Robert doesn’t know it (Until now; thanks for being my #1 reader!), but this weekend was one of the best I’ve had. Not for any reason in particular, other than the fact that we got to spend it together. Something I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is that the very most valuable and wonderful thing I have in my life is time. I honestly could be doing nothing special at home, but as long as I’m with loved ones I am happy. I’ve learned that “simple” doesn’t equate to “boring,” and that contentment is just as great as joy because it can really last for the long haul.
This weekend we just hung around the house and played games, ordered takeout, and took the dogs out for a few walks, but it was really great getting to catch up some after what has been a tiring couple of weeks. I loved getting to chat instead of watching a ton of mindless television, and we even went on a few mini adventures around town — my favorite being our outing to the restaurant where we celebrated our anniversary back in October. No matter how long we are together I always want to have regular date nights, because I think they’re so great for the heart.
At this point I’m really excited for our wedding still, but I am much more stoked for the entire lifetime of memories and love that is going to come after. Despite getting sick with POTS and having pain be a regular guest in my body, I am overall even more joyful now than I was before I got sick. I think this has to do greatly with recognizing all of the love and amazing people I have surrounding me. I feel so blessed that the everyday beauty in my life does not go unnoticed, and that my heart is content with all of the love that fuels it. All the adventures we have ahead of us are going to be a blast (I am particularly excited for our honeymoon!), but I am also so excited for the countless game nights and dinner dates we have in store for us. I feel so darn lucky to have this life, and I am working to appreciate every gift — big and small — that God has given me.
Time is a funny thing because as intangible as it is, it sometimes feels very concrete. There are certain things that make time more significant. You know both college and high school are going to last 4 years, your birthday will be around again exactly 365 days from the last one, and the Christmas season is every 48 weeks or so. Having a chronic illness makes time a little fuzzy sometimes, though. I have had POTS since August of 2013 and can pinpoint different phases throughout my journey, but it feels weird that I’m coming up on five years now. I have been fighting for my health longer than the time I spent in college, which is super weird. When I think about going to Mason I have such different memories from each year I was there. When I was a freshman I was timid and shy. I didn’t feel like I had a place I belonged, and I left campus to stay with my family just about every other weekend. I liked my classes and had a couple of really close friends I would keep for the rest of my life, but I was still figuring everything out.
My sophomore year was a blast. I made so many new friends, and I had a group of people who felt like home. I made friends with the girls I would call my roommates the next year, and I was an editor for the school newspaper. I didn’t find as much confidence with writing until later in college, but I looked forward to every day I would spend in the Broadsideoffice with all of the other aspiring writers. Sophomore year was spent finding myself, and learning what I wanted to do the rest of my time in college.
Junior year was probably my favorite. I loved feeling secure with some of the best friends I could ever dream of, and had a great balance of work and play. I turned 21 that year and will never forget that birthday. I waited to drink until I turned 21, so all of my friends crammed into our little apartment living room to celebrate with me. People brought six packs of different things to drink, but I stuck with a cherry Smirnoff Ice. I was surprised it didn’t taste very alcoholic, and took my time sipping on my new favorite drink. That year we spent long nights dancing at the bar down the street every Thursday, and still had the energy to go out and explore restaurants and museums on Friday and Saturday.
Senior year before moving to New York is a blur, but my last semester of college spent in the city was one of the best memories from those four years. I had my fair share of adventures, long hours working overtime in the office, and despite blocking it out most of the time, I had my share of lonely nights in that little shoebox apartment on the eighth floor. New York was definitely an enormous highlight of my college career, and I’m still so thankful for each and every memory I gathered from that time.
Do you see how easy it was for me to create four years of my life?
It hasn’t really been like that again until recently. The first few years of getting sick really blur together. I have a little bit of a timeline I can create, but it isn’t the same concrete, certain one I have from every other year of my life.
I got sick and went to a million different doctors. I had my heart hooked up to echocardiograms, holter monitors, and got tested for diseases I had never heard of. I watched The Food Network, then I watched The Office, then even later I started a new series called Pretty Little Liars. I went to the local shopping center with friends and found myself lying on the lobby floor of the movie theater to keep from fainting. I went home and cried, and wondered why I was the person God allowed to get sick. I remember nights of lying on the couch and having conversations with friends about the outside world I no longer felt a part of, and wondering aloud if I would ever be able to have a normal twenty-something life again. I remember getting my first job while I was home sick, then having chronic, debilitating pain from using my arms too much. I was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, and had to stop doing the one thing that made me feel kind of normal and independent.
I remember moments, but I have no idea when they happened.
