Do you have to work on a relationship to make it a good one and keep it that way?
Here’s a great question someone asked awhile ago on this topic that we thought was worth chewing on a bit…
“You hear many people say that a relationship shouldn’t be ‘work.’ Is that true? If not, then what kind of ‘work’ should it be?”
The definition of “work” is mental or physical effort and most of the time, people equate this effort with struggle–or trying really hard to “do” something they really don’t want to do.
Often, one person wants to work on a relationship which might mean reading books or taking courses, trying some new techniques along the way…
And the other person in the relationship becomes passive-aggressive, either drags his or her feet or refuses entirely to participate.
So if your mindset is that you have to “work” on a relationship, it’s not going to help make it better.
In fact, it could push the two of you further apart.
So what kind of “work” should you do in a relationship to keep it alive and growing?
One of our wise teachers, Steve Chandler, said the answer to any “how do I…” question is time and attention and that is totally true when it comes to a relationship.
Susie, her sister and two cousins who live several hundred miles away got together this past week for their bi-annual adventure.
These “adventures” have been going on for over 60 years and will continue because in order to keep their relationship to each other close and connected…
They not only make these get-togethers a priority, spending time and attention on what they call their “cousin club” but also since Covid, they’ve had weekly Zoom meetings.
Do we call spending time and attention on the relationships that are important to us “work”?
No, we call it focusing on the priorities in our lives.
When you explore new aspects of yourself and your partner, it takes the focus away from “working” on the relationship to enjoying an exploration and seeing something new in the other person.
Of course we encourage those who like reading books and taking courses to discover how to live happier lives without so much struggle in their relationships…
(Since we offer those, we’d be crazy not too!)
We discourage making them “work” for others if the interest and desire isn’t there.
We’ve seen it time and time again…
When you relax and come from love for yourself and for the other person…
The relationship gets better–and it’s not work.