Relationships are Forged in Fire

Relationships are Forged in Fire June 9, 2020

So, I am a pretty big fan of the show Survivor. And this year, they are doing a special season full of past winners. Before the season started, there was a lot of press – articles, videos, etc.

I was reading an article about some of the returning players, who had first been on Survivor like twenty years ago, and one thing really stuck out to me: how many marriages have happened between Survivor contestants. I once saw a meme that said there was more successful marriages to come out of the show The Biggest Looser than from The Bachelor.

This all sounds fun and anecdotal, but the reason I connect with it so much is because it is my story. I always dreamed of meeting my super hot future-wife in perfect circumstances and falling in love through a montage of romanticism. In reality, I slowly fell in love with a women who I, at first, didn’t connect with. We went through some difficulty, eventually became friends, and then fell in love.

Oh, by the way, all this happened while we were doing a Survivor-esque trip around the world, volunteering with organizations, and sleeping on the ground. It was not very romantic. There was no formal dress – I wore the same six t-shirts for a year.


How To Pursue A Relationship

This may not be a popular opinion, but I think if you want to find a spouse, you should put yourself in communities that are facing challenge, difficulty, and suffering. That is what happened with Kylie and I. We saw each other at our worst, at our ugliest. All the things we normally try to hide from potential mates was on full display.

And instead of repelling one another, it was fundamental in drawing us together. We did not fall in love in spite of the mess and struggle, but because of it.

Now, I am not suggesting we go looking for trouble. But I am suggesting we be a little less afraid of it.

I’m suggesting that love blossoms in trial. It manifests, grows, and blossoms in despair.

We spend so much time dreaming of the magic of love, of fireworks and wedding days fit for a fairy tale. And all that has its place.

But love, true love, is forged in the fire. There is nobody – friend, spouse, or family – that you truly love who you haven’t also been through some mess with. The struggles we face are opportunities, not just as an individual but communally.

If you are anything like me, you dreamed of the glamour and comfort and ease of love. You imagine The Bachelor is the kind of route that leads to romance and intimacy.

But your life looks more like Survivor (or The Biggest Looser). And that is a good thing. Because intimacy develops through the difficulties. We fall in love with the worst parts of people as well as the best. We fall in love with vulnerability and limitations much more than the façade of perfection.

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