How one couple took their challenges and turned it into shared strength.
Relationships can be rough – this isn’t a surprise. They can be scary, intimidating, frustrating and an overall handful. At the same time, the right person can make all of those hardships and hurdles that come along to be worth it. Some couples may choose that they can’t go on any longer and that it’s time to call it quits, while others may have the abilities to fight through and make the best out of a situation. One couple in particular has gone through the good, the bad and the heartbreaks that can come with those trying times. However, not only have they found their way back and grown up immensely throughout the six year span of their relationship; they have proven time and time again how strong they are both together and apart. Now, about to have a family of their own, Lisa Arthur and Ryan Santana are prepared to take on the world – together.
After shooting his shot with a Facebook message to Lisa, Ryan finally had the chance to meet his online crush in person in a coincidental meeting at a homecoming game. The pair hit it off right away, spending the entire night with one another taking pictures and getting to know one another in a way you couldn’t do online. “If I’m being completely honest, I was so nervous and felt like I was being so awkward… by the time the game as over I was really low-key feeling her. I remember the first time I heard her laugh I swear the little voice in my head was like ‘f***.’ I went up to her to say goodbye, gave her a hug and went in for the kiss. I was hooked,” gushed Santana. “I knew the first night I met her that I was definitely interested to get to know her better. I remember I kept saying for the longest time that I didn’t want to date her because we had a great friendship. It was shortly after the unfortunate death of our friend Jessica that I really realized that I would do anything for this girl. The feelings have basically always been there since day one just because we just clicked so fast.”
After that first day, the couple began to grow with one another and felt their connection begin to deepen. “I knew from the second I laid eyes on him that I was going to fall for him, no matter how hard I tried not to. I’d ramble on and on about how cute, sweet and funny he was to literally anyone who would listen. But it wasn’t until farther down the line that I knew this was going to be something serious. In 2015, when we really became a thing again, I remember being in the car with him while he was singing and just looking over at him thinking ‘wow, I love him,’” says Arthur.
Like any other couple, Arthur and Santana had their share of ups and downs. Santana is a proud trans-man and Arthur would hear the comments tirelessly. However, she has never let other people’s opinions of their relationship stand in the way of the two being together. “I have so many supportive people around me, and their comments lift me up. I’ve known Ryan for almost six years now, and in all that time I have never taken a negative comment to heart. I refuse to even humor that kind of negativity, so instead of letting it bother me, I cut it out.”
Another issue that has begun to stand out amongst any other judgements has been the fact that the two are now starting a family together. Since the pair was not together for a little bit of time, Arthur ended up being blessed with the opportunity to bring a child into this world – a beautiful baby girl named Aria whom is due in November of 2018. As the couple found their way back to one another, they decided to raise Aria together. However, some individuals have felt the need to intervene and spread negativity toward the new family. Even with the comments being thrown their way, the couple has chosen to push it aside and embrace their new life as a family.
“It’s always been a dream of mine and Ryan’s to have our own family. Our relationship has been far from perfect, but I don’t have a doubt in my mind that this is it for us! This little girl is a blessing and we’re going to love her unconditionally and make her family the most special thing in her life! At the end of the day, I’m Aria’s mom and he’s her dad, and that’s the end of that! No one can tell me otherwise,” says Arthur proudly. Santana quickly added, “Anyone can make a baby that’s the easy part. There hasn’t been a doubt in my mind that this baby won’t be spoiled with love from her mom and her dad.”
Regardless of any kind adversity that came their way, Arthur and Santana managed to stand tall and not let their hardships, both in their personal relationship and outside of it, get in the way of their happiness as a whole. “There’s absolutely no way for anything to shake us, unless we back down and let it shake us. At the point we’re at now, I really believe we have never been stronger. I love him more than I ever have, I’m more attracted to him than I’ve ever been, and I look at him as the lifelong partner that I’ve always hoped for him to be,” says Arthur.
When it comes to why they’ve always come back to one another after all this time, through the good and the bad, Santana credits their mutual friend Jessica, who is now an angel up above. “I was there for her at 4:00am when she needed to cry to after Jessica passed… I remember one day a couple years ago she told me that Jessica told her one day at school that she likes me and her together. Sometimes I feel like she’s up there just tugging at our heart strings and pushing us back to each other.”
“She’s always been my best friend. I feel like it was a really good thing that we were able to learn each other on a friendship level first. We’ve both seen each other at our worst. We both learned how each other works… I feel like our relationship is like one of those birthday candles that keep relighting. Even after all the horrible stuff and bad times, we can still come back strong again,” says Santana.
While Arthur and Santana aren’t shy to admit that their relationship throughout the past several years has been rocky at times, the two also believe that giving up is not an option when it comes to someone you love. “The best advice I can give is to never
give up, no matter what. If you love someone, let them know every single chance you get! Overuse ‘I love you’ until your face turns blue. Never let your partner go to bed upset – always make up, even if it’s just ‘I’m sorry, I love you.’ Just never lose sight of the fact that you have each other. Sometimes you have to think of it as you and your partner against the world, and if that’s what it ever comes down to that’ll be all you need! Life is too short to take all the little good things for granted, and love is far too important, it’s the single most important thing in the entire world,” explains Arthur.
As for Santana, he stresses the importance of paying attention to your partner. “Don’t forget to listen. Learn body language. Don’t forget to have FUN. It’s ok to feel defeated sometimes. I’ve learned that the people who really love and support you WILL be there for you no matter who you love. Also, don’t change who you are for anyone unless it’s to build you up as a person.”