Unconventional Coaching

Energizing the relationships in your life

January 22, 2013

Relationships are Hard Work. Really??

The New York Times had an interesting headline last week: “That Loving Feeling Takes a Lot of Work.” It actually is a terrific article by Jane Brody about bringing more surprise and pleasure into a relationship, but the title irks me.

This equation:

    relationships = [hard] work

is used so often that it has become a cliche–with all that labor-intensive imagery.

But often that’s not how things work at all. Having a relationship that feels great is often less about work and more about PLAY. Having fun, laughing, and being silly can do more for a lackluster, boring relationship—and faster, too. Watch children be loose and free as they zoom around the playground or crouch to examine a ladybug in the dirt: there’s this spirit of fun, curiosity, wonder.

As a friend said recently, “When we are at play, we are our most authentic selves.”  What a gift to your partner and vice versa.

Of course, relationships in trouble (whether romantic, work, or family) can cause deep pain and do require deep attention. I see this in coaching my clients. And it does take time and willingness to get real and communicate what you really want.

When we approach relationships like they are tasks, we just increase the challenge and difficulty level. Who wants to roll the boulder uphill all the time?

If you want more ideas about how to increase loving feelings, read the NYT article. There are many good tips about variety, spontaneity, positive feelings–nothing about hard work.
Ignore the headline. Go for the fun.

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