“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