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If You Aren’t Building Together, You Are Growing Apart

I was having a conversation on relationships today and got pretty triggered by a comment from my partner, Mr. Brooks.

He said, “I don’t believe relationships should be work.”

His mother warned me at a dinner earlier last month of this belief he held; she and I had a laugh over wine at the thought of relationships not requiring work. Maybe there is something instinctual as a woman that allows us the privileged wisdom to know how much intention a relationship requires because we have the ability to create people. Or we are missing something that her son knows clearly?

Either way, as he sits in Spain and I sit in Texas, I know that when he announced this belief, I was triggered. I felt at that moment, a red flag raise straight into the air. Frustrated even more so by the fact he had previously been talking about how to keep himself open upon returning home and away from the magic of Spain.

I was young and in love. Bryant was older than me by eight years. Love was easy, kind, funny, and trust flowed between us. We didn’t do the work because we didn’t know there was work to do, or maybe I was blind to it and he was patient. We moved worlds apart yet remained together. Over time, our faces changed and years went by. We still held love in our hearts for one another, but the lives we led were wildly different in comparison. I was beginning my career and relocating; He was in the most pivotal years of his own career and wanted a family. We fell short of forever to say the least, but not without realizing one thing.

The intention required for strong love is apparent to me in the clearest of ways. Our words, our time, our shared finances, our dreams, a vision of family, our relationships with other friend groups all require effort and intention. Not everything will be perfect and not all experiences will be easy. To me, love is about growth and a wealth of experiences.

At the end of the day, the reason that me and Bryant’s clock on love ran out is because we were no longer putting in the time to be present and intentional in our commitment. The young love I once thought to be unshakeable was shaken in an instant. Why? I assumed love would live effortlessly between us. I used to believe what my partner Mr. Brooks thinks now and that scares me.

Relationships to me are like a duo tight rope that we walk in parallel with another person. We walk them because they are exciting and rewarding. We struggle because they are also challenging and teach us the art of finding a balance. Relationships like the tight rope, have a net to catch us, but the fall is terrifying just the same.

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