Do you think creating healthy relationships —romantic ones—is hard?
Many people do. And you know what . . . all those people who think so have a hard time creating healthy relationships. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
And if you expect it to be hard, when it is, you think that means you need to work harder. But this is a flawed strategy. You end up building a relationship based on hard work. How long will that last? Maybe a long time, but it’ll be tiring.
There’s an easier way . . .
Romantic relationships can be easy. And if you believe this, you’re well on your way. If you believe romantic relationships can be easy, the next time you go on a date with a jerk, you’ll say “goodbye,” instead of “I want to share my feelings about what just happened.” Why try and work things out? You’re only dating– it should be fun and easy.
What happens after the dating stage?
Let’s say you’ve advanced to the relating stage—that’s what comes after the dating stage—it’s when you start taking your relating more seriously. This is the stage when you do need to work through some issues and differences. But, again, does it need to be hard? Maybe a little, but not a lot. When I say a little, I’m talking less than 2% of the time.
There are 1440 minutes in a day. If 2% of them are difficult, that’s 28 minutes—let’s call it half an hour. Maybe, just maybe, during the tough times you might experience a half an hour a day when you challenge yourself with your romantic relationship. No, no, no . . . I’m not good with that. I think it’s too much. Let’s say 1%. That brings it down to about 15 minutes a day. Okay, maybe that’s acceptable during the tough times.
You think I’m kidding, but I’m not. And here’s the thing; I’ve got a great marriage. I know it’s possible. And it’s not possible because my wife, Hannah, and I had perfect upbringings. Mine was pretty good. Hers was mixed, very good in some ways, then terrible. We both ended up in therapy. We’ve both been married before. We’ve both failed at romantic relating. But this time we got it right.
“Love Can Be Easy”
And part of the lesson we learned is that it doesn’t have to be hard. As Hannah said to me early on, “love can be easy.” And when she said this it wasn’t some kind of Pollyanna idealism. She wasn’t advocating any denial on our part. Rather, she was saying that if we pay attention to ourselves right from the get-go, we will make good choices and find a good partner. Then, along the way, if we are intolerant of any immature behavior and if we take responsibility for ourselves—love can be easy. She was right.
And for those of you who’ve been married for a while . . .
Finally, for those of you in the third stage of romantic relating—the stages are dating, relating and mating (marriage)—you’ve got a greater challenge if you’ve spent years believing that romantic relationships are hard work. You need a major reset. You also need a role models so that you can see what’s possible. You probably need to attend one of our retreats, because if you immerse yourself for eight days in a different paradigm, you’ll help yourselves break your old patterns.
I’m not trying to sell you on a retreat—well, I am sort of, but it isn’t my main point—my point is that I don’t know many other things you can do that will offer a major reset for those of you who are stuck in old ways of relating. Anyway, if you think you need this kind of help, you can always call us and we can explore your options.
But, here’s the point I started with . . . if you think romantic relating will be hard, you are immediately at a disadvantage. Why? Because you will be overly tolerant of the tough times, the immature behaviors, and the cycle of hurting yourselves with one another. Stop it! Stop doing those things to yourselves. That’s not why you got into a romantic relationship, is it?
Why are you together?
Aren’t you together to love each other, to celebrate your love, to enjoy your limited time on this earth? Isn’t that the the point of romantic relating? Yes, some healing, too. That’s good. And some personal growth, that’s good. But if you allow your relating to be easy— healthy relationships are easy—you’ll experience more healing and more growth than if you pound your heads against each others hearts.