How Much Work Should a Relationship Take?

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Sane Sex for Singles

It’s often said that marriage takes work.  If that’s the case, the same can be said about a relationship.  But what is meant by “work” and how much work should it take?  These are important questions to consider because I’ve seen times when singles think that it’s right and good that they have to work really hard (too hard) at a relationship.

RelationshipSynonyms for work include effort, exertion, labor, toil, grind, and drudgery.  The only terms I’d recommend to have a successful relationship are the first two. Beyond these, I would say the words in the list are increasingly inappropriate.  Hopefully no one would expect to have a relationship be a grind or drudgery, but having given birth, I would say even “labor” is more work than I’d expect on a typical day.

Certainly it requires effort to take the risks and demonstrate the commitment a relationship needs.  There may be sacrifice and putting the needs or desires of our beloved ahead of own at times, which we could call exertion.  When the effort gets so great that it becomes exhausting or a constant struggle, or when we continually acquiesce, we need to reexamine things.  Caring for and communicating with our partner should be joyful and energy-creating and generally not feel like work, but rather an act of love.  Misunderstandings happen, especially early on, but they will be atypical if the relationship is meant to be, not something we’re constantly trying to prevent.

A strong, healthy relationship is worth the effort.  Periodically step back and assess if that describes your relationship: strong, healthy, and worth the effort you put in.  If it is, then you’re doing the right kind and right amount of work.

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Joanne Deck

Joanne M. Deck, MBA, SPHR is a certified academic and career coach, educator, public speaker, and author with expertise in higher education, careers, and healthy dating relationships. She has over 20 years of corporate experience as an instructor and tutor, leadership coach, human resources director, wellness and management consultant, and customer service manager and is active with Toastmasters, having achieved the levels of ACS and ALB. Joanne is also the author of Sane Sex for Singles, a three-time winning dating guide for the new millennium. Joanne was born in Rochester, NY and graduated from the University at Albany, NY with a degree in math and an MBA in human resources. She is the mother of young adult twin daughters and lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, Roger. Joanne is currently working on her next book, Learning to Receive with Grace and Ease, aimed at helping people become more comfortable and skillful receivers. Her observation is that most people have the giving side of the equation down, but struggle with receiving.

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