My brief take on relationships

Up until today, I thought the phrase ‘relationships take hard work’ referred to things like checking in before bed, or getting used to another person’s morning routine. I thought it meant watching a comedy instead of a drama film on a Friday, or eating Chinese food when you were really craving Thai. I didn’t realise that as a guiding principle it could refer to so many other, more complex, things.

I’m now learning that it could mean compromising aspects of your career, making amends with a disloyal partner, dealing with difficult family dynamics, or even supporting your partner through a mental illness. It could mean questioning some of the beliefs you’ve had your whole life, and feeling your foundation shaken up. It could also mean something a good friend pointed out today — dealing with the demons that exist inside you (and maybe all of us).

As someone in an inter-religious relationship (and also as someone who thinks A LOT), I’ve had my fair share of internal struggles. I compare myself to other people too much, I wonder what other people will think, whether there will be issues later raising children, etc. No matter how wonderful the relationship I have with my partner, when these doubts creep in, it affects how the partnership works. And for me, (I won’t speak for us), I’m realising that that’s where the hard work comes in. It’s in understanding that you can find community in places you didn’t think you could, or that other relationships (whether same religion, ethnicity, or whatever aspiration one might have) contain their own flaws. Religion in this case is just a metaphor or symbol for insecurities that would exist anyway, and that’s where the hard work comes in. It’s in working through these issues, together, as a team.

This whole post might be obvious to most, but I found great solace in learning that we all might be struggling in some way. Just because it might not be in the ‘traditional’ way we expected to struggle, it’s still valid and might even be shared by others around us. Most great things seem worth working for, anyway.

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