by Brittany Geragotelis
Today, I have the honor of attending a very close friend's wedding. Amanda is one of those people who has changed my life. She's a positive, loving force who gives excellent advice, is an even better listener and never ceases to amaze me.
Her impending ceremony got me thinking about relationships and I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you all the things that Amanda's taught me about love over the past few years. I hope you all learn just as much from this blog as I have from Amanda.
Don't listen to nay-sayers. Amanda and her soon-to-be-wife, Melissa, originally planned their wedding when the state of NY wouldn't have recognized it as a legal marriage. But they loved each other and wanted to make that commitment, and didn't let that stop them. I like to think that the universe had a hand in passing the law in NYC, legalizing gay marriage just in time for their wedding. You shouldn't listen to anyone else but yourself when it comes to what's right for your relationship. Sure, others may not understand or agree with it, but that's a decision for you and you only.
Love can develop when you least expect it. Amanda and Melissa knew each other for a long time before they ever dated, having been friends and roommates in college. I don't think either of them expected for their friendship to grow into love, but it did and they went with it. Just because a relationship starts out with the tiniest of sparks doesn't mean it won't catch fire and burn for a long time. Be open to the idea that love can develop anytime, anywhere, and you may just find your perfect match right in front of you (whether you expected to or not).
It's human to be scared, but we can't let fear run our relationships. Just because we've been hurt before, doesn't necessarily mean that we will be hurt in our current relationship. Yes, it's normal to get scared every once-in-a-while. Scared that the relationship will end, scared of being cheated on, scared you'll never live up to the other person's expectations, scared that they might not think you're "the one." But just because we feel scared, doesn't mean we need to act on it. Amanda's taught me that my fears are just that: my fears. They're not based on fact and if I let it run my relationship, there might not be a relationship to be had. This means that if I have a dream where my boyfriend cheats on me, it doesn't mean that I can punish him for his evil cheating dream self. I need to treat him like the flower-buying, hug-giving, funny, loveable guy I'm actually dating. (Unless you're psychic, in which case, feel free to punish away.)
Know what your deal-breakers are. One of the pieces of advice that Amanda gave me when I first got into my current relationship was to make a list of all the qualities I wanted in a significant other (and the kind of person I wanted to be in a relationship) and then move towards that ideal. Another thing she said was to think about what my deal-breakers were. Whether it's smoking, breaking plans, drinking, religious beliefs, over-spending, anger issues, etc., you need to know where to draw the line for you to be in a happy, healthy relationship. This is going to be different for everyone, but it's important to ask yourself this before you get into the relationship. And if you decide that a habit isn't worth ending a relationship over, then you need to let it go, because you can't expect to change the person you're with.
Trust, truth and teamwork. To see Amanda and Melissa's relationship you can tell that three things are at work: They trust each other, they're honest and they tackle all their problems together. Enough said.
Laughter is the best medicine. OMG, Amanda and Melissa laugh so much together. Sure, life can get serious, but in the end, they make each other smile and truly enjoy being around each other. Not only do they love each other, but they actually like each other! One of the things that Amanda always reminds me about my relationship with Matt is that we crack each other up and always have fun together. What a novel concept...and one that I certainly don't take for granted.
Soulmates don't have to be romantic in nature. Through my relationship with Amanda, I've learned that some friendships are just as important as romantic relationships. Amanda knows all of my secrets (seriously...Every. Single. One. And that's not always pretty.), she is the one I trust to give me unbiased, brutally honest advice (even if it hurts my ego sometimes) and she'll always love me unconditionally. Having this relationship with her has made my relationship with Matt better than it ever possibly could have been without her guidance and knowledge.
So, thank you Amanda and congratulations on your marriage. You deserve all the happiness in the world!