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Leslie Whittaker

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Shocking News! Relationships Require Maintenance
by Leslie Whittaker   
Rated "PG13" by the Author.
Last edited: Thursday, December 10, 2009
Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2009

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Too often we fail to believe in a romantic relationship because we’ve been taught that it should come easily. We forget that like any other type of relationship it takes energy, commitment and tending to. Snags aren’t there to tell you to give up; they are there to test your strength, commitment and love.

While immersed in watching a movie today, it made me take pause to reflect upon the notion of love, relationships and happily-ever-after. Growing up, companies like Disney shove fantasy versions of love down our throats. Brainwashing us into believing that relationships are easy and perfect, requiring no maintenance at all, at least not when we find “the one.” That the obstacle of getting someone is the hardest thing you will encounter. We analyze every morsel of our relationships under a microscope. With every bump or glitch, our love begins to falter because we start to think “now this can’t possibly be the right person for me. There are hiccups in the relationships. It’s supposed to be smooth sailing. Instead it’s requiring effort, getting hard so it must not be meant to be.”

Contrary to the love stories Disney tells, relationships are like brand-new houses. It takes awhile to find one but when you do it is absolutely perfect at first. Maybe a small flaw here or there but nothing that can’t be overlooked. But over time, the house begins to require work to keep it functioning smoothly. Regular cleanings and repairs. Eventually an appliance or two may falter or fail altogether but you don’t abandon your house at the first sign of hardship. No, you invest your time and resources to patch the house, repair the problems and get everything functioning smoothly again. Of course, we have mistakenly invested into a seemingly perfect house whose foundation was flawed from the beginning. Simply overlooked. In this case, a flawed foundation cannot be mended and therefore the house must be abandoned. But when you find the right house, you’ll know. All the rooms will meet your criteria. It will have the super-sized kitchen and living room, walk-in-closet, three car garage and spacious backyard with a pool. And, you won’t forget to make sure even the foundation is intact. But given time, even this house will needed tended to in time to keep it running smoothly.

Relationships are the same. Whether romantic or not, they require effort and energy. Too often we fail to believe in a romantic relationship because we’ve been taught that it should come easily. We forget that like any other type of relationship it takes energy, commitment and tending to. Snags aren’t there to tell you to give up; they are there to test your strength, commitment and love. We are human. We are born to err. We don’t always make the right choices, smart decisions or take the right paths. We stumble, we fall and hope someone is there to help us get back on our feet. But we do have the divine ability to love with all our hearts, build lasting relationships and forgive when someone falters.

Why is it that when someone falters or fails us, we simply want to quit? Are we incapable of forgiving those we seek for a companion yet are able to overlook the betrayal of a friend or family member?

This is not to propose the notion that all relationships are meant to be and that we should always forgive. It is more so to ask the questions of why do we so easily run when we hit a relationship rough patch? Do we not know ourselves enough to know what we desire in a romantic partner? And if you don’t know, shouldn’t you figure that out beforehand engaging in relationships of a romantic nature?

Watching “The Women” today reminded me of real life. I mean, how often do you find mermaids turning into humans for love or beasts turning into handsome princes? In the film, Meg Ryan plays the role of a woman whose husband of thirteen years cheats on her. At first she simply pretends she knows nothing. After a brief encounter with the other woman, she kicks her husband out of the house and files for divorce yet when the papers come she can’t seem to find a pen. During the course of the movie, she discovers her own identity that which had been lost during her marriage. Through her self-discovery she finally uncovers what she wants and when her husband wants a second chance to prove his love, she not only can admit to her role in the demise of their marriage but can finally tell him what she needs. To me, this sounds more realistic than love that is easily obtained. Isn’t there a saying – “that which is obtained too easily is esteemed too lightly.” How much do we really value that which is easily gotten?

When relationship glitches occur, we’d like to think the grass is greener on the other side. Believe we are missing out on some opportunity or person so that we don’t have to face our part in the problem. Convince ourself that it just “wasn’t meant to be” because quitting is far easier than actually working for a successful relationship. Since when have we ever gotten anywhere without effort, without glitches, without stumbling and falling a couple of times? And when have we ever gotten along with one another perfectly? Why do we expect a romantic relationship to be any different? Why do we expect perfection?

Frankly, I’d be bored out of my mind with someone I never disagree with. Unfortunately without a little discord there can never be any real passion. And who really wants to forfeit the passion? A few peaks and valleys, minor speed bumps along the way, are great. Rollercoaster relationships are not. Do you really want a flat-line relationship?

Figuring out what you need and want from someone on your own is key before getting into a romantic relationship. Because when rough patches occur, and they will, it is the best way to gauge whether or not you should abandon ship. If you’ve found the person you’re most compatible with why would you let them go? Why would you forgo millions of future moments of happiness just because you’re currently experiencing a few bad?

Would you pack up and sell your house just because the air conditioner kicked the bucket, even if everything else in the house was perfect? Then why do we chuck relationships at the first sign of distress, at the first sign that something needs a bit of repair?

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