What do you think? Are your relationships easy? Should they be easy?
What about that old saying, “The most valuable things are those you work hard for.” Or is that only true in the fitness and finance sectors?
I’ve had my share of easy-going loves, as well as the more . . . challenging ones. But in my heart, I’ve always felt the One would be an easy love. That we’d know early on, as we ease into our life together, that the love and joy would flow free as a river. And we’d encourage growth in one another, not through fights or picking out faults, but through calm, well-intentioned discussions. Sometimes, at the end of a relationship, due to distance or misunderstanding, or through some unconscious fault of my own, this becomes incredibly difficult. I know I still have a lot of growing to do – I don’t ever intend to stop! – but couldn’t I grow with someone?
In the Stars?
“In the Chinese calendar, 2010 was the Year of the Tiger. If you’re feeling a little tuckered out after these past 12 months, don’t worry,that’s natural. The Tiger was quite a torrid one for relationships, full of tumultuous mood swings, lots of hard work and over-the-top passionate adventures.”
Whew! You can say that again . . .I have a lot of love to give, but after a year like that, I was ready to put it on lockdown!
A Word of Zen
Reading this beautiful passage from Zen Habits, I felt a sense of relief. It lent credence to tough decisions I’ve made about relationships in the past and gave me a sparkle of hope I intend to pass on. Here it is:
“Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Corey Allan of Simple Marriage.
Relationships are easy.
You may have read or heard the opposite, that relationships are hard work. I used to believe that was true. Not anymore.
Relationships are easy.
I understand that making time for someone else or giving up some of the things you love or getting your own way create some struggles in life – but once again, relationships are easy.
Perhaps what people who believe relationships are hard work are actually referring to the difficulty of interacting and living with an immature, childish human.
Why would it be hard work to be in relationship with a mature, caring grown up?
Here’s a couple of other questions to ponder:
Why is it that we are sometimes nicer to strangers than we are to loved ones?
Shouldn’t marriage and relationships lighten our load, not add to our burden? Because if it were the latter, why in the world would any of us sign up for something like this?
Perhaps the problem is that many times we get bogged down in a lot of the unnecessary parts of relationships and lose focus on the essential parts. Or we lose sight of the fact that our significant other is a separate being who is capable of making their own decisions and charting their own path in life.
But this fact isn’t a bad thing at all as it frees you up to do the same! And it also frees you both to choose each other – not feel like you’re stuck in a monotonous existence together.
Why relationships are easy
It all boils down to how you view what goes on within your relationships, specifically your significant ones.
First and foremost, marriage is designed to help you grow up. It’s not about happiness. It’s not about becoming more complete, despite what Hollywood and popular press would like you to believe. Marriage is about growing. Happiness will accompany you at times along the way, but it’s not the ultimate goal.
And second: your growth – your responsibility; your spouse’s – theirs. When you keep this in mind you realize that all you can control in a relationship is yourself.
Many times couples have sought my help in working on their marriage. They come in thinking their relationship is an outside entity that can be fixed. The problem with this is they’ve got it backwards – the relationship is working on them! That’s the way relationships are designed.
When you acknowledge this and live accordingly, relationships are easy.
How many times has something about your spouse’s behavior driven you crazy? Or how many heated discussions have come from your differences in beliefs?
The best way to combat this is found in this phrase: Rather than trying to adjust the wind, adjust your sails.
Focus on what you can control – and this begins and ends with you!
Simplify things in life so you can savor more of the goodness. This same idea can be applied to relationships.
And it starts by slowing down.
Do you have trouble remembering names when meeting someone new? Do you know why? Most of the time you’re too busy talking or thinking about what to say that you don’t even hear their name.
This happens in regular conversations as well. You’re busy or rushed thinking about something else and you miss the goodness of the moment with your spouse, or kids, or friends.
Slow down. Let their be pauses in the conversation while you think and respond. There doesn’t have to be a banter or speedy exchange of ideas in conversation.
Breathe. Listen. Breathe. Connect.
This will open you both up to more with each other.
Leo’s favorite guide works for most every aspect of relationships as well: “Smile, breathe, and go slowly.”
Just think how much better everything, and I mean everything (wink wink), will be when you follow this guide in your relationship?