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Brene Brown says that “Vulnerability is not about winning. It’s not about losing. It’s having the courage to show up — when you can’t control the outcome.”

Can I be real with you? Romantic relationships scare the living daylights out of me. Like, seriously.
Why is that? Well, here are a few things I was taught in my #cult growing up:

1. Happy and healthy relationships are fairytales. Marriage is supposed to be painful because God would rather us be holy than happy.

2. The person you date is NOT the person you think they are. You can’t trust your impression about someone. Who they are during the dating phase is always a lie, or at the very least, a mirage. Once you marry, they instantly change, like Jekyll and Hyde.

3. You can’t get too close to your significant other or God will see them as an idol and will take them away (kill them) in order to teach you a lesson and force you to be dependent on Him.

4. There is no such thing as unconditional love. Love must be earned. If you mess up, your partner will not love you.

5. If you feel cherished and adored by your man while dating, expect that to end as soon as you say ”I do”. Dating for men is a chase, and as soon as the chase is over, they have zero motivation to care for their wife.

Any wonder why romantic relationships terrify me?! So what are my choices?
I could shut the world out, crawl into a hole, and pray I never get hurt by someone.
I could rehearse these lies from the cult and see marriage as a life-long death sentence.
Or, I could have courage. I could Dare Greatly. I could rise up. I could face the arena, and all the blood, sweat, and tears that comes with it.

If I do indeed get married one day, it just might turn out to be the most beautiful, healing gift in the world for me. But I will never get the chance to find out unless I have courage and step out into that arena.
Courage is not about being fearless. Courage is being scared half to death about something every single day, but every single day you face it, fight it, forge through it, and grow through it anyway.

~Em

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About the Author

Emily Elizabeth Anderson is a Christian blogger and rising activist for people who have experienced abuse within a Christian environment.

After growing up in a fundamentalist cult for 23 years and experiencing childhood domestic violence, Emily began her journey to recovery in 2015 and eventually found Jesus to be her ultimate healer. She soon turned her passion for writing into a blog and her story has since been featured on several media outlets including NPR.

She married her best friend, Joshua, in 2020 and together they are passionate about educating on the realities of trauma survival and recovery, as well as supporting survivors they meet through their online community.

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