This week Inside My Journal I share my story of how I met my husband Brad. I share how the Universe guided us on our path in a huge way and how through the ups and downs of our relationship being honest and vulnerable has allowed us to continually come back to one another during times of stress and heartache. I also share how letting go of the idea of a fairy tale is the best thing I ever did.
When you know, you know. It sounds so cliché doesn't it? Especially when it comes to relationships and soul mates but for me this was absolutely the case. My Husband, Brad and I have been married for nearly 9 years. What I have learnt throughout our journey is that connection takes continual work, that it's ok to be emotionally vulnerable and that it's absolutely ok to laugh at each other.
The beginning of our story is actually quite funny and I often look back and say, "thank you Universe, you really had my back with this one". Brad and I met through a mutual friend who invited me to come along to one of his soccer games. Here I was, at the age of 22 on the sidelines of a soccer field watching some guy run around with a bunch of his other mates, not particularly the romantic meeting of two people destined for each other.
After the game Brad and I connected via Facebook (even that makes me laugh) and we agreed to meet at a local haunt called Northies (that makes me laugh even harder). We had a great night chatting and carrying on like 20 something year old's do. Not long after Brad invited me on a date. Ah I thought, what a gentleman. Our first date was at the football (which I later found out Brad got free tickets to, such a little bugger). We watched the game and then ended the night at a club with some friends and sharing a meat pie on the steps of the local petrol station. So romantic right? The thing is, this was right up my alley. I loved football at the time and I have always been someone who enjoys the simple things, even if that means sharing a pie on the steps of a petrol station! I felt instantly connected to Brad and knew deep down he was the one, crazy right? I hear you! That night when I got home after our first date my Mum was up waiting for me to get home so we could share a cuppa together, which was our usual routine after I spent the night out. Over a cuppa, I told her Brad was the one, I was going to marry him (a story Mum later told during her speech at our wedding)! That was it. I absolutely knew after our first date he was my soulmate and I had finally met the man of my dreams.
So, Brad and I officially began dating and as our relationship progressed it was about a month into our union that we were intimate. Too much? Trust me this is the pivotal part of the story. Little did we know that first time (yes the very first time!) of us being together would result in us becoming pregnant. Yep, you heard right! Brad and I had been dating for 1 month when I fell pregnant after our first ever night of intimacy. Of course, we didn't know this at the time and continued to enjoy our time together naively as the month went on. It wasn't until I missed my next period that the alarm bells rang. Shit! I remember buying a pregnancy test which I did in the public toilets near work (ah a sign of the times) and it came back positive! Now I would have to front up and let Brad know both our worlds had just changed. I recall laying on my bed at home with us both staring up to the ceiling not knowing what to say to each other. The conversation started off with, "weren't you on the pill?" and ended with "weren't you wearing a condom?". Now you might be thinking, um how did they not know? Well, just to add to the story the night we conceived our now beautiful Son was a night we spent drinking and having a merry old time at a friends house warming party! Both of us were a little (or maybe a lot!) tipsy and alas the important conversation of protection was not had that night. Side note, here is an important lesson my friends, perhaps try and have this very important conversation early on in your relationship when you're sober!
So, there we were laying on my bed and after much discussion Brad said to me, "well I love you so let's have a baby" and that was that. We made the scary decision to have our baby and I'm so glad that we did. That one decision changed our life and set us on the most beautiful journey of living life together and bringing our two beautiful babies into the world.
"That one decision changed our life and set us on the most beautiful journey of living life together"
I'm not going to say it was easy. I had my beautiful boy just before my 23rd birthday. It was definitely challenging and rocked our worlds. While the rest of my friends were still out clubbing 3 times a week I was home breastfeeding and expressing at the top of our rented townhouse stairs (not a fun time!). The transition was made a little more challenging by the fact that Brad and I were still trying to get to know each other and we were still trying to find our groove as a new couple. Add to that a new baby, moving out of home for both of us (the first time for Brad) and a complete loss of our social network as we knew it, life certainly wasn't all unicorns and rainbows.
It was 18 months later that we found ourselves faced with the possibility of losing our first born. Even though we had been through so much together our relationship still felt so new and now we were being faced with losing a child. The months spent in hospital at my Son's bedside while he fought for his life were long and traumatic. Brad would come to the hospital every night and bring me fresh clothes, food and anything else I would need. He would then leave the hospital late at night to go home to get up at the crack of dawn to go to work the next day, repeating this cycle each and every day until the weekend would finally give us some more time together. It was a huge thing to overcome together and as a little family of 3 but going through this experience only served to prove to me I had truly met my soulmate.
As the years have gone on, we have now married and had our second child, a little girl and over our time together I have learnt two fundamental things when it comes to our relationship. It takes continual work to maintain a deep connection and it takes courage to talk about it when you feel you're both going a little off track. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got from my Mum was this, "relationships are not a fairy tale". To some this may sound harsh but for me this is always something I've turned back to, especially during those moments where we may be going through a more challenging time in our relationship. This is not to say you shouldn't expect an amazing, romantic and deeply connected relationship because you absolutely should, everyone should because that is what you all deserve! I'm more saying that having this idea of a fairy tale can sometimes cast unrealistic expectations on relationships. The truth is relationships are hard work and they take two parties who are both willing to put in the work time and time again. I truly believe that you don't just fall in love with your partner once and that is it. I believe you make a choice again and again to fall in love with them and that ability to continue to fall in love takes trust, vulnerability and faith that at the end of the day the person laying beside you is worth the work you're willing to put in each and every day.
"I truly believe that you don't just fall in love with your partner once and that is it. I believe you make a choice again and again to fall in love with them"
Being emotionally vulnerable in our relationship has been hard work for me because I have always simply relied on my inner world to get through. When things get tough, I go within for the support and solace I need. While this is such a great way to find inner strength and contentment, when shit really hits the fan it can be debilitating and incredibly isolating. In my case, it can lead me to pushing people away as I project an, "I've got it all together vibe". After all, it can be hard and scary to say you need to rely on someone else. I truly think this is the most vulnerable thing you can do, to say "I need you". Over the years Brad and I have both worked on being more emotionally available to each other and this has been our greatest achievement (besides our beautiful babies of course) as a couple. If I hadn't learnt to do this there is no way I would've coped with the loss of my Dad last year. I had to be open to emotional support when I felt the most broken and for me it only served to deepen our connection. To show me that being emotionally vulnerable to someone who is willing to do the same for you is where a meeting of the souls will truly take place.
So that's that. That's our 12 years together so far. From sharing a pie on the steps of a petrol station, to conceiving our first child a month after our first date, to committing to work on US always, it's been a pretty fun ride. We're far from perfect and that's just the way I like it. Perfectly imperfect, together.
If you've enjoyed peeking inside my journal I would love to hear from you. Please feel welcomed and encouraged to comment below or on my Instagram feed @stillwithsammy and share your story as we rise up as one collective voice.
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Until next time, I wish you well. May you shine bright, always.
Love, Sammy xoxo