It is often easy to write “and they lived happily ever after” when reality is far from that. Jim and Mary made the decision to fight for their marriage. Fight for the life they wanted. Fight for the romance the deserve.
When someone says they’re fighting for their relationship, it’s not always pretty. It involves taking and giving body blows. It means arguing sometimes. It definitely requires a ton of patience, lots of cooling off periods, much regrouping, and plenty of negotiations.
During the months of hard work, Jim or Mary would take breaks to sleep in a local hotel as they allowed the pressure to safely vent instead of fighting through the night causing needless emotional scars from words spoken in haste.
Daily work keeps things moving well. It’s the not sexy stuff that keeps the sexy stuff running. When one has to rebuild the romance, the focus has to be on the not-sexy-stuff and all the associated pain in order to grow and build the new romance. The feelings will return once there is room for them to blossom.
The process takes time. One expert once said that for every month of neglect in a relationship, one has to anticipate two months of effort to repair it. Other experts say it’s a one to one ratio. No matter the math, nothing can be achieved if both parties don’t agree to put in the work together, not in parallel.
In time, Jim and Mary agreed to schedule some date nights and plan some vacation together. They even instituted a device free hour of each day when they could deal with each other without the interruptions of notifications. That did mean giving up on some television time and neglecting the oh-so-perfectly-curated social media account. Binge sessions of shows had to get streamlined so it was part of their date agreement instead of just solitary time away from each other.
Some commitments to the community had to be given up, which hurt plenty and caused a lot of protest from fans of their work. In time, people notice that the quality of work delivered improved. There was less stress reactivity and more planned proactive leadership. Projects didn’t just coast along but thrived and bloomed as Jim and Mary were able to give more of themselves to less projects while keeping their personal time intact.
They had refreshed their relationship and rebooted their love. They now were giving each other silent romantic signals with their eyes and people started enjoying being around their happiness instead of avoiding their stressfulness.
The biggest surprise to Jim and Mary came in the form of time spent with their respective friends. Jim didn’t feel the need to rush out as often to hang out with the boys. As the crew spent better less frequent times together, their bond grew and their relationships with their respective spouses improved. They didn’t just hang for the sake of hanging anymore. Their friendship strengthened and felt more refreshing.
Mary was the one who felt she gained the most out of the new routine with her girlfriends. They didn’t complain as much about their husbands like before. Instead, they started supporting each other the way girlfriends really should. The time spent together started to rejuvenate and empower them instead of just being an escape from husbands.
The simple act of stepping up ownership of their relationship had several positive butterfly effects in all the relationships they affected. Leadership is not about the big powerful shows and grand gestures. Sometimes leadership is all about keeping your house in order and keeping your love refreshed. Positive energy is contagious just like negative energy is.
That’s they differentiator.
Do you coast or do you have that difficult conversation.
Do you settle for comfortable or do you keep moving forward and anticipate the changes life inevitably throws your way.
A refreshment of life is a good thing. A bit of self-love. A bit of mutual love. A bit of loving your partner more than they deserve. In time, all these daily refreshments will keep your love alive and blossoming. It really boils down to choice.
Jim and Mary made the choice to refresh their love life and gave it a new perspective that changed not only their lives, but that of many others who come into contact with them. Anyone can do the same.
One think that became quite clear to Jim and Mary… they had to focus on changing themselves instead of each other. Most of the heated debates and heavy conflict arose around the desire to change the other. Understandably, the one being asked to change resisted and defended themselves. However, when they both focused on changing themselves and negotiated for support as they did their work of self improvements, progress came by much quicker and much smoother.
At one point, they did enlist the help of professionals to help them gain more clarity and understanding of what works and what doesn’t work. In time, they build up their relationship to a new high. A new place. A new fascinating world of love. It was not perfect, it was not that euphoric high of a first love, but it was definitely passionate love.
This post, while fictional, has many elements of factual life in it. Relationship work is not always sexy or fun but doesn’t have to not be sexy or not fun either. Please take care of your heart dear reader. Do also put in that little bit of work every day to keep happiness alive. The little does add up. (same with neglect by the way). Your heart deserves it. Your significant other will appreciate it. It’s your love’s perspective… refresh it as you see fit and enjoy the view fully.
P.S. I’m still on a writing break. However, this post was fun to write and share. Looking forward to getting back to my usual post schedule as soon as next month. Subscribe to get updates on new posts… and enjoy the updates to the site.