With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I think it’s only fair that we have a frank discussion about romantic love, no?
Relationships are hard work. It takes work to grow and foster a connection and love can’t exist without a real connection.
When I say work, I don’t mean struggle. Struggle is different. If you’re struggling with someone – if you’re feeling like there’s more bad than good, if you can’t see eye to eye on anything and you’re more sad than happy, that’s struggle and that’s not the same thing.
I’ve had my share of difficulties in relationships. I’ve been married and divorced and rekindled a relationship that I thought was over. I’ve read a shit-ton (that’s the technical term) of articles on love and what writers think makes romantic love last. I’ve read books that attempt to break down love to its most basic tenets to help readers get closer to understanding what keeps relationships strong beyond the honeymoon stage.
There are couples that vow opposites attract. Others are convinced that their love grows stronger everyday because they’re alike in every way.
There are a million pieces of sage advice dished out about how you can tell if you’ve met ‘the one’ and how to know if it’ll last.
You know what I think it all boils down to? Simple. Love.
Let’s be real. There will always be challenges when we throw another person into the mix. Learning to live with someone is a skill within itself, especially if you’ve lived on your own for a while and have a certain way of doing things.
I think the key to a successful relationship – one in which both people feel supported, heard and held – is the ability to toss out the fears and caution behind loving another person and connect on that level.
If you’re going to love someone or claim you love someone, I think you have to go all in.
You have to be ready to have those honest conversations about how you feel in any given situation.
You have to be ready to back down when you’re in the middle of a heated argument and try to see the other person’s point of view. I’m not saying you have to agree but you do have to understand that it’s not always about being right. It’s about discussing, relating and communicating. It’s about respecting that they may have an entirely different point of view, which is neither right nor wrong.
You have to laugh at each other and with each other, not only at the easiest times but also when the chips are down. You have to know how to play with each other. When things get tense, it takes a lot to be able to pull out of a situation and smile at someone you love when they’re doing that little thing that drives you nuts but you know won’t make or break you two.
You have to be eager to rediscover who your partner is. Rather than make assumptions about who they are and what they think – be curious about each other. People change. And despite the fact that you might think you know your partner inside and out, you have to let them surprise you. You don’t spend every waking minute with your partner and there’s no way you can possibly know everything they’re experiencing. There’s no way to know how their perspective has changed on things based on what they’ve been through and how they integrate these experiences.
There are tons of ways that love works. What works for one couple could mean the end for another but love can’t develop, grow and sustain without a sense of connection.
Much love XXX