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Tiny Wisdom: Enjoying the People We Love

“Good relationships don’t just happen. They take time, patience, and two people who truly want to be together.” ~Unknown

In the past, whenever I heard someone say that relationships take effort, I assumed it was a person who wasn’t in a happy one.

When it’s right, it shouldn’t feel like work; it should be effortless—or so I thought, ironically, in a time when I had few relationships.

What I didn’t realize then is that things change over time—we change over time—and that we need to choose each day to see the people we love with new eyes.

I’ve been with my boyfriend for three years now, and although my feelings for him have only grown deeper, there are times when I let our familiarity create a wall between us. It’s not conflict, or mistrust, or disappointment—it’s the subtle knowing that he’s always there.

If I’m not mindful, I can use that as an excuse to not be there with him. To be physically present, but not really—not aware and connected.

When the newness is gone and you’re part of each other’s routine, especially if you live together, it’s easy to shift the dynamic from fun, excitement, and spontaneity to habit, necessity, and responsibility.

But it’s not just a matter of taking each other for granted. Sometimes when we’ve gotten comfortable with each other, we forget to focus on everything we appreciate about each other, and fixate instead on the little things that we might find bothersome.

It can be instinctive to hone in on the small things that aren’t working instead of realizing just how many big things are.

Psychologists suggest that healthy relationships have a five to one ratio of positive to negative interactions. I suspect the ratio holds true for positive to neutral interactions, as well. In other words: We need to enjoy other more often than we simply share space.

We need to make it a priority to be silly, playful, spontaneous, generous, thoughtful, and affectionate.

Sometimes we may not fully see the people we love because we’re too caught up in our own worries. Other times, it might be because we’re too comfortable to fully appreciate what comfort means.

Either way, we can make a little time to smile with the people we love. It might take effort to come into the moment, but once we let ourselves enjoy each other, it rarely feels like work.

Photo by Wonderlane

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About Lori Deschene

Tiny Buddha Founder Lori Deschene is the author of the Tiny Wisdom eBook series and co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an eCourse that helps you change your life. She's now seeking stories for her next book, 365 Tiny Love Challenges from Tiny Buddha. Click here to share your story and follow on Facebook for inspiring posts and wisdom quotes.

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  • http://exciramedia.com/ Shannon Steffen

    I have been with my best friend for 17 years and married to him for 13 years. Yes, I call him my best friend rather than my husband because, early on in our relationship, we realized how so many marriages fail. The problem is mutual respect for the other person being… well… and individual person.

    Society gets so caught up on “entitlement” in every day life that relationships become one sided if not worked on and respected. My husband and I are two separate people with differing likes and dislikes. The main things we share in are respect and values.

    We respect each other and value the other person. We allow joy to always fill our own hearts before sharing it with each other. We understand that if we are not healthy and whole, our relationship will not be healthy and whole.

    Sure, we disagree and roll our eyes at each other from time to time. No relationship is perfect. However, we don’t allow disagreements to remove the shared respect we have for each other on a daily basis.

    To ensure that our strong relationship continues, we leave each other love notes, allow each other space and do things for each other without asking… just to see the other person smile. If they don’t smile… that’s alright because we did it with love and nothing can take that away from us.

  • http://journeyofasoulsearcher.blogspot.com/ Madison Sonnier

    This is a really important thing to remember—especially when being with the people you love becomes routine, like you said. We need to consciously look for ways to show that we love and appreciate their presence in our life. :-)

    And if you don’t mind my asking, how did you and your boyfriend meet? (I like hearing stories of how couples met. haha)

    <3 Madison 

  • http://optimalternative.com/ Mark B Hoover

    A good relationship is empowering. It facilitates the constant flow of love, which is the power behind all things.

    When we can see in others what we see in ourselves, we should look for love and be aware of the obstacles that can arise over time. That is why communication is paramount. If, as you say, reasons arise to “be physically present, but not really—not aware and connected” an awareness should kick in that virtual walls are materializing.

    That is not to say that our daily existence is contingent upon a constant flow of chatter between the two. We all need our private space. That, however, is easily known by open declaration or the more intimate “way of knowing” that close couples enjoy.

    When intimacy ebbs, I don’t go to “What are we doing wrong?” I go to “What did we do right?” And I go from there.

    ~ Mark

  • Gastrl

    Being mindful and Communication is essential! Along with relaying honest feelings… . Thank you for this article. It has helped me today… <3

  • Cap279

    Great advice:)

  • http://twofeetgrounded.blogspot.sg/ Shirly Oh

    thanks for the sharing, and this is exactly what i am realising and learning to work on it now. it is often too easy to take those around for granted, not only partners but family, friends, even our family pets :)

  • http://IrvingsJourney.com/ Irving Podolsky

    I’ve only really known two marriages – my parent’s union and my own. They are very different from each other and I’ve learned much from the contrast. Rule number one, as you so well explained in this post: DON’T LET YOUR RELATIONSHIP GO STALE.

