Are Relationships Supposed To Be Hard?

The rules of relationship land are not black and white.

When Jake and I aren’t on the same page, it takes the same picnic basket of goodies to get us back on track. And it typically happens in this order:

  1. A dramatic outburst from myself on how my feelings are not being validated — “We’re parents! We’re roommates! Where is the romance?! I am no one without my freedom!”

  2. A hard conversation at the root of why we’re ignoring/being mean to each other

  3. An agreement on attending to each other’s needs — “I will try to be less of a bitch. Meanwhile, I need you to recognize that I place importance on things OUTSIDE of wifing and mothering.”

  4. Remembering why we love each other

  5. Putting in the effort to improve our relationship

Why do couples get off beat?

Because it feels better to place blame elsewhere, I’m putting this current riff on the coronavirus — the evil bastard that forced us to evaluate our relationship from the inside out.

The results: Jake helped me realize I can be a nagging wife (Get the spider! The avocado is rotten! This song gives me a headache!) and I helped him recognize that I am more than a wife and mother.

Or as my best friend refers to my on-again-off-again identity crisis, “You are part wife and part mom. We need more of ASH.”

The thing is, we have to chip away at this daily. Doesn’t every couple have to work at it every day in some capacity?

As your relationship goes through different phases, priorities get shifted around. And it takes time to get back on the same team.

And it got me thinking…

If people in relationships want to keep the sizzle, the basic needs of physical touch, emotional stimulation and overall giving a damn about the other person's hopes and dreams has got to be met. Consistently.

I think it starts with choosing to look more at the good and less of the bad. I believe the little things to go a long way. Those tiny pockets of bliss — like him winking at me from across the room when he’s on a work call, or him surprising me with a hug as I’m cooking — are important. And they are not to be taken for granted.

Learning to appreciate one another’s differences — instead of dismissing them or judging them — is a big factor in getting along.

I think when you first start dating, those differences about each other are what you both find attractive. But over time, those differences become annoyances. Working to get back to that place of respect, appreciation and excited-for-one-another-ness is the kicker.

Conclusion

I am Lady Gaga and he is James Dean. Our personalities are going to clash sometimes. But when they enhance one another? That is when it’s fun. Working to look at our differences in an appreciative and endearing light — as opposed to one of judgement — will be an ongoing practice.

Have a listen to Girls Gotta Eat Are we too different? podcast episode. It has some intriguing talking points. And may just remind you that the differences you have with your partner are actually romantic fascinations instead of deal breakers.

Thanks for reading! May your relationship flourish because of your differences.

Be you.

XOXO,

Ashley