“My parents have been together for 65 years. They’re both really stubborn. They’re not quitters.” Mary-Louise Parker
Okay, I know what you’re all thinking after reading that title, but take a few minutes to really hear me out. I’m not saying to stay something toxic because Hollywood sometimes likes to romanticize abusive relationships or that you should try to make something work that’s draining and causes you unhappiness. I’ll be the first one yelling loudly for you to get the hell out. All I’m saying is that, in order to make even perfectly healthy relationships work, it takes a certain amount of stubbornness.
Not the kind of stubbornness where you and your partner are arguing until both sides are blue in the face because no one wants to be the bigger person (after all, you know you’re right, right?) While that may happen occasionally, because even the most seemingly flawless couples have their petty arguments, the kind of stubbornness I’m referring to is where you refuse to give up after a few bumps in the road.
Really think about it: No matter how much you love someone, they’re occasionally going to piss you off. Believe it or not, this includes those picture-perfect couples on Instagram with #relationshipgoals. Maybe your partner genuinely did something that hurt you, maybe one of you is having a bad day, or maybe it was a huge misunderstanding. Either way, there will be days where you love each other more than anything, but you don’t want to be in the same room together. And guess what? That’s okay. Healthy, even.
All healthy couples argue. All of them.
Healthy relationships are supposed to have arguments and it’s a sign that not only can you freely express yourselves to each other, but you’re also not bottling anything up. Analyze the relationships in your life for a moment. You haven’t coasted through life completely getting along with your parents, siblings’, and best friends every second of every day. Why would your romantic relationship be any different?
I feel that far too many people expect flawless relationships where everything is complete bliss all the time. That some people keep Tinder on their phone, wondering secretly at night if there’s something better out there despite the beautiful, albeit flawed, human that’s spending their time getting to know you and trying to make you happy. While I sincerely hope your relationship isn’t as complicated as a soap opera, don’t expect it to rival a fairy tale. I love my husband with every piece of my heart. He makes my days brighter and my life is better with him in it. But of course we still fight and of course, we know that those fights have no weight over the strength of our marriage.
Why? We’re both stubborn as hell and we’re not going to leave each other over temporary discomforts when we know we’ve found our lifetime partner. We work through our problems, not shy away from them, believing that it’d be easier to break things off than to deal with something that we probably won’t even remember arguing over a few years down the road.
There are people who may have lost sight of this importance, and if this sounds like something you need to hear, then this tip is for you. When the going gets a little tough, don’t immediately bail on the relationship and say, “This isn’t what I signed up for.” That’s only wanting the fun of a boyfriend/girlfriend but not wanting to take on the responsibility that comes with committing yourself to another human being. Unless your only interest is a meaningless fling and the other person is aware of that, a relationship is signing onto handling another person at their best and at their worst. Humans are such complex creatures with differing stories, their own set of baggage, and a variety of emotions that fluctuate every day.
Relationships take time, effort, and stubbornness.
To stick it out for the long haul, you have to put in the hard work to get to know and appreciate the beauty of another soul. You’d be surprised the amount that another person will confide and place their trust in you because they view you as a special addition in their life. However, this often doesn’t happen overnight. Like all good things, it takes time.
There shouldn’t be any continuously breaking up and getting back together. Sometimes there are couples who really do need a break in order to figure out their lives and what they want. There’s a difference between that and breaking up every time there’s a fight. In those cases, it’s either time to stay broken up or mature and be stubborn enough to try to make the relationship work.
What are your views on this topic and what’s your number one piece of relationship advice? I know I’m no dating guru, but this is something I’ve learned over the past seven years in my own relationship. Let me know what you think in the comments!