Partnering with someone for life is hard. Here’s the thing, it takes all parties to make it work. I consider myself lucky to have a partner who puts in the work. We’re both aware that this relationship could fail at any point. It would just take one of us to not be willing to put in the work anymore. We haven’t been together for 10 years because we’re great, fantastic people. We’re together (and happy about it) because both of us have taken criticism, made adjustments, worked hard every day on our partnership, and other things.
And at any point, I’m telling you, one of us (or both) could decide that we don’t want to do the work anymore. As we’re growing one of us (or both) could decide “I’ve done enough work and I won’t do anymore.”
People say relationships should feel easy and maybe we’re doing it wrong, but that’s not what I’ve found. I’ve found that when we just go on with the day to day, not being intentional about our relationship, THAT’S when the problems build up. That’s when we get complacent, assume, forget, etc. People say to go into marriage with divorce not being an option, but that never worked for us. Either of us is free to leave at any point. We have deal breakers. We have agreements. We have boundaries. If we want to go different directions at some point, we go nowhere until we’ve reached a decision. We get mad, we hold our ground, we refuse and somehow we’re able to reach agreements anyway without ever reaching a compromise. Sometimes the agreement is, “I think you’re making a horrible mistake, but I trust you. I know you feel strongly about this right or wrong, so I’m still here.” Wonderful surprises have come from those situations. Man, have I ever found out how wrong I was and vice versa.
But at any point, again, one of us could decide not to put in the work. And I’ve watched this time and time again. There will be one person who is willing to do the hard work and the other simply won’t. That’s why I say I’m lucky. Because, unfortunately, we simply can’t make people see our worth. We can’t make people change, even for the better. We can’t always love people into growing when they don’t want to.
That’s it. Right there. Committing to a partnership is committing to grow for the rest of your life. And to grow together. Water has to be constantly flowing and have proper filtration, without it you grow stagnant. Relationships, any kind of relationships, are the same way.
I know quite little about relationships. Every relationship/partnership is different. The only thing I know is that it takes all parties to commit to grow FOR LIFE. And the tragedy happens when that one person won’t change their toxic/dangerous behavior or be willing to do the hard, grunt work. When people hit their max and they just can’t do the growth anymore, that’s when I see the tragedies happen. I say this with the complete realization that I could personally fail at any point. But if it helps somebody, it helps. Beyond personality, beyond chemistry … find someone who will get down in the dirt with you and till the soil. Partnership means committing to a lifelong building project, with the full knowledge that the other person could quit on you at any time. Make sure what you’re building is so worthwhile that, even if they (or you) do quit, what you built was still good.