I know someone is annoyed at the implication that relationships can be easy. And trust me I get it, because for as long as I can remember I've been consistently told that relationships are hard, take work and are essentially a chore that we need to be committed to. And I, like many of you, believed it, because at the point in my life I heard this notion, all of the life experience I had to fall back on, supported it. Eventually, however, I came to learn that sadly, many of the individuals sharing this information, are in relationships that they probably shouldn't be in...
That said, I have developed this post to serve as a "how to" for understanding what it should look like to be in a healthy and "easy" relationship. But for those who are skeptical about the content, let me first share with you my thoughts on what actually makes a relationship difficult.
What makes relationships hard?
Relationships are connections between two people. Two people who decide to commit, love, grow with and accept one another, thus, fundamentally the challenges and issues arise when any of these intentions are challenged. And there are a few reasons or ways these intentions are challenged: 1)immaturity, 2)lack of self-control, 3)insecurity, 4)lack of self-awareness, 5)lack of self-love, 6) lack of self accountability or 7)low self-esteem.
Many fail to understand the role that self-love, self-accountability, self-awareness, maturity and individual security play in healthy relationships.
Two broken people cannot have a healthy relationship. One broken and one healthy person, cannot have a healthy relationship. As they will be consumed by the challenges. And because broken individual lack, any number of combinations of, self-love, self-accountability, self-awareness, maturity and individual security, they don't have the tools to actively participate in or create a healthy or easy relationship.
What makes a relationship easy, is when people do the work individually, and at the point they have successfully concluded self-work, they pursue loving someone else. It's the person that you are at the time you initiate a serious commitment, that is the determining factor in that relationship's success. It's at the point you have successfully concluded self-work, that a you are capable of handling any challenges that may arise in a healthy way.
With that being said, understanding the role of challenges and compromise are the first of three very significant components of "easy" relationships.
I. Understanding Challenges vs Compromise
Challenges, or what I like to refer to as life/love lessons, are necessary components to life. As challenges prompt change, growth and development, therefore, if we shift our perspective of challenges, we can allow them to be a very instrumental piece in the success of our partnerships.
Similarly, compromise, often viewed as submission (not at all the same thing), is also a very healthy and necessary component in life. Compromise is an agreement to either disagree and or establish and accept mutual concessions. The significance of compromise is not for one partner to get his/her way. A happy wife doesn't make a happy marriage, it merely makes a happy wife. Happy spouses, however, contribute to a long, healthy and fruitful marriage.
II. Growing in Love
Loving someone starts with a very fundamental choice. You choose to love, commit and accept another person. That choice is the foundation of your relationship and your intention (how you operate in the relationship). Naturally, once you commit, you learn to communicate, interact with, share space, energy and time with, connect and relate to your significant other or spouse. And it's that commitment and understanding of self-love that supports a healthy and easy relationship.
However, I often find when speaking with friends or colleagues, that they tend to make a lot of assumptions and set expectations for their partners/spouses that their mate is unaware of. Or even that after 2 to 5 years of being in a relationship, they have not had a conversation regarding how they want and need to be loved with their significant other/spouse.
Growing in love is the act of and willingness to commit to having these conversations. The commitment to not making assumptions, to asking the tough questions and having the hard conversations so that you can intentionally be what and who your partner needs.
Acceptance maybe one of the most talked about topics on my blog, and rightfully so, as it's a very significant component of life. Thus, in relationships, acceptance is naturally just as important. Essentially, in the absence of acceptance, all of the aforementioned cannot successfully be achieved. Without acceptance, intentions are highly questionable, comfort cannot be achieved and trust is jeapardized.
Acceptance is an active concept, it's something that should be intentionally practiced. Acceptance is the ability to recognize and acknowledge where you are in your relationship, where your spouse is in their healing/growth and where you are in your healing/growth knowing that it's better to accept these, than to reject or resist them. Because rejecting and resistance only creates uncertainty, which can yield to anxiety, depression and anger.
It's these components that make being in a relationship easy. And as you grow to learn and use these, you will notice how naturally you choose to do the little things for your spouse, how that appreciation is reciprocated, how trust is not a question or concern, and how support, comfort and friendship come easily.
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