    I’ve been sharing my life with a special woman for 36 years. There are two main components that keep our marriage stimulating:

    (1) We both give each other the freedom to CHANGE by ourselves, and…

    (2) We then share those changes with each other.

    My wife and I are constantly encountering new situations and learning new things, and since we’re both STORY-TELLERS we talk about our daily adventures every night.

    “Darling, how was your day today?” Yes. We really ask that!

    Because our individual journeys are so different and because we are creatively involved with what we do, we are constantly growing, subtly and not so subtly. The changes are interesting. In a two-year span, my wife leaped from total computer-resistance to using two PowerBooks and a smart phone!

    “You’re not the man I married.”

    No, I’m not. And how boring it would be if I WERE.

    Irv

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks–I’m glad you enjoyed this post!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome! Good point about our family and friends–and our pets!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I think you bring up a great point Mark–that we don’t need to constantly fill the air with chatter in order to connect. I think sometimes it’s just the awareness of our love and appreciation for the people we love.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I think you’ve defined a healthy, happy marriage. I hope my boyfriend and I have one like you do someday!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I don’t mind you asking at all! We met at karaoke, and we sang “Somewhere Out There” together that first night. He caught my eye originally because he sang “Mad, Mad World.” I love that song. And I love him. =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I’m glad it helped. =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    That’s wonderful Irv–about allowing each other to change. I think if we allow ourselves to grow, individually and togerher, we’re less likely to grow apart!

  • Abinaya Kannan

    Such a beautiful post and how true is it! Very recently, I wrote a post on my blog about relationships. Not the kind your talking about, but the kind that terms as abusive, suffocating and unhealthy. I felt we need to treasure ourselves more than the other in such ones. But then, if the relationship is practically perfect, we need to remember that all along! I’ve always felt relationships are hard-work, they sometimes don’t pay, all you get is snorts and fizzing anger, but yes they’re well worth it when the person hugs you after not seeing you for a while, supports you in your endeavors, laughs with you and keeps you happy.

    Well.. Relationships are life and if they’re happy, so will your life be! :)

    Great post Lori. :)

  • Bhavini Shah

    True to evrey word, thanks for sharing!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thanks Abinaya! I think a lot of us don’t even recognize abusive behavior when we see it, when it’s subtle or emotional. For a long time, I didn’t. I just thought certain things were “normal.” After experiencing unhealthy for so long, I almost didn’t know how to receive love within a healthy relationship. Now I realize that, like you said, happy relationships are the foundation of a happy life, and I’m so grateful to have some in mine.

  • http://IrvingsJourney.com/ Irving Podolsky

     It worked for me.

    Irv

  • anonymous11

    wonderful article…

  • Erin

    I also thought that if a relationship didn’t come together like magic with no fighting and only pure joy that it was not meant to be. My boyfriend of two years and I are completely different, but I think that was what attracted me to him. He has helped me to grow in ways I couldn’t have predicted and I have helped him to understand my side of things. He is stubborn and outspoken, only looking at the facts while I am extremely emotional and look at people’s feelings. We both view the world in two different ways and this allows us to compliment each other. What I thought might not last has turned into two years and steps toward a life together. I had to get past what I thought defined a good relationship and learn about how I define a good relationship. He is not who I thought I would fall for but sometimes life surprises you. Thank you for this post!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    That’s wonderful you compliment each other in that way! I love what you wrote here:

    “I had to get past what I thought defined a good relationship and learn about how I define a good relationship.”

    My boyfriend and I are also different in fundamental ways (though similar when it comes to values, interests, and overall outlook on life). I’m emotional and introverted, and I have the potential to be overly work-focused. He’s rational (although sensitive), extroverted, and was formerly pretty laid-back when it came to career ambitions. We both feel that we balance each other out, and become better people for being with each other. I was definitely pleasantly surprised to meet him three years ago. =)

  • Annajade911 Vm

    Well said i been with my boyfriend for nine years 3 kid’s later he’s 34 im 27 sometimes i feel disconected from him now that he’s older i feel he don’t want to do much i know he works and is tired on his day off all he wants to do is relax he was never like this before all a sudden things change but im trying not to let this ruin our relationship nothing well ever be perfect i still appreciate him for being there with us.. Your story made me feel even better about my relationship.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I’m glad this made you feel better. Your boyfriend’s fortunate to have a loving girlfriend who appreciates him. =)

  • Mamaleza

    People grow & change i believe its a matter of loving someone enough to want to grow & change with them. In love, understanding & respect.