Post # 1
I know we’ve all heard the adage that relationships/marriage “take work” and that we have to “work at it” or marriage is “hard work.”
My ex said this phrase a lot. Unfortunately, he didn’t know what it meant. And while you can say something all you want, unless you put your words into action, your words mean nothing.
My DH and I say the same thing, marriage takes work and effort. For us, it’s fighting fairly, physical affection, sweet gestures like gifts and favors, and taking time to just be us (with date nights, nights in, alone time, etc).
What does “working at it” mean for you and your SO?
Post # 3
@btothez: SO and I are sooo similar in many, many ways.
But we can be quite different emotionally. For examply, if we are having an arguement I like to hash things out right now and get it off my chest. He will sometimes just want to walk away or be alone. In my mind, if I walked away and wanted to be alone it would mean I didn’t care about the subject or the person’s feelings on the subject.
BUT he needs time to cool down when an argument gets heated. He needs to be alone to cool off, collect his thoughts, and figure out what he needs to say in a rational and polite manner to avoid saying anything he’ll regret “in the heat of the moment”. In the mean time I’ll be *stewing*.
So one aspect of our “working on it” is understanding and accepting that we both deal with our emotions differently and we have to come to a compromise on how we deal with our arguments.
Post # 4
@btothez: For me, it means making a conscious effort, especially during disputes, to care more about ending it than being stubborn and wanting to be right. I hate when DH and I argue and its a horrible trait of mine that I want to keep arguing just to have the last word, which usually leads to things blowing up and becoming way bigger than they need to be. However, I recognize this about myself and actively work to improve it. That’s what I think it is, outside of making the effort to stay intimate and keep romance alive, is each person’s acceptance of their faults or quirks and working to better themselves and make these things work together in the relationship.
Post # 5
My ex would say “relationships require work” when he’d fucked up and wanted me to just accept it and stop complaining. As in “I know I shouldnt have been texting that girl and lying about being at a guys night, but I’m not perfect and relationships take work.”
I have known my FI coming up on 3 years and have never, ever heard him say those words.
Post # 6
- Wedding: June 2014 - British Columbia
For my FI and I, I think it’s working on our own individual emotional problems; mostly childhood-related. We both have had abusive parents, growing up. Each of us react differently with different defense mechanism — especially in the face of conflict/disputes. (So, the wedding seems to be one giant abusive playground for a parent to exert her power)
It sounds fucked up, hah.. but we aren’t ready for kids until we work on this. I do not wish my child to undergo what I went through: always feeling inadequate because no matter what I did, it wasn’t NEVER good enough. 80% was not good enough on an exam in elementary school; I needed 90% or higher. My parents often talked to me about their childhood, but they seem to seek comfort by unleashing their rage and unresolved childhood issues on ME as a kid.
ETA: Work in a relationship means: you respect the other person. You love him/her unconditionally. Always try to make the other person laugh/cheer up when he/she is sad. Just be there and listen; offer unbiased perspectives. I don’t think the relationship actually feels like work; when I do the little things that matters, e.g. massages, cooking; etc, it gives me butterflies just to see him appreciate the time we have got together.
Post # 7
Working at it to me means, working to show each other how much you love and appreciate each other on a daily basis.
Post # 8
For our relationship, it means picking your battles (i.e., not sweating the small stuff), taking the other person into consideration, making time for each other, and being open to change.
It might easier to snap every time something irritates us, go our own way, and let our busy lives keep us from spending time together, but putting in effort to keep that from happening is worth it.
Post # 9
Putting in the effort not to fall into bad patterns of relating to each other. If you don’t pay attention, it’s too easy to stop showing respect and love for each other, even if you feel it, and that will poison your relationship with hurt feelings and resentment. Mostly it’s easy, but sometimes when you get wrapped up in your own stuff you have to make sure you’re not taking out your frustration on your partner- it’s one of the easiest but worst things to do, and we both do it occasionally, so we’re understanding about it and always try harder.
Post # 10
“Working” means making a conscious effort to remember and accomodate how the other person processes things. I’ll need him to stop what he’s doing and hug me and listen to me rant some days, and when we fight too badly, I need to go somewhere and be pissed off and analyze how I’m feeling and cool out. But I also have to remember that he destresses by DOING things, and I need to let him have his tunnel vision uninterrupted. And if I need to pause the argument and take a walk, he needs to know its a time out, not a dramatic storm out, and set a time to revisit the problem.
I also think it means open and constant communication… eliminating unspoken expectations, bottled up feelings, embarrassing concerns or fears… the good the bad the ugly, all laid out on the table to sort through. Gotta have the balls to just say what you’re thinking, AND have the patience and thick skin to hear what the other person is trying to tell you while the how they’re telling part isn’t going so well.
Eh. That’s the ideal situation. Easier said than done. 🙂
Post # 11
We always had to work at your relationship. Due to the fact that I kind of whent back to my ex while hanging out with Fi. We didn’t speak for a year and half. When we finally got back together we were six hours plane ride from each other. Which means we always had to work at meeting up, staying connected, deciding if we were in it for the long haul.
Post # 12
Making sure we do not lose our connection, which is easy when we both rush to do our things (studies, work). Sometimes, it feels as though life was trying to push us apart, so ”working at it” would mean : keep quality time for us, reconnect when either of us feels the need, trying not to forget about it on a daily basis. Make our couple a priority, as much and ever more than academics or career.
Making sure we keep the other interested. That’s what I tell my So every time he compliments me when he noticed I dressed nice that day, or put on the clothes he prefers, or put on perfume, etc. I tell him ”I’m keeping you interested”, meaning I want him to still have that sparkle and physical, sexual attraction to me. Losing it would mean the beginning of the end to our relationship. Although it’s not every day that I will put the extra time for hair, make-up and clothing/lingerie, I do every once in a while to keep the surprise and expectations, just like we did when we began dating.
Post # 13
In my last relationship I turned into a doormat so I don’t like that phrase because it’s what I used to convince myself to stay.
In my current relationship, I think of the phrase in the context of trying to think of him before myself… like if I’ve had a shitty day I don’t want to dump all my complaints on him to ruin his evening. It’s hard for me to do this (thus “work”), but it’s in the interest of the relationship. Or if we’re fighting about something totally stupid, I’ll bite my tongue so the fight doesn’t get worse. Or even if I don’t feel like cleaning I will make a bit of effort since I know that having a neat house is important to him. That sorta thing.
Post # 14
This may sound weird, but..
I don’t feel my husband and I “work” on our marriage. We get each other completely, we know each other inside out, and we know what makes the other person happy. None of it feels like work to us.
All I can think of off the top of my head is that we have regular date nights and commit to spending a certain amount of time per week together. Everything else kind of falls into place around that.
Post # 15
I don’t really feel like I’ve ever had to *work* on our relationship. I feel spending time and communicating is something that we both want to do, and it isn’t work.
FI, I think, had to work for our relationship for awhile. I was going through some health issues and it definitely took a toll on him, and our relationship. He never complained and was always extremely supportive, but I imagine that it wasn’t always easy for him
Post # 16
I don’t feel like we’ve ever “worked” at our relationship, but we are a team, and have complete communication and transparency (telling each other everything).