FULL DISCLOSURE FOR ALL ANTI-ROMANTICS: I am about to quote The Notebook. You have been fully warned. Proceed at your own risk.

Young Noah: "Well, that's what we do! We fight! You tell me when I'm being an arrogant son of a b[rother] and I tell you when you're being a pain in the a[rm] (Sorry guys, curse-free zone in the Dollhouse!), which you are 99% of the time. I'm not afraid to hurt your feelings. They have, like, a two second rebound rate, then you're back doing the next pain-in-the-a[rm] thing...So it's not gonna be easy. It's gonna be really hard. And we're gonna have to work at this every day."

I know what you are probably thinking. Ah, here we go again; another blog post on romantic relationship goals and the struggle to keep the lifelong flame ignited until death-do-you-part. Nah, not quite. This blog post is about a type of relationship you have had much longer than any romance: friendships. No offense to Nicholas Sparks, but with all due respect I think we all get it; fight for the man/woman you love because he/she is worth breaking down all walls and boundaries. Please don't think I am annoyed by this sentiment; in fact, I find it to be quite true! It is not that I have an issue with fighting for the love of your life at all. I just find that when it comes to friendships in general we are so much less eager to dive into the nitty gritty and stick it out when the going gets hard. 

Since I've been married, my eyes have been open to many things I failed to consider before. One of them has been the role of friends in my life. And i'm not talking about the surface, fleeting kind. You know what I mean. The women you engage in light but frequent texting with, are sure to take selfies together at parties because you run in the same circle, perhaps meet for brunch just to catch up on the latest gossip but never really go too deep in soul matters with lest they see too much of the real you (And God forbid you become the object of gossip at the next brunch!).

Since my wedding, a handful of women I was sure were genuine, lifelong friends disappeared one by one as quickly as they came into my life. It's never a good feeling when after the hype of the biggest party of your life ends, reality hits you square in the face as friendships die down along with the wedding cake and music. I remember a few months after my honeymoon crying to my new husband, utterly perplexed and angered as to how in the world friendships could be so brittle, falling apart after a single moment of dissonance. Emeka wiped my tears and responded, "Remember, Jesus Himself only had an inner circle of three friends. You are blessed beyond measure to count the authentic friendships given to you. Let this painful experience teach you the true value of these friendships; that you would never take them for granted and recognize what is worth fighting for."

Even now as I sit here and type out these words my heart is spilling over in the deepest gratitude. There remain a handful of precious women that have marked my life in faithfulness and loyalty drenched in love, specifically when we have had moments of quarrels. As a matter of fact, every single one of the closest sisters in my life all have that common thread: our journey together has at some point been marked with a committed resolve to push through conflict. I have always been delighted to have friends from all walks of life, whether it be in family dynamic or culture. However, the truth of the matter is when two people who are so inherently different come together, it is only a matter of time before they clash. The redeeming quality about my true friendships is that we do not shy away from disagreement as we know the stark reality that it is indeed inevitable. Rather, we have each made a conscious decision to CHOOSE reconciliation regardless. 

I have learned that reconciliation does not mean that you will always agree with the other person. Websters dictionary defines "reconciliation" as the restoration of friendly relations. Note that "relations" is the object of reconciling. The relationship. Not the problem. The focus in mending issues should always be the person of value before you. Even in the very worst of circumstances, this remains true. Jesus said, "Hate the sin, not the sinner." That is the power of agape love (1 Corinthians 13) which is of the highest kind: selfless, unconditional, and no more or less exactly how God loves you and me. 

Another vital part of reconciliation in friendships is that BOTH parties must make a full and conscious effort to find peace and harmony. This most challenging piece of the process is where the real fabric and strength of the relationship lies. Weak and counterfeit friendships don't stand a chance here. It takes a ton of humility to lay down your own preconceived notions and assumptions in order to hear another person's point of view. Often times when confronted with opposing view points, we immediately feel like we are being attacked and in turn draw our own weapons (whether they be blame shifting, anger, silence etc.) at the other person as a defense mechanism. A damaging cycle fueled by pride then ensues, at the very least leaving both parties with wounded feelings and worst of all, potentially shattering the friendship altogether.  

I'm no expert at reconciliation by any means; however, I am deeply committed to choosing restoration over pride, selfishness, [insert your own struggle here]. No, my friends aren't perfect; but before God Almighty I am the farthest from flawless. Yes, my friends and I have and will continue to bicker in disagreement and THANK GOD because that only means they aren't mindless robots who automatically agree with everything I say just to appease me! I have found that healthy conflict refines both parties in the way that iron sharpens iron. 

I leave you with this final plea: For goodness sake, fight for reconciliation in your friendships! Consciously deny that selfish inkling lodged deep within yourself - you know, the little guy/girl who always says you're right - and actively choose the more difficult path. I assure you that if both parties stick it out, you will find that LOVE trumps any and all feuds 100% of the time. And you will be able to look at your friend decades down that rough and tumble road and confidently say... Ah, I'm just going to let Glinda from Wicked finish this closing sentiment because let's face it, no one can do it better...

"I've heard it said,
That people come into our lives,
For a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are lead to those,
Who help us most to grow if we let them
And we help them in return
Well I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today,
Because I knew you
Like a comet pulled from orbit,
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder,
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better,
But because I knew you,
I have been changed for good."

"For Good", Wicked


Xoxo, Diwa Doll


Featuring Nha Khanh


Photography: Haoyan Ge, Instagram @hycvision