I also don’t know when I started getting better, as it’s been super-slow, but there are a few things that offer great markers of healing. One year ago my mom hosted a Bunco party at our home. She always takes the month of February, and I often get invited to come play with her group when it’s held at our house. Bunco is essentially a game of rolling dice and giving an opportunity to catch up with friends. Last year I remember finishing the game and going upstairs and feeling heartbroken at all the pain I was in — just from rolling dice for an hour. My pectoral muscles were sore and ropey, and my shoulders and arms burned with sharp, constant pain. I regretted taxing myself so much for a game, but I also wondered how something so simple could cause so much of an issue. It wasn’t normal, and I hated having to choose between living my life and feeling good.
She hosted this same party again last night and I got to attend. I am sore and by the end of the night I was glad to be done with the rolling motions, but today isn’t an 8 or 9 on the pain scale like it was last year. My physical therapy sessions are sobeneficial for my health, but I will be able to make it until my Friday appointment without trying to hold it together while I’m reeling in pain. I’m more sore than I am on an average day, but I don’t feel like I’m going to have a complete breakdown from being in pain. I can easily handle a little bit of soreness and as long as I take it a little easier today I will make up for everything with my stretching and workouts. This is proof that despite relying heavily on physical therapy and rest, I am making progress.
Today’s lesson: Even if you feel frustrated because something isn’t changing, taking a look at the really big picture and having little mile markers is so helpful for keeping spirits high. I still may have a long way to go in being normal again (And maybe I’ll never quite get there), but any kind of baby steps I can take is still progress. I’ve already learned so much through my journey, and I trust God to be with me every step of the way. Staying positive and remembering blessings throughout every step helps me have a thankful heart. My path has helped me become more empathetic, kind, and understanding, and it has led me to my new forever family member, which is absolutely priceless.
And now it’s time for my favorite of the five — quality time!
Quality time has always been high on my priority list, but the past couple of years it’s really been bumped to the top. Doing a deployment with someone you love is one of the hardest things I can think of. There are so many reasons I find it difficult, but a big one is that you don’t get to spend very much quality time with them — for like, almost an entire year. This has given me a great appreciation for the time I get to spend with Robert now.
Make sure you are fully present when you are spending quality time with your partner. This means putting your phone away, not running through a checklist in your mind of things you need to do, and temporarily pushing aside any worries or concerns you might have in your life to live in the present with them. When you are using quality time as a love language with someone, the emphasis should be on the word quality. Time is something that you sometimes have to give to things you do and do not care about. You go to the doctors office because you have to make sure you stay healthy, and you give your time to your employers in return for a paycheck. Giving time to a loved one needs to be different. It should be offered as a caring gesture and given because you want to bond and grow closer to someone.
Here are a few ways you can incorporate quality time into your love life:
Run errands together. This is a big one, guys! Errands are an inevitable part of life, and they are something every single person will have to do, likely several times a week. Going on outings to get groceries together or running to the post office as a team are so important for your growth as a couple. You get quality time in the car together and time to chat and bond while you pick out what you want to have for dinner that week. Do not split up when you go shopping just to make things faster; stick together and find each item as a team so that you can experience life together. It may not be as fast that way, but it’s a whole lot more valuable.
Make time for regular date nights. No, ordering takeout and watching football doesn’t count unless that’s something you both genuinely enjoy doing. Go out into the world and try a new restaurant or explore a new town together. Quality time doesn’t usually care where you are, rather it focuses more on enjoying each other’s company fully. Exploring new places is an awesome way to learn new things about each other — no matter how long you’ve been together — and it forces you to keep up with your plans of having a set date night.
Don’t always choose television. I know it’s so easy to get sucked into the tube, especially after a long day at work. TV is a great way to relax, but it isn’t always going to fulfill the quality time aspect of your partner’s life. Make dinner together while singing along to Taylor Swift, or take your dog for a nice, long walk.
On the other hand, having a weekly TV show you tune into together is a great way to bond. That way you have something fun to talk about together and can giggle or scream at the TV when something unexpected happens. I love watching The Bachelor with Robert, and he likes watching football or basketball with me. We started watching Big Brother this season,which has been a really fun topic of conversation for both of us. We’ve loved cheering the same people on, and debating who would be a more exciting winner — Josh or Paul. Now that the season is over we are going to start watching The Office because Robert has never seen it and doesn’t think he likes it… That was a dealbreaker that I suppose I overlooked when we first started dating because of his witty charm and strikingly handsome looks. Now that we’ve been seeing each other for almost two years, I think we have to change this about him. Please leave comments of encouragement and excitement about The Office so that Robert can see that it’s everything you could ever want in a TV show and more.
