Relationships are hard work. That’s what they tells us, whoever they are. (Someday I’d like to meet this person, named “they”.) After all, you have to find the right person, and then make things work. It’s all quite forced, wouldn’t you say?
When you do experience love, many call it puppy love or young love, as if that carefree happiness and innocence are markers of a new and yet-to-be-tarnished love that will someday be replaced with maturity and hardship. Goodbye playfulness and passion.
If fine wine gets better with age, why not love?
One of the things I hear some young couples say is, “We’re really solid, because we’ve been through a lot together.” It’s as if the test of a good relationship is how much torture and turmoil your relationship can weather and still remain standing. It’s as if to say it’s not real love unless you’ve braved rough patches and storms, because real love is recognized as love that perseveres.
What else might you consider to be the criteria for a solid foundation?
Its not that troublesome things don’t happen, in fact, they happen quite frequently, which is why the collective “they” warn you at the first signs of joy that there will likely be rough roads ahead. It’s done with loving intention. After all, who wants to be ambushed by love?
But it doesn’t mean you need to have these experiences to prove you’ve got what it takes.
Sadly, this presumption does a disservice to every new experience of love. It passes the pain down the line, or across the way, brandishing the beauty of soulful connection with the baggage of every mistake that ever was. It becomes the story, the rock, on which many relationships are founded.
A re-frame on love: Love is not hard, it’s actually easy. The belief that it’s anything other than easy is simply that…a belief about the world, made true by the experiences that reinforce it.
What if you decided instead, to subscribe to the belief that love is the feeling you get when you live without limits and love without boundaries? Or that it’s free and unencumbered, expansive and inclusive?
It’s all the stories that we assign to love that make it hard.
So, what if love could be easy?
Here are 3 ways to let love be easy:
Pay attention to what’s working
What you put your attention on, grows. This is not to say ignore things that are problematic, or sweep them under the rug. That’s conflict avoidance and that’s a whole other topic. By noticing what’s easy, light and fun, you cultivate more of that good stuff. You and your partner learn to celebrate what’s working and relate through love as a preferred way of connecting, rather than using conflict as a way to say or confirm that your love is real.
We pattern our experiences after the models we see around us. Chances are, if love through hardship or hard work is what you have been conditioned to believe is healthy, you have surrounded yourself with a lot of examples of this type of love to look up to. And it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. While it may have made you feel like you were doing everything right to struggle just like your friends or family, it doesn’t break the pattern. Start looking for examples of couples who are experiencing love without struggle, negativity or conflict, and instead have more depth, connection, and mindful moments between them. You’ll notice that when you start looking for different examples, they begin to appear where you never noticed them before.
Get your partner on-board
Relationships are not a responsibility of one. Let your partner know what you are doing, ask them to do the same. Having a conversation about what an easy relationship means for each of you allows for ease in accomplishing it together. Discuss openly what you’d like to hold as valuable in the foundation of your relationship. Share what you think makes love easy. It takes the guess-work out of interpreting what you and your partner each need in order to feel in the flow of life.