Last week one of my favorite bloggers, Kristen Howerton from Rage Against the Minivan, wrote a post in response to the question should marriages be work? That might be over simplifying the post so please read it for yourself. She was inspired to do so after reading another blogger’s post on marriage and after a debate ensued in the blog comments section. These posts and comments prompted me to think, do successful relationships require work?
The debate seemed to be centered around the word “work.” I actually think a better way of defining it is strong relationships require care and feeding, similar to raising a child. Sometimes that care will be easy and sometimes it will be hard. The true test of your relationship is how hard you want to push through the hard times, putting in the effort because you know that it will be more than worth it in the long run. That is not to say that all relationships can be fixed with effort — some can’t and then it is best to call it quits.
Any parent will tell you that raising children is hard. There are easy times and really hard times (with a lot of mundane in between). I am a believer that the way you handle the hard times with your children shapes your good times. And it really isn’t much different with marriages.
It would be easy to say that marriage should always be bliss, flowers, champagne and chocolate, but that is fantasyland (sometimes I would love to live there). Even in the best relationships, that phase wears off and you settle into real life and real life has plenty of potholes to drive through. The true test is how you re-sync your relationship when it gets a little out of alignment.
My marriage hasn’t always been easy, but I can say it hasn’t been extraordinarily difficult either. We have had our share of stressful situations, including job losses, personal and childrens’ health issues, but we always find a way back to each other. We both care for our relationship and put in the effort to support one another in times of need. Sometimes it is hard to communicate how I am feeling or what I need at that particular moment, but I always try to find a way. And through successful communication, I know the same is true for Jim.
So what do you think, should good relationships require care or work?