How To Make a Relationship Work

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Life is hard.

School is hard. Work is hard. Relationships are hard. Marriages are hard. Parenthood is hard. Old age is hard.

This seems to be the answer to everything. This is the kind of feedback we receive while growing up, while asking questions, while trying to put together the scattered puzzle pieces of our journey through life.

We are so used to this kind of information that we make it into a deep-seated belief which becomes the reality around us.

Is it true though? Before we give the obvious answer and cite examples on why life is hard, let’s not look at the evidence. Interpreting the evidence is based on belief systems. Let’s objectively consider, is life in itself hard? Or is it our actions and interpretations of our self-created outcomes that make it so?

It took me long enough, but once I realised that we are the creators, observers and interpreters of our own lives, many beliefs that circulate within our common knowledge have loosened their grip. When we stop feeding distorted notions on how life works, we cease to be limited by them. Life is hard only because we think it’s supposed to be hard.

Likewise, relationships are hard only because we assume they are supposed to be hard and we make them difficult through our misguided choices based on twisted belief systems.

As we become adults and act on our need for romantic human connection, we make choices that lay the foundation of a long series of events which will prove that relationships are tough. Once we’ve gotten to the point where red flags start popping up, despite the evidence, we refuse to doubt our choices since we are told that things are supposed to be as such and yes, it’s damn tough, but what else did we expect? Thus, we continue to make the best of the worst and to weave lots of stories to make sense of our reality. We share these stories every occasion we get and feed on each other’s illusions.

What is the alternative though? Is there even an alternative? If there’s one, why isn’t anyone talking about it?

There is an alternative. We can have relationships that work. Relationships can be uniquely perfect. Relationships can be easy, deep and blissful.

We’re evolving. We’ve been through a lot. It’s time to evolve further. It’s time to shift our perspective in a new direction that will actually work for us, not against us.

There are so many reasons why we get into relationships that don’t work. Everyone talks about those reasons and so many people are trying to mend things constantly. There’s an influx of smart articles that offer steps to fix relationships. There’s nothing wrong with fixing things, but at what cost? What price are we willing to pay to protect our house of cards?

It cost me years to understand a simple, but deep truth. A successful relationship is built on a deep preexisting connection. We are drawn to people in many ways and there are many types of connections. But finding a uniquely compatible partner to start a romantic relationship with requires identifying a very particular kind of connection.

Once that unique connection is in place, there is nothing else we need to do to make the relationship “work”. The relationship happens naturally, it simply is what it is without us having to put in any effort to give it a structure and make it into something.

If we stop to reflect for a while, we might notice that we tend to do things to build something that we have defined as “relationship”. We spend more time together, we share intimacy and some forms of commitment. All the while, we see some gaps, things don’t feel quite right and that’s when we go into fixing mode. We start adjusting ourselves and we start expecting our partner to adjust too. No matter how many fittings we make, things don’t really get easier. In a way, the connection is simply not there and we have to constantly do something and readjust to keep its structure in place. There is structure, but there is no core.

What is the core then? The core is the inherent connection that exists regardless of the structure. Very often, our focus is directed on sustaining the structure without paying any heed to the core connection which may not even be there to begin with. The absence of the distinctive nuclear bond is a clear indicator of the onset of a long series of upcoming relationship struggles.

We can perhaps begin to perceive why so many relationships are hard. What most couples do is they try to design and preserve the structure of the relationship without considering the authenticity of what bonds them together. A vast majority of “How To” articles out there are in actuality teaching how to keep on adding to that structure so we don’t let if fall apart. We are hooked on that because the idea of “falling apart” is understandably horrifying. We thus continue building on a relationship that is, in a sense, void. Not of love, as love has many forms. Yet, void of that unique and authentic connection that guarantees a successful romantic partnership.

Most wonder, are we naive to imagine there is something better out there? Are we too idealistic or perhaps superficial? Is this ludicrous thought of being purely happy by someone’s side a nonsensical aberration?

I believe that while journeying through life we learn a lot and at some pit stops we find ourselves with many faults. But, I undoubtedly know that it is not naivety, idealism, superficiality or madness that makes us hope that we can find that someone who can uniquely and inexplicably be an exclusive fit for us. To ready ourselves for that extraordinary encounter, we might be required to switch paths and walk in unknown territory. We might have to exit our house of cards and walk away while watching years of hard work fall apart. But together with the shattered abode, our greatest fear will vanquish too, leaving behind a gorgeous bright sky where we will be able to breathe deeply as ourselves. No self-deceit, no illusions.

Once we are able to learn how to break free from the shell we’ve built around us and make more authentic choices, those puzzle pieces that seemed scattered will miraculously rearrange themselves into a new unique canvas. Once we stop trying to make believe and put so much effort into sustaining what is not there for fear of accepting our truth, everything will change for the better.  Life no longer seems hard when there’s clarity in understanding our own choices and pro-activeness in improving our circumstances. Most aspects of our lives will be elevated and, the most important ones – our relationship with ourselves, our romantic partnership and our connection to others – will flourish in unexpected ways.

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