Aside from these pictures, this was the worst year of my life. The actual words out of Dylan’s mouth right now were “Pretty much everything about 2016 blew, except for we planned a wedding… and we didn’t die.”

2016 was the year that was supposed to be this “year of growth and incredible life events”. It was the year where I watched my entire world shatter around me. You know, I thought that I was very transparent on the blog and with the people in my life, but that’s not true. In fact, there’s so much that you didn’t know. It was like I was sharing my life with you like a bunch of puzzle pieces, and I was keeping the most important ones from you so you couldn’t complete it.

In honesty, my anxiety stemmed from inside my home. Dylan and I struggled to love each other. At 24 years old, I thought I was going to marry someone who I would end up regretting. That’s a scary thought, and while most people would run for the hills- I realized that this was so much more important than giving up. In reality, anyone can walk away from a life long commitment. Giving up is one of the easiest things you can do… Your strength really lies on repairing and rebuilding a whole bunch of broken. (Now, I’m not condoning staying in a situation that’s unsafe, or a situation that ultimately has no good ending. I knew that this didn’t need to be as bad as it was…)

Let me just point out that broken was the most polite was to describe this. We spent months angry with each other, letting it compound and shatter us from the inside out. I internalized our relationship struggles and let anxiety (and maybe a little depression) overtake my life. Dylan did not… So I blamed Dylan. & Dylan blamed Dylan, but threw it back at me. We slept next to each other every single night filled with hurt. We would go to work, hang out with friends, and pretend that we liked each other.

We had reached a breaking point.

Now let me back up a little bit, not all days were bad. There were plenty of times when we would go out and do something, have tons of fun, and life was great. But those moments were definitely overshadowed by the constant anger and fighting. Literally, looking back on all the pictures of this last year and a half are brutal. Chicago? Fight. California? Fight. Road trips home? Fight. Birthday? Fight. Date Night? HAHAHA. Fight. We didn’t know how to get alone anymore, for an extended period of time. We knew we loved each other, that never went away- but we lost out on the “best friend” moments and turned them into “enemy” moments. We had a hard time being in each other’s corner.

It took from about July 2015 until November 2016, but it’s gone. We woke up one morning and looked at each other and weren’t angry anymore. I can’t take those 16 months back, but I swear to God, this relationship could not get better. I remember calling my mom in a panic one afternoon, crying so hard that I couldn’t talk into the phone, begging her to help me. This was real life, and it was something we had to face, and we did. I’ve never ever been as in love with Dylan as I am now.

And it’s evident in MY personal health. My indigestion is gone, I’m healthy. My body doesn’t ache and carry around extra stress. I haven’t had ANY of those scary symptoms that I used to, and it’s absolutely insane that anxiety can spin a fight with my fiance and make me convince myself I’m in pain and dying. But it all makes sense…

That’s why I gained weight. That’s why I stopped talking to friends. That’s why I dreaded doing pretty much every activity. I took my relationship and projected it to every part of my world.

Then November came, and after a week of “the pit of my stomach” feeling, the most open talk about anxiety and our future, we really just cast everything onto the one person who we never should have lost in the first place. God. We talk to each other now. We talk to God. We go to church on Sunday. We make time for each other. We laugh. We smile. And when we fight, it lasts about 17 minutes because one person busts into the other’s office and in a fit of laughter we move on.

That’s something that didn’t exist before last month. I would hold onto everything, for months. I would bring up his threat to break up with me, and would use it as ammunition to destroy him and the moment we were in. It was almost like a sickness. Dylan was supposed to be my rock, and instead he was like a piece of paper. He would disappear in the wind when I needed him most. He didn’t know how to handle an unstable fiance, so he contributed to it. We fed off of uncertainty and pain.

Why did I power through the thick fog of pain in my relationship and continue to plan a wedding, despite the fact that we pretty much hated each other? Because I knew that it could be healed. Dating Jen and Dylan were fun. But life was simple. When life was no longer simple and we were 6 hours away from the world we knew, we only had one outlet to destroy. It was each other.

So yeah, this year was a piece of shit. I mean, 11/12ths of it was. The last month of my life has been the best since moving out of Minnesota. Maybe it’s because the whole idea of a husband is finally fitting into the way Dylan’s treating me and I’m learning how to be a real life wifey (but we’re still eating nachos for dinner every night) or maybe it’s because we made it through the most rock bottoms of rock bottom. Regardless, I’m hopeful that 2017 will be our best year yet.

Let me end here: This never needed to be shared, and I’m sure there’s plenty of judgement that will be passed as I hit the publish button on this blog, and that’s fine. Many people prefer their lives to be kept private, which is great. (or not, because relationships are a LOT of work, and sometimes talking about it will make you feel one thousand times better) I on the other hand spent 16 months hiding my real feelings from the world, while destroying myself. Not so great. Sure, it’s all healed now, but sometimes you don’t realize how free you feel until you can talk about your life. Your REAL life. And someone reading this needed to hear it… Because they feel like they’re the only relationship that fails each other, but yo, we failed each other daily and we made it through. Props to the Salisburys <3

This is real life. And in two weeks, I’ll be a wife, and I’ve never been more excited in my life.

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