One thing I've learned about relationships since Sarah and I got together over five years ago now (!!) is that they are a tug of war, essentially. There is (almost) always a giver and a taker, and this dynamic shifts based on need. Often one of us becomes the giver willingly, but occasionally they are forced to give even if they don't want to, because they love the other person so much.
When we first started dating, I was very much the taker. I was 20, independent, in London completely on my own, and was a serial first dater (hey, free meals! Being poor ain't pretty...), so I took what I could get from people, and if they wanted too much back (my time, attention, trust...) I'd drop them. Reminder, I was only young, I'm not a horrible person haha :) Quite honestly, it was only Sarah's determination to give and not be dropped, her somehow seeing that I was worth the drama, the tumultuous relationship, the weekly panics of me being unsure if I could get my white wedding and suburban house dream with a woman, that is the reason we are making those dreams come true today. Because she gave, and gave.
But when we moved to Australia, the dynamic changed. As we took this large step together and I became able to trust that S too was committed to us, I calmed down, grew up, and realised what a wonderful woman I had. I quickly became a giver because Sarah needed to take, as it was her first time away from home, she was homesick, struggling with when to tell her family about us, and then struggling with her parents' reaction after she did come out. I gave more in that period than I ever had in any relationship previously, and happily - because I loved and trusted her, and wanted only the very best for my girl.
Alas, when we returned from Australia the seesaw shifted again. I found myself struggling to get a job after my extended time off - three months without a permanent job had me shaken, and with Sarah getting the first job she interviewed for (which has been awesome, every time she's ever job hunted this has happened!), my confidence was shot, and my desire to work and be a functioning member of society was at an all time low. What would I have done without Sarah's giving nature then? If I was on my own, I probably would have gone home, to Idaho, permanently. But with Sarah carrying me I finally got a full time job, and we were back to normal again.
Since then, it's been much more even - the taker and giver changes on a daily, or weekly basis, and I think that's attributed to our unfaltering faith in the other - Sarah knows I will do anything to support or defend her, and am always here for a cuddle (as she's not much of a 'talk it out' er), and I know Sarah will make me talk about things, or I won't be able to get over them, and she'll do pretty much anything to not let things/people hurt me.
We still have our falters, always to do with the outside world of course, but the swings - the tug of war - is so much less dramatic and life consuming on both of our parts, now that we are committed to each other. It's very much us against the world if need be - I know no matter what goes wrong, with friends, jobs, family, or anything else - I will always have my wife (in 7 weeks!), and she will always have me. And that's a pretty amazing thing.