Lots of folks say a good marriage requires a lot of hard work. I disagree.
The hard work comes in when we struggle to provide a spouse with more love by stretching our abilitiies at loving and going beyond what we feel like giving. I applaud the effort, and it’s saved lots of marriages, but I think there’s an easier route.
Those newly in love also stretch to do more, learn new ways to love, find a few extra hours a week to outdo themselves at loving, but they never describe it as hard work. What’s the difference?
The difference is the flip side of love, our ability to be loved. We’re not open vessels, into which our beloved can pour the sweet elixir of love. No, some of us have very narrow openings. Some have a bottomless vessel that never registers as even half-full. Others offer a moving target.
Loving more is hard work when we feel unloved. When we feel loved, though, it’s a joy, almost a compulsion. And when we feel loved, we don’t keep score, like we do when it feels like hard work.
We can learn to open wide and drink love in, to lean in and catch every precious drop. We can get better at being loved. And one very easy way to do that is to assume love.
Save your hard work for something else, like pursuing a dream together.