Relationships require work. I learned this from my first marriage. I had never had a relationship beyond one year prior to my marriage so I didn’t know how to work on it or what that work was supposed to look like. I didn’t get that message in pre-marital counseling.
I tried to work at it. I think he tried to work at it. But, we both got frustrated. Working with no progress made us complacent. We became roommates. Partners. Homies. We were falling apart and didn’t know how to fix it. We tried counseling.
It was expensive. We couldn’t afford that, our bills and raising an infant. So, we just accepted that was supposed to happen. I talked to my married friends about my concerns and frustrations and they said it’s normal. They all go through it.
We didn’t know that it wasn’t normal.
That we were dysfunctional and we needed help to get ourselves together and back on track. I mean I tried. I prayed. I read books to try and get myself together to be a better wife. But, let’s be honest…it takes two people to get married and two people to work at it before both people end up in divorce.
One of the books that I read was Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages. I took the test. I learned that my love language was quality time. Quality time is defined as giving me your undivided attention. This doesn’t mean via phone or text, but time spent together without distractions.
I didn’t have that in my marriage. I was exhausted. I had stopped communicating my needs and wants and just let it go. I stopped fighting. I was tired of fighting. I couldn’t keep fighting.
In the four years since we separated and divorced I learned that healthy relationships don’t require you to fight for them. They require you to work at it. Two healthy people choose to put their relationship first and work at it. Continually. You selflessly choose your partner each and every day. You do the things necessary to maintain a healthy relationship.
This doesn’t mean that every day will be roses. It does mean that you two recognize that in order to keep growing and keep maintaining you have to work at it. Work is a verb that requires action on both parts. I think that’s what I’ve discovered since dating Mr. C.
I discovered that I want a healthy relationship and in order to get it, I have to selflessly choose to work on my relationship with him each and every day. I can’t stop working at it or we will become complacent. I shared this philosophy in the beginning of us dating. I told him that I believed that couples who choose to selflessly love and work on their marriage each day are the ones that last.
It was simple to me. If I wanted a healthy relationship, I had to work at it. I had to choose to selflessly love my partner each day. He had to do the same.