“I can tell you I love you as many times as you can stand to hear it, but all that does is remind us that love is not enough.” -George, Life as a House
While discussing relationships with a friend, she commented how my wife Michelle and I have a great relationship. She was impressed with how easy we made it look, that this was proof that we were a good match. Unfortunately, I have to debunk this myth. Our relationship is not great because we’re compatible, we’re soul mates, or anything like that. In fact, our success has a very simple cause.
We work at it.
In fact, we work at it a lot, from a multitude of angles. There is a constant communication and adjustment as we grow older, as life moves around us, as we adjust to all that happens to us. I am not the man I was when I first met her, nor is she the same woman. As each of us changes, the other has to be prepared to deal with it.
Our current challenge is a financial one. The building industry is slow in Michigan, and I am not working full-time. My wife is still in the first years of being self-employed, so her income is sporadic and unpredictable. Every month is a struggle to pay all of the bills while still maintaining enough quality of life to prevent breakdowns. Love doesn’t fill stomachs or balance checkbooks. We deal with this problem through clear communication of our situation, our goals, and our methodology of meeting those goals. It’s not digging ditches, but it is work.
Which is the key point of this: relationships require work. You need to invest time and effort into making your relationship work. Being in love does not make this work go away. Love can make relationship work more fulfilling, but not make it any less work. If you want to have a “relationship” that doesn’t require any input from you, go get a goldfish. Anything above that will require you to be an active participant.
Love is not enough to make a relationship flourish. Nor is great sex, expensive toys, or extravagant living. You get out what you put into a relationship. What a good one? Go get to work.
-That is all.