Over the weekend, a few of my girlfriends got into a discussion about relationships and marriage and the question emerged: Should relationships be hard work?
What do you think? Naturally, a bunch of related questions will pop into your mind once you begin to think about it: If my relationship feels like hard work, does that mean that I'm not with the right person? What are we doing wrong? Is it supposed to be easy?
I'm not going to attempt to answer these questions for you today; my intention is to trigger some self-exploration for you that will help you understand your own situation. But of course, I'm going to offer my opinion.
If your relationship feels like hard work because you are both juggling careers, children, or whatever priorities exist for you, then this is just a natural part of life. Compromise and communication won't always be easy, but if the love you have for each other motivates you both to make sacrifices and find that common ground, you're on the right track.
If it feels like hard work because you can't be yourself with that person, or they don't respect you, or show you love; then deep down, I'm sure you know that something fundamental is not right. If it feels like hard work because you want that person to fill a void that exists within you then that is also a problem. You can't change the other person, and you certainly can't expect them to complete you - contrary to what romantic comedies teach us. If you're not happy with the one you're with just the way they are, or vice versa, this is a red flag. Making this kind of union last will not only be hard work, it will be fruitless hard work.
Consider the following:
"There are many of us who are looking at what we need and want in relationships with eyes that have been blinded by the wrong information. What we think people can do for us or give to us, and how we think they can make us feel will shift when we accept our true identity and begin to love ourselves because of who we are - whole, complete, and perfect beings. In the absence of fear; love, joy, peace and truth can reign supreme."
-- excerpt from In the Meantime, by Iyanla Vanzant