Quality time seems like it would be a simple love language to master, however if it’s not something that comes naturally to someone it can be difficult to understand how to use this LL properly. If there isn’t a genuine desire for a connection, being in the same room doesn’t really fill the emotional needs of the person who craves QT. If this isn’t a natural desire of your heart, the more you venture outside your box of usual activities, the more you might get excited about spending time with your significant other.
Figure out what your Love Language is today, and perhaps more important, what your partner’s Love Language is. It is absolutely a game changer in a relationship and can make your bond just that much closer.
If you’ve followed this blog even just a little bit you’ll know I really value the 5 different love languages. I think they can be a game-changer in any relationship — romantic or otherwise — and if you know how to use them correctly they can make the world a much brighter place. Loving someone in a way that speaks to them will make your heart warm and fuzzy, and helps people you care about feel like they are important to you.
I know that every love language doesn’t come easily to each person. My heart has always been one that feels strongly, and I’ve found as I’ve gotten older that every love language is really important to me. I feel fluent in all five, and I wanted to share some fun little ideas of different ways to love someone using their love language. This week I am going to be focusing on the 5 different love languages. Please feel free to comment other ideas that my readers can use for each love language, and take a minute to discover what your own love language is by taking this quiz.
The last time I took it my top love language was quality time, followed closely by physical touch. My love language score is really interesting because instead of heavily leaning on one thing, I seem to really enjoy a nice balance of all five love languages. I didn’t have a hard time choosing between the options for the quiz, yet I still had very balanced results.
This is kind of crazy because my entire life has had “gift giving” towards the top — and it’s still one of my favorite ways to show people I love them — but ever since Robert and I started dating things have shifted a lot. Don’t get me wrong, I still love little presents and surprises and really cherish every little thing he gives to me, but I am kind of floored that other ways to love have taken precedence over that. My favorite thing in the world is spending time with him, and if you can add holding hands and a few of the other love languages into a date with him that’s my little taste of heaven.
My heart feels warm and fuzzy when any of these languages are spoken to me, so I’m stoked to write about each of the different LLs this week. Stay tuned, and I would love to hear about what makes you feel loved in the comments!
Did you know that there are guys who want to spend time with you more than anything else in the world?
A few years ago I didn’t know men like that existed — at least not for me. I had dated people who didn’t make a lot of time to talk with me or know my heart, and I assumed this was just the way guys were wired (Oh young Krista, I’m so glad you were given more life experience to find that this is absolutely not the case).
Something I decided was important when I jumped back into the dating world was that I would eventually be with someone who prioritized things the same way I did. This meant that above all else, he valued his relationships and family, rather than material things like wealth or a job.
In hindsight, it’s really interesting to see how people’s priorities are shown so vividly in real life. It’s really easy to put on paper that your significant other is a priority, but putting it to practice is a whole different ballgame. In the past I’ve been told that I’m a #1 priority, only to lose every single time when I went up against studying, work, or even a television show. There was a time in my life that I realized I wasn’t worth a short phone call. I went to bed every night realizing that, which steadily beat down my own self-worth.
Robert and I live five minutes away from each other and we see each other just about every day. Despite knowing we will catch up with one another in the evening, he has invited me to meet him for lunch in the middle of the workday, as he genuinely wants to see me and have a fun, spontaneous date. He calls me on his way home from work just to say “hello” — and remind me of how bad the DC traffic can be. Even while he was deployed he made time to talk to me every single day he possibly could. Robert is committed to putting me first, just as I am to him.
If your significant other tells you that they don’t have time to spend with you on a regular basis it isn’t because they can’t — it’s simply because you aren’t prioritized above whatever else they have going on in their life. I know that is so hard to hear, but the bright side to this is that I know you can absolutely find someone who prioritizes you the way you prioritize them. Please, please, please don’t settle for a relationship that leaves your heart yearning for so much more. There are people in this world who would give anything to be able to love you the way you want them to.
Today’s Lesson: The reason I named this post “Time Is Love” is because what you put your time into iswhat you love most in this life. Time is the most fleeting, valuable commodity we are given, and you know you truly have someone’s heart if they are giving you their time. Yes, people have to work to live and will always have seasons in their life when things are a bit busier than usual, but overall you should be able to very clearly see whether or not you are a priority in someone’s life. Your heart will be so much happier being able to love the right person as much as you want to without feeling like you need to hold back.
Wait for the person who will let you love them without limits because you know they’ll do the same for you. It may not be the first, second, or third person you meet, but finding the right person who will speak your love language is so worth the wait.
This is a question friends pose to me all the time.
My quickest answer is, if you have to ask, the answer is likely no.
Typically when you’re in your mid to late twenties, guys know what it’s like to be rejected and that girls aren’t going to wait around forever for them to make their move. They know what it’s like to wait until it’s too late to ask someone out and have likely seen a girl they like date somebody else, so if they’re smart they won’t wait around to ask you out.
