It takes two…and a whole lot of hard work.
"Falling in love is easy; staying in love is the challenge."
It felt like not too long ago when falling in and out of love was a part of my everyday life. I watched as it happened around me and I also saw how it manifested in my own life. Falling in love felt like the highest point of a rollercoaster ride- the point right before the drop- it was exhilarating yet nerve-wrecking. What came soon after was not as thrilling; it was just gut-wrenchingly painful.
One day I decided, "Enough of heartbreaks; I want to settle down." I thought that was one of the best decisions of my life, until I realised how hard it was to achieve what seemed like a simple goal of "settling down".
For a long time, I yearned to be part of a blissful couple- one that has been together through thick and thin, and still able to look at each other with a loving and longing gaze. The kind of couple portrayed in movies and dramas, where they would drive off into the sunset and live happily ever after.
I wanted that but I had no idea how to get there…not till experience taught me what it took to become such a couple; effective communication and conscious effort.
Falling in love was the easy part, and the honeymoon period that came straight after made it all the more better. Conversations were filled with sweet nothings, and smiles were constantly plastered on faces. Mistakes were overlooked, and annoying habits were thought to be cute.
However, as all good things must come to an end, the honeymoon period will soon be over when small little habits that used to be adorable become the reason for arguments. This then becomes a vulnerable phase for couples, and many (my past relationships included) have failed to emerge victorious from the stormy waters.
"How will one survive such harsh conditions?"
How does a couple pull through such difficult times then?
It all boils down to how much the couple treasures and wants the relationship to work out. Needless to say, it takes effort from both sides, because as much as it takes two to argue, it also takes two to build a happy relationship.
The key to it all is effective communication, and such communication requires conscious effort. The effort put in to keep the love boat afloat transcends to all areas of the relationship. This means in all things said and done, both parties have to consciously choose to speak and behave in a loving and patient manner.
Sounds easy? Wait till you give it a try.
Being loving and patient all the time means we have to fight back a large number of our natural tendencies.
It means not snapping at our other half because we have had a bad day. Or to yell when we think our other half is not listening or not understanding what we are trying to say. It also means that we need to patiently explain why a particular habit bothers us, instead of simply disapproving the action.
In summary, putting in conscious effort to maintain the relationship means choosing to stay even when the going gets tough. It means showing your other half that you are here to stay, and the both of you will make it through, together.
I remember my mum telling me, "Love is a module that you will spend your entire life learning, and never graduating." True enough, settling down and having a long-lasting, happy relationship is one that requires hard work that will last a life time…but the rewards are always a plenty.
Qimin, Champagne SG