For a long time I thought you could tell how good a relationship was by the amount of work it took. Bad relationships took lots of work. Good ones were easier.
Then I found out that great relationships take lots of work too. A couple who charts a course for growth, meaning, healing, and wholeness is in for the challenge of their lives. It’ll take much more effort than if they passed life pleasantly in front of the TV. So we can’t simply judge a relationship by the amount of work required.
The thing is, I think, to consider not the amount of work a relationship takes but what the work yields. With a certain amount of work one relationship may continually deepen and mature. Another may require the same amount of work just to subsist. Another may, with that same amount of work, still deteriorate.
Why would the same amount of work yield such different results in different relationships? Two factors, I would say: compatibility and knowledge. By compatibility I mean a good personality pairing, and similar levels of intellect and consciousness. By knowledge I mean, in particular, an understanding of what needs improving (in the relationship and in one’s self) and how to go about doing it.
In other words, there are couples who see such different worlds when they open their eyes, mean such different things when they speak, inhabit such different planets internally, and drift toward such opposing goals, that most of the relationship work is spent on translation, overhead, and compromise. While in other cases we find compatible-enough couples failing to do the right work for want of the simple yet critical information they need.