Learning to Be Yourself Again in a Relationship—It Takes Time to Reach the Comfy T-shirt Stage


Have you ever noticed how couple pictures look better and better with time—like there’s the slightly awkward smiles or the anxious sweaty face in the beginning pictures but with time and security in the relationship, the pics get better and better? The smiles and postures more relaxed?

Maybe it’s just me.

I think we all have a dream relationship model. Me, I’ve always wanted to be with a best friend, someone I can journey through life with, someone who lets me grow and whom I can grow comfy with, like a T-shirt that gets softer and stretchier with each wash.

But as you get older and have experienced not only rejection but also rejection after being in a relationship in which you “did” get comfortable—letting your guard down only to get heartbroken—you tend to build up some walls. You have a harder time letting your hair down and relaxing into your next relationship. But while you should do your best not to make your partner pay for the sins of your past relationships, the right person will be patient as you learn to be comfy again. And there’s also the fun thing called anxiety that some of us struggle with, a thing we can learn to manage but which can still affect us nonetheless.

This week, my guy and I will reach our one-year-of-dating mark. And I am still, to be honest, learning to let my guard down. Since the beginning of our relationship, though, Justin has been patient with me on this. He has mentioned a few times how he can’t wait until I am completely comfortable with him. He knows the ways in which I’ve been hurt, revealed in time as I have shared more of my heart and story with him, but he’s also seen enough glimpses of my humor and weird to know that I can let my guard down and just relax.

I have always wanted this. This patience to allow me to grow into a relationship again and into my own skin a little more. Don’t get me wrong—I don’t think we should go into a relationship looking for it to complete us. But I do think a relationship can help us to grow and heal, displaying God’s grace and love.

I can think of certain moments in my relationship this past year when I let my hair down completely, and these moments, coupled with my man’s patience and love, are moving him closer and closer into best friend territory, which I have always wanted. I remember when he called me his best friend and how happy I was, not thinking of it as being friend zoned but of how highly he thought of me. (He also wants his partner to be his best friend.)

And in the past few weeks, I have started noticing my man’s little quirks, things only someone paying attention would notice. And it has made me strangely happy to know that I care about this man enough to notice them.

Just a reminder, the right person will take the time to get to know you. He or she will see you as worthy of patience and care and love. To Jesus, you’re already the pearl of great price (so you are already unconditionally loved), but I also believe to the right human-being partner for you, you will be worth the grit and the time it takes for the pearl to fully form.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

—Matthew 13:45–46 (NKJV)

Or in my metaphor, you’ll be worth all the [wash] cycles to get to that comfy, perfect T-shirt stage.


Thank you, babe, for letting me grow. One day, I trust our relationship will be as comfy as the 10K T-shirt I still have and wear from when I was six(?) and walked a 10K with my daddy (and the last time I did a 10K, or anything with K in the title). Seriously, this T-shirt is legit.

I am not saying how old this T-shirt is, but I will say it is a couple decades old, and I had to fish it out of the laundry basket for this picture. #comfiestTshirtever

Have a wonderful week! Do you have a favorite piece of clothing? Feel free to share in the comments! 🙂

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

—1 Corinthians 13:4–13 (NIV)


  1. Congratulations to everyone who has reached the “T-shirt” stage! It’s one of the signs that you’re in a healthy relationship. My wife started wearing my shirts to be around the house so i bought “myself” some more. I haven’t wear those shirts in two years, they seem to be her favorite.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m happy for you, two, too! I have a summer dress that’s falling apart where it’s big pockets area attached. I’ve sewn them back on, but it’s looking pretty ragged. I still wear it around the house. Its made from thin cotton fabric with a pattern of egg shapes and three little crosses in each egg. I will never throw it away.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so happy for you, friend! Darryl and I have been together 12 years now. The comfy tshirt stage is the best! While we are comfortable, we make sure to take time and remember what we love about the shirt (the relationship) in the first place. Thanks for sharing ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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