Monday. The beginning of another long work week.
So many tasks to complete. Just the thought of it is gives me a headache.
I love my career, as I can only hope most people do. It’s rewarding to achieve and make progress towards your goals. But in truthfulness, it’s a lot of work. It requires a significant amount of patience, energy and mental strength every single day.
I reserve all of that patience, energy and mental agility for my profession; solely. Every hour of my days are scheduled out, sometimes even weeks in advance. It’s only natural that I allow every other aspect of my life to be free from any type of structure.
Strikingly similar, our professions and relationships exploit a slew of different skill sets, push our patience to the limit and require a tremendous level of mental agility for us to grow. Both should bring out the very best in who we are, push us to our limits and transform us into students, learning something new with every single experience.
But there’s a distinctive difference.
Our professions finance our life. Our relationships? They define our life.
Let’s be honest, we work because we have to. We love because we desire to.
It’s important not to mistake the two.
And so I’m strongly opposed to the expression, “Relationships are work”. They’re not.
You’re just in the wrong relationship.
You see, when you’re in love with someone, there’s no task list to refer to to ensure things are going right. You’re just free.
Don’t believe me? Think back to when you first started dating your partner. You would do things sporadically, go wherever the sun took you, stay up until the wee hours of the morning. You’d surprise her after work, plan dates on the whim, talk for hours on end (stop me when I’m wrong). None of this felt like work did it? Because it wasn’t. It was natural. You wanted to do it; nobody was forcing your hand.
One day, though, things just didn't come as natural. You somehow didn't find time in your busy day to remember your anniversary, so an argument pursued. For whatever reason, you were angry you had to make reservations for dinner before your meeting, and that caused a downward spiral to your day. Someone forgot to take the garbage out in the morning, and well you guessed it, another fight. Comfort just rolled right on in. Why though?
Let’s look at this from two different perspectives.
Men have a strong desire to impress, especially in the beginning. You name, we’ll do it. It’s a game, really. You have to be everything someone else can’t be. If it means winning over Mrs. Right, well then you better bet your ass we will find a way. Sold out concert tickets? Call my ticket broker. Flowers? Get me a few dozen. Dinner? Some Five-Star place in the City. She’s beautiful, so let’s remind her constantly. Man, we can’t even focus on work because we just want to get off to see her. Our barber loves us because we're getting cleaned up every week. We even have an unlimited pass to the car wash down the road. She’s everything we want, let’s pull out all stops.
How about women? He’s handsome, intelligent, hard working, and has a successful career. Everything you could want in a man, right? You’re quick to respond to his requests to see you. You laugh at all of his jokes, even if you don't think they’re funny. Every outing with him is a reason to buy a new outfit and look your best. Oh, and let’s post everything about our night out so we can show the world how happy we are together. And passion? You can’t keep your hands off of him. He's like a drug you can't get enough of. And for a while you're addicted.
But then it just stops.
Men don’t see their barber so often, trips to the city happen every couple months if your lucky, and all of those cute things she used to do just start to annoy you. Forget impressing her anymore, you already won her over. And women? Don’t think you don’t play a part in all of this. You begin sharing every detail of your relationship with your girlfriends, and of course they draw conclusions. He quickly goes from prince charming to lowlife of the month. Whether it be from jealousy or solid facts, your friend’s opinions begin to matter whether you believe so or not. All of this is the beginning of the end.
It’s funny how when the passion fades, we point the blame on everything else. Our desires shift, and keeping our relationships afloat start to require this effort we speak of. But that’s not all it is. It’s something deeper than that.
It’s our loss of interest. Our desire for something new. But for some reason, we’ll place blame on each other.
We’ve got what we wanted; it’s old and boring now. We’re too insecure to walk away, so we stay. We stay because it’s easier to fix things than to start all over. But nothing ever gets fixed; instead we place a temporary band aid over it. Rest assured, that wound exposes itself eventually. And it worsens.
And so that work that we refer to, it’s self inflicted. We’re putting the roadblocks in our way, barriers between one another … all out of selfishness.
We need to start recognizing the reasons we fell in love and stop finding ways to fall out.
Love isn't a full-time job, it’s a gift. It’s rewards are far greater than any paycheck deposited into your checking account.