You know those people out there who talk about how relationships aren’t supposed to be hard? About everything is supposed to be easy, flow smoothly, and just be good? That we shouldn’t tell people that relationships take work?
Well those people are liars. Or stupid. Or deluding themselves.
Because you know what? Relationships are hard, yo. It’s impossible for them to NOT be hard. Think about it. You’ve got two people, each saddled with their own baggage, issues and ghosts from the past, put together and expected to deal with not only their own issues, but each others issues, along with the everyday difficulty of plain old life. Add to the mix kids, relatives, work stress, housework, finances and you’ve got a recipe for a total shit show if you and your partner don’t put some plain old fashioned elbow grease into it. Some days that elbow grease is the only damn thing holding the how shit show together.
Being in a relationship — and being engaged and emotionally invested in it is hard. It’s hard looking at your own festering pile of emotional garbage and trying to figure out a way to clean it up a little bit so you don’t start stinking up the place. It’s hard being there smelling someone else’s festering pile of emotional garbage, and watching them try to clean it up, offering them as much help as you reasonably can without exhausting yourself so much that you can’t deal with your own crap. Sometimes their pile falls down a bit and gets mixed in with yours. Then you’re left with the joyous task of trying to separate your things from each other. Or not — which is a whole other set of problems just waiting to happen.
And of course, sometimes you fail. You fail yourself and you fail your partner. You make mistakes. You stumble. You will inevitably hurt the person that you love most in this world with your own shortcomings; even if it’s unintentional you’re still left with the task of trying to undo the hurt, make amends, and ideally learn from the whole experience. And that takes work. Hard work, dammit. Blood, sweat and tears kind of hard work.
And yes, it sucks while you’re in the middle of it. Hard work isn’t easy, I know that — trust me.But the good news is that if you both love each other and if you both actually do the work that you need to do, then you’ll be okay. Better than okay, in fact. Your love will grow deeper, you’ll understand one another better and your relationship will get stronger and better than you ever imagined a relationship could be.