in this woman’s position and I have to say, I loved being taken care of very much during this one relationship. Because I had been physically and emotionally abused by all my previous partners, I realized that this one person was different. And yes, I messed up badly and hurt him because I was not emotionally prepared to deal with exactly the opposite of the people I had previously dated. I was used to being offended and hurt. I could deal with that much better than with kindness. I sometimes felt like I deserved that kind of relationship because of my past. It took years of looking into my past and dealing with forgiveness and changing my own perspective to be able to let good people in again. And it is still a process to me to not be alarmed when everything is going well with someone. So if I were in your shoes, I would tell them to be honest about the past so he can get in her shoes and realize what she sees when she reacts differently to what he expects of her. And from her, to have the courage to let herself be opened, little by little, step by step until she is totally comfortable about his feelings for her. It can happen if she allows it, if he persists, through love and prayer.

  2. Kalee said:

    I have never been in this situation before but I’ve seen it happen. The girl has been treated like crap so much that she thinks it’s what she deserves, then when something good comes along, she wants to run from it. I have never been in a relationship. I suffered from depression for several years. I’m recovered now but one of my fears is of relapse. And I’m scared that I will meet a wonderful man and fall in love and I’ll relapse and he won’t be able to handle it…so he’ll leave me. I know that I’ll be okay single. I know that being married isn’t what life is all about. But sometimes I wonder if I’m really fine with never getting married or I act like in fine with it, but deep down I’m not but I’m just scared. These are big questions and I’ve gone way off topic. I hope this girl doesn’t run from a good thing. She deserves to be treated like a princess. And this story also gives me some hope that there are good guys out there, and that I should never settle. Thanks Cory.

  3. I can’t help it: “what all goes down.” You’re so… SOUTHERN!

    On a more serious note. This is a lovely post, though I have to disagree with one point: your self-worth is never beyond repair. It may feel like it sometimes, you may have convinced yourself of it, but once you see the truth (of those who love you, of those who need you, and of God), there is always hope for your self-esteem and self-worth.

    Everything else, I agree with.

  4. Mariana said:

    I think the same thing happens with God’s love, it is SO perfect we deny it… we have trouble accepting it, yet it is free and it’s meant to be for us. Great post Cory!

  5. krysta said:

    Ok so I just spent the last hour reading all of your blogs and I am very interested in this last relationship you had with kayla I have only met you a couple times and have known kayla for a short time but you guys seemed perfect for eachother and when I read this last post here I was imagining you and I think you should reread this post and put yourself in this girls position because you said yourself that she was everything you could want in a partner and your giving this advice to this girl that maybe you need yourself you said so what happens when somehing good and real comes along

  6. krysta said:

    Continued ….. Even though you don’t deserve it you said …you said the hurts of your past shouldn’t dictate the goodness of your future did you give it enough time you cant know if you want to marry someone in that short time and even so if you loved her that much was it not enough to compromise I’m just confused by what you write about how much you love her and need her but can so ea sily give her away I think you should reread this post that you wrote and see if it was you that you were actually talking about sorry if I am being forward just felt led to write to you about this subject …..:(

  7. meag said:

    “Love is holy because it is like grace–the worthiness of its object is never what really matters.”
    Marilynne Robinson

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