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Are good relationships hard work?

posted 14 Aug 2014, 20:59 by Suzi Wallis   [ updated 14 Aug 2014, 21:00 ]
There seems to be this saying that does the rounds that "relationships are hard work." I don't agree. Bad relationships are certainly hard work - a good relationship takes commitment and attention, but it doesn't feel like "hard work" to the participants. If you have these ingredients in your relationship:
  • love
  • trust
  • respect
  • kindness
  • acceptance
  • friendship
then doing things for the other person will come naturally. It won't feel like an obligation or a chore because you get just as much goodness back from your partner as you give to them (and there's never a scoreboard).

Think about couples you know that have what you would describe as a "good" or "solid" relationship. You will probably witness things like:
  • lots of affection
  • thank you being said, even for the repetitive everyday things
  • robust discussions where the other person's perspective is considered
  • fun and laughter
  • time taken to be together, rather than just "fitting in" each other when the other tasks are done
  • time spent apart from each other, then discussed when they return
  • high trust, especially when they are apart
  • kindness paramount in their interactions
  • listening to each other about what interests the other person (even if it's not a subject that interests the listener)
If your relationship feels like "hard work", there are probably dynamics below the surface that need some attention. Your partner may need to know what respect feels like for you. You may need to know what kindness feels like for them. If your discussions don't go the way you intend, or you are having trouble being understood, consider getting some counselling - the investment could pay off hugely in relationship satisfaction.

Suzi Wallis | Aug 2014