As many of you know, I have been dating a guy for a while now. My relationship isn’t really anyone’s business, but it does set the stage for what I’m going to talk about today.
Romantic relationships can be complicated or they can be easy. They can be a lot of work or very little work. It’s all about how much effort you and your partner put into the relationship.
I like to equate a relationship to building a house. You meet and start to get to know each other. Your values build the foundation of your “house”. So you need to figure what your building on. Trust? Respect? Honesty? Those are positive things. Or is it sneaking around? Distrust? Lying?
Your foundation is the most important aspect. After all, you build everything else from the foundation. The strength of the foundation determines the durability of everything else you build.
I wrote a few weeks back about my favorite relationship advice being you like spending time with someone even if a relationship is off the table. That’s your foundation. Do your values align? Your goals? Your dreams? Are you like water and cement, that make the product to be stronger than the separate parts? Or are you sugar and cement, that, when mixed, ruins what either of you could be on your own?
Your foundation is supposed to be the strongest part of your relationship. When storms come, they might blow the house down and poke holes in the walls. But if your foundation is solid, then it’s a lot easier to rebuild and fix any repairs that you may need.
After you’ve built the foundation, that’s when you can start building up the walls and the furniture. To me, that’s the dating period of a relationship. You’re getting to know each other better, and seeing how you work together. Your walls set up your boundaries, but also provide the space to be free, safe, and protected. Similar to your foundation, you build up your walls by things you share in common and beliefs that you hold about yourselves, your partner, and the relationship as a whole.
As you build and learn, this is where love comes in. In my opinion, love should not be a building block of the walls of your house. Love can be a fickle thing and give out really easily. If you’re upset or angry with your partner, it might be hard to love them. Instead, love should be the light source of your home. If it gets blown out, it’s much easier to replace than walls. Otherwise, you’ll be doing a lot of damage control to your home. Yes, love is important in a relationship, but it’s not everything. You need to have things like respect, trust, and communication even when love is not present or not as strong.
To me, the wedding is like putting the roof on the house. It doesn’t have to be the most ornate roof. But it has to be able to be supported by the walls you’ve built. If your relationship is just about the wedding, then there’s no boundaries. There’s no stability in a roof by itself. It needs the supports from the relationship. And again, the roof doesn’t have to be fancy. I know a number of people who have had a basic tin roof (either eloped or didn’t have a wedding). But usually that roof is able to be held up by the relationship. Roofs and weddings don’t have to be fancy. But they need to be functional. The wedding should be celebrating your and your partner’s relationship as a whole thing. But the roof by itself doesn’t withstand a whole lot of storms if it doesn’t have the support it needs.
No matter what, a relationship won’t stand too well without its foundation. You need to be communicative and honest. There needs to be mutual respect and trust. The foundation is the most critical part. So spend the time to work on that before you work on anything else. The roof should be the last thing you worry about. Yes you can make it look nice and pretty, but make sure it’s got a place to be secure.
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