I think we need to give guys more credit than we often do in the dating world. They learn from past experiences, and most of them know that they need to be transparent if they really want to be with someone. In general, a guy worth dating will put himself on the line and make it known that he’s into you and wants to take you out.
Let’s say for argument’s sake, though, that the guy you’re confused about does like you, but he’s not being clear about his intentions after you’ve been going out for some time. You’re constantly trying to figure out where his head’s at, even after dating for a significant amount of time. What should you do, then?
MOVE ON, and find a partner who will be a good communicator. Communication is one of the most basic and crucial components of a relationship, and if someone keeps you guessing so much from the very beginning, they will likely behave in a similar manner once you are exclusive. If you’ve had conversations about wanting a relationship and nothing materializes, take the actions, rather than just the words, at face value.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when they’re hoping to find a serious relationship is wasting way too much time on someone who won’t ever become a significant other. Instead of hoping a guy will change his mind about you or finally step up to the plate, kick him to the curb and spend your time casually dating until you find the person who is so excited to actively pursue you! You are absolutely worth finding someone who knows your worth, so do not give away your precious time to people who don’t know how valuable a date with you is. Spend your time with people who value what you have to offer and make it so clear that you are a priority in their life that you don’t ever have to wonder, “Does he like me?”
I am currently taking the time to re-read Gary Chapman’s bestselling book, The 5 Love Languages. Whether you are single, in a relationship, married, or divorced I could not recommend this book enough, as it is all about how you can love the important people in your life in a way that is meaningful to them.
“Gift giving” has always been one of my primary love languages, as I really enjoy taking the time to give people things that I know will make them happy, and it makes me feel really special when someone picks out something small just for me. Since I started dating Robert, though, I have noticed that “quality time” has become my top love language. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that we did a deployment together and I wouldn’t trade time with him for anything.
Physical touch is tied with gift giving at my second greatest love language, and words of affirmation are right after that. Acts of service come in last with a measly 1 point. Instead of focusing on my greatest love languages, though, today I want to focus on my least — acts of service.
I think it’s so important to take this quiz and know what your most important — and least important — love languages are because they help you learn how to love the people around you even better. Something I realized when I took this quiz and saw how low “acts of service” is in my heart is that I don’t necessarily take note of the love in people’s actions when they perform an act of service for me. Having a chronic illness has really made a lot of my friends and family step up to try and make my life easier. Friends come pick me up at my house to go out for dessert (A few even drive over an hour one way to meet up with me on a regular basis!), carry my purse for me when we go out, and my parents drive me to countless doctors appointments with no complaints. These are all ways people are showing me that they love me through their actions.
I always really appreciate when loved ones take time out of their day to do these things for me, and I often feel bad that I can be such a big inconvenience. I haven’t ever thought of this as their way to show love to me, though. In the past I haven’t taken note of these actions as ways to love; I’ve just thought they were people merely being “nice” to me since I have a physical disability. From now on instead of feeling incredibly awkward that I am causing a problem for someone else, I am going to take a moment to realize that this is their way of showing me that they love and care about me.
I encourage you to find out what your most important love language is because you will be able to better articulate to your friends and significant other what makes you feel loved, however I think we should all go a step further and pay closer attention to the ways people give us the love we feel least connected to. Ever since I have decided to be more aware of the ways people give love to me I have actually felt more surrounded by love than I ever have before. Paying close attention to the little things people do for me every day has made me realize that utilizing your least important love language can still make you feel incredibly loved and will sometimes be the way people you care about will choose to love you.
Sometimes dating is just about collecting moments with people who won’t last.
One of the most romantic things a date has done for me was learning how to play one of my favorite songs for me on the guitar. He knew I am kind of obsessed with Taylor, and took the time to learn how to play Wildest Dreams for me. I was really touched when he broke out the guitar and serenaded me with a beautiful acoustic version of the song, and slightly off key vocals to accompany it.
In the next few weeks of dating he learned All Too Well and Style, as those are two of my other favorites. He later told me he learned Thomas Rhett’s Die A Happy Man for me, as that was one of the only artists we both enjoyed.
I’m not going to lie, serenading a girl is one of the most attractive things a guy can do. Part of it is just knowing they took the time to learn something new for you, but something is also beautiful about someone letting you into the world of what they are passionate about. Whether or not you play the guitar you should totally learn one song to play for your bae.
This particular gentleman ended up being very different than the person I had him pegged for, so we broke it off a few weeks into dating, but this is a fond memory I will keep of the time we spent together.
Today’s lesson: Use your unique talents to show people you care about them! Whether it’s through singing and music, cooking, or — if you’re like me — writing, time is a special present you can give someone.