Love may be “easy”, but relationships were never meant to be that way.
Ideally, relationships are based on love. You commit to a person because you love them. Love is supposed to be easy. Love is supposed to flow with ease and permeate every fiber of your being. Love is supposed to show you the way and be your foundation and guide your decisions.
It sounds pretty simple, and it could be. But we are human beings and human beings are known for being perfectly flawed and riddled with complexes, insecurities, illusions, entitlements, and bad habits. We’re all capable of radiating love towards ourselves and our partners, but as humans, we are also equipped with obstacles that get in the way.
And this is why relationships can hurt so much sometimes. When we let our inner obstacles get in the way of love, we withdraw love. We can withdraw love from ourselves, from our partners, or altogether. When we withdraw our love, we create a space for pain to fill. We fill that space with our frustrations, failures, anger, anxieties, sadness, negativity, jealousy, possessiveness, and anything else that blurs the entire point of being in a relationship.
We get into relationships because we crave intimacy with our partner. We love being around them. And as humans, the more we find ourselves around the same person, the more that person serves as a mirror for us. When we engage in deep, long term relationships, our partners reflect back to us many of the unprocessed, unexamined aspects of our selves. Partners unlock doors we never knew we had to show us rooms full of forgotten and misplaced pieces of our selves.
What matters is what we do with those forgotten and misplace pieces of our selves. When our partner makes us upset, we have the choice of getting mad at them for opening up that room and forcing all of this unwanted mess to come spilling out. We also have the choice of going into that room, looking at the contents, and throwing out what no longer serves us. We can examine and organize the rest of the contents and make that room hospitable for our partner. We allow our partner to know us deeper that way.
Looking at the contents of that room is not easy. Getting that door opened up can sting. But it is natural and it is necessary.
Fights in relationships are always going to happen.
As evolving individuals, partners are going to evolve differently with life and all that life brings. New desires, new ways of fulfilling needs, new interests, new mindsets and beliefs, and new philosophies will constantly propel a change in the individual and a change in the relationship. This is good- people are always evolving and trying to stop that evolution only results in more pain and un-fulfillment.
The transformations individuals undergo will not always blend so easily with their partners’ at first. Opposing viewpoints, decisions, and reactions are always going to occur between partners. This will stir some things up and open doors. Maybe entire rooms will need to be broken down to better fit the individual and the relationship. What matters is that two partners remember that they are trying to grow closer together while respecting each other’s individuality.
If one partner always rearranged their stuff because the other partner got upset over certain issues, then inequality is formed. One partner is evolving for the relationship, while the other partner refuses to evolve at all. Love is withdrawn, pain occurs, and unhealthy distance is created.
That distance is not the same as space. When partners create healthy space, they do it out of awareness and love for each other’s needs and desires. Distance is not created out of love. It is created out of the absence of love.
Since fights are always going to happen, the best that two partners can do is to fight in a healthy and constructive way. Low blows should be avoided at all costs. Temperaments needs to be considered- if one partner is a complete hot head, they probably need time to cool off before expressing their frustrations and addressing important problems in the relationship.
Fights can turn into opportunities for expression. Don’t be scared of expressing anger and frustration- its going to happen. Don’t take it too personally. We get annoyed and react. Emotions and tension arise. We shouldn’t suppress our emotions. We need to let all that pent up energy be expressed.
What is important is how that energy is expressed. When we are angry in fights, we can say “I am so frustrated because I feel and think this way.” By doing so, we can get things off our chest without unnecessarily wounding our partner. If we take the blame game route by saying something like, “You are so stupid, why are you doing this?!” we only feed our pain and we wound our partners. Taking this approach also gives away our personal power- we make our partner completely responsible for our reactions and feelings. Whenever we give away our personal power, we fail.
Sometimes, those latter comments may spill out and we should apologize. But if partners agree to be more conscientious and productive during their fights, the quicker the energy may be released. When we release those negative energies, we remove the obstacles that lead us to withdraw love. Love can flow and bring partners even closer together.
Fights are going to happen. Challenges are going to arise. Tension will be created. It is a given because change is a given, and no two people will change in completely identical ways.
What is crucial to a loving, successful relationship is that the value of love and intimacy is upheld no matter what. You may be yelling at each other and crying, but if you remember that you love each other and want to get those negative feelings out ASAP so you can cuddle and look into each other’s eyes with total adoration, then fighting will bring you closer.
Conflict is a natural part of life, so is confrontation. Don’t be scared of them. Embrace it. Own it. Growing pains may hurt, but it means that you’re growing.
You’re not perfect. Your partner is not perfect and no partner ever will be. Don’t climb onto a high horse thinking that you are above conflict and constructive fighting. If you believe that you will be happy with someone for a long time without ever fighting, then you are falling for a terrible illusion.
Relationships are engaged in for growth. The more we learn in relationships, and the more challenges we conquer, the stronger we become. We gain so much awareness, insight, depth, and improve our capacity to love. We become better at remembering what really matters. Our communication skills are refined. We become more open minded, considerate, compassionate, empathetic, and patient.
This doesn’t mean that constant fighting is good. If you’re with someone who drives you crazy all the time, then you’re in the wrong relationship. If you practice healthy fighting, then you should feel energized from being brought closer together. If you just feel drained all the time, or if your partner doesn’t want to have more constructive confrontations, stop seeing this person.
No one will be able to tell you who is right for you for certain, but life is about gaining more wisdom to be able the discern those things for yourself. If your relationship results in you constantly withdrawing love from yourself and/or your partner, then you should really take an honest look at the relationship and why you’re in it. Are you both growing or willing to grow? Do you love each other or do you just love the idea of each other? Are you together because you love that person or are you together to fill a void? Do you recognize lessons your partner can teach you through your different personalities or are you just together because it is convenient and easy?
There are lots of questions and life is about constantly asking them and letting the evolving answers come to the surface. Practice balance in all aspects of your life and relationship. Be more aware and intentional. Know where you need to move towards.
Amazing, passionate relationships are not for the faint of heart. Sure, you could be with someone you’re not really crazy about because your relationship is easy. But if you want to feel more, then let yourself be challenged. Don’t let yourself resent the qualities in your partner you loved so much in the beginning. Don’t let yourself be complacent.
Recognize the teacher in your partner. Recognize the student in them, as well. Honor that. Honor the teacher and student in yourself. Honor intimacy and love. Don’t be scared. Don’t shrivel away just because things get hard and life calls on you to own up to your shit and put your foot down. Fear WILL kill your relationship. Weakness of character WILL kill your relationship.
Relationships are meant to refine you. Learn and adapt and love.