Reality Check: Love Ain’t Easy
Scenario 1: The phone on your desk vibrates, and the instant warmth and euphoria rushes through your body when the person you love sends you an unexpected sweet text message. It is a feeling like no other. An emotional and loving response is appropriate, and this exchange continues throughout the day. Finally, as the evening hours approach and the madness of the day begins to settle, you take refuge from the mayhem in each other’s arms.
Scenario 2: Work is a nightmare and you are currently dragging yourself from one task to another, while guzzling down caffeinated drinks to stay alert. You were late for work, the children were late for school, bills are due and you forgot to take the meat out to prepare dinner. To top it all off, you and your spouse are currently on your third day of not speaking. You’re both overwhelmed and you find each other to be easy targets for your frustration. The night comes to an end and even if you wanted to make up, you just don’t have the energy to engage in a conversation. You turn your backs on one another. The cold shoulder has become the norm.
Despite knowing how unrealistic it is to expect for your relationship to be perfect, Scenario 1 paints a fantasy that may of us hold as the standard for love. We idealize relationships and make our partners seek to meet unrealistic expectations. The idea that love is an unyielding romance can be debilitating when we are faced with reality.
Scenario 2, a more realistic depiction of how emotionally taxing it can be to build a life with someone, can be challenging if we have not yet accepted the fact that when you choose to merge your live with another person, it will require some heavy lifting to maintain. We are programmed to believe that when two people are truly meant to be together, their relationship will be natural and magical. This is the exact thought process that enables us in our dysfunctional thinking. You cannot abandon all logic when it comes to love. Love is not solely how a person makes you feel. It is responsibility.
There comes a day when late night flirting and phone conversations may be replaced with cold shoulders and silent treatment. You may not remember the last time you and your lover had a date, a romantic evening alone, hell you may not be able to recall how long it’s been since you had sex. This is the reality and the only way to prepare for the labor required in your relationship is to first accept the fact that labor IS required. Love is hard.
There will be days that you are so enamored by your lover, you question how you ever managed to live without them. There will also be days where you find yourself completely repulsed by the very things you once thought were absolutely charming.
The gloriousness of the honeymoon phase will fade. After you come down off the high of new love, you will have to consistently be intentional about romance. Holding on to “how things used to be” will keep your relationship in a crisis state. Constantly replaying the past and longing for what once was will hinder your ability to create new expectations and experiences.
Drastic change or no change at all will cause tension in your union. Time will pass and you may find that the more you evolve, the less you and your lover have in common. When time passes and your partner doesn’t change, this too can cause complications. You have to be willing to be flexible with a rapidly evolving person and patient with one who is hesitant to alter old habits.
Every relationship book, article, coach, and/or expert will emphasize the importance of communication. This does not help when you are in the midst of a heated argument and the last thing you want to do is think about how your words may affect your significant other. However, you must ALWAYS think about how the things you say may hurt your mate. There will be times when you have to apologize or initiate the make-up, even when you weren’t necessarily at fault.
Your happiness, your peace and your joy is all your responsibility. It is unfair to charge your mate with the task of filling your empty voids. You will fight internal battles that have nothing to do with your relationship. Your partner will deal with issues that are personal to them. You have to learn how to support one another through the hard times, even if you do not understand what each other is going through.
Childhood experiences, negative past relationships, and unhealed pain will arise in your relationship. Here is where bonds are strengthened or relationships crumble. Sometimes you don’t have a reason; you’re just not in the mood.
Love requires vulnerability. Until you are capable of opening your heart and trusting that the person you chose to be with will protect your feelings, you will never experience all it has to offer. There is a fine line between compromising and settling. Only you can draw that line.
Everything isn’t personal. A bad day for your partner isn’t an attack against you. Remember that you have two separate identities; you are not one person. Give each other space.
Trying to please someone 100% of the time is a heavy burden. Half the time we struggle with figuring out how to stay happy ourselves. Setting unrealistic expectations for your lover will cause division and dissatisfaction.
The sooner you learn how to engage with one another, the better. Do not wait until things blow up before you realize that you and your partner have no idea how to communicate during moments of conflict.
You can’t force another person to fit your definition of love. Ish will get real and pride ruins everything, but with the right person, it will all be worth it.
Finding someone that you’re willing to share your life with is a gift that not everyone is fortunate enough to receive. Those who are lucky enough to find a life partner must not succumb to the expectation of love always being a fairy-tale. Love tugs at your emotions, tests your strength and character, and forces you to face life head on. Love is about knowing what the job calls for so that you can accomplish the task at hand successfully. Sometimes all it takes for us to triumph over our challenges is proper preparation.
Jazz Keyes is a community activist, poetess and a nationally certified Life Purpose and Career Coach. She has devoted a great deal of her time and energy on mastering the art of communication in order to create healthy, dynamic, long-lasting relationships. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @jazzkeyes.