We’re meant to enjoy our romantic relationship. Some people say this is obvious, but we can end up focusing too much on the ‘feeling’ that we forget to lay good foundations, or focus so much on the hard work we take out the enjoyment. I think enjoyment is the aim, it’s what we really want, but the secret is remembering that it’s about mutual enjoyment.
I just celebrated my fifth year wedding anniversary (it’s the wood anniversary for those who want to know). Which is strange to think about because the time has flown by.
I was chatting with a friend about it recently and he asked me if I’ve enjoyed it, and I instantly said yes. Then he asked me what we’ve struggled with. In all honesty, nothing really terrible came to mind.
Now, that isn’t to