Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The One Forgotten Trick that Preserves Relationships

I'm currently working on my third novel: Tale of James. I won't reveal too much about it just yet, except for two quick points. 

First, Tale of James is a story about finding the ability to love, long after one's heart has fallen from a great deal of hurt and loss. I'm four chapters into the rough draft and am really enjoying letting the story write itself organically, much like I did with Hooked.

Secondly. I want to touch on a particular ideology in this article, soon to be evident as one of the key messages in Tale of James, which is: effort in love.

It's been a pleasure to have made many interesting friends during my lifetime, particularly in the last ten years, I've been honored to have been a good ear to my friends' distresses, contemplations, and reflections.
When at times, friends reflect on relationships, the highlights of happiness carry the mars of conflict and dissatisfaction. And during those periods, I hear some people question, in futility, what it is that has been lost, damaged, or forgotten in their troubled relationship.

I've been able to draw together a fairly common thread in all of these disparities. Quite often, it is how we, as companions/spouses respond to years of LIFE...

That's right, LIFE happens! And what I mean by that, is all the late work shifts, all the social stresses, and all the stresses due to money, family, workplace, and even parenting.
For many couples, dealing with everyday issues, and developing effective strategies for dealing with them are crucial for a smooth running relationship. 
But there is ONE other thing that often rears its subtle head while couples deal with LIFE on a daily basis... and that is Monotony.

I'd say that monotony, or the dulling of routine, often leads many couple to get comfortable with dealing with LIFE dispassionately. It seems that while we tackle bills, child rearing, or our careers, very often, our significant other becomes merely a passenger at the back of the car, and rather, not sitting up front with us, enjoying the scenery, helping navigate those tough roads, and most of all, being a part of the other person's life as in the exciting early days of a relationship.

It is here, where mates become forgotten, left to the side, and fall down the list of priorities. I have passionately reminded some of my friends with children that it's not the kids that are to be regarded full time, but the SPOUSE, whom they fell in love with first, long before they were blessed with the true gift of children. 
Now, I am not saying this to detract from the importance of our children. I am saying it as a strict reminder that the value of two people is as important at the start of a relationship as it is every day thereafter, even with children.

So, in this article, I'm suggesting that effort in love is my version of what people refer to as the "labor of love." Yes, a relationship takes a lot of work, but so does everything else in love. Let's be honest, I have never met anyone who told me that their relationship fell upon them "like a leaf from the tree of perfection", or come as blissfully as "two people running in a wheat field toward each other in slow motion as opera music fills the air their breathe."

What people should remember, and adopt full time, is the fact that when the loosely coined "honeymoon" stage is over, and the "fairy tale period" appears to fleet, it is certainly up to BOTH people to continue the plot development of their lives together for years to come. 
That means continuing to kiss your loved one at least once every day. That means planning a surprise for them at least once a week. That means making it a point to quietly listen (with the tv off) to your loved one each day, and immerse yourself in that dialogue style that you both shared as lovers not so long ago.

It's quite easy, in fact, to put these notions of effort in place. Think about it. You go through the effort of getting up and prepping for work, dropping the kids off, and making dinners. WHY, then, would you think it futile to simply "give up" on the efforts to maintain a relationship with the only person who you chose to share your heart with so closely?
It is that terrible rut that we consciously allow ourselves to get into. And in that regard, we have NO ONE to blame, but ourselves for "giving up" on what once was.

Last  year I read a quote that made a lot of sense. The quote read: 
"Marriage isn't 50/50. Marriage is 100/100."
You will find happiness when you BOTH put FULL effort and dedication into it. 
Half and half will NOT work. 

And quite often, I have heard admissions from wonderful people, both male and female, that if only their spouses made that "little bit more effort, like when we dated" that there would be a willingness to connect, and a refreshed energy in the relationship.

So as the tale of James unfolds, I will be embedding this great lifelong message into the story's core. 
It is critical to the preservation of every relationship. And I hope that my story will remind people how important it is to put that youthful, eagerness back into the efforts of love, into which everyone is sure to find that much desired endless plot of mystery, fascination, and warmth...between two people still, and forever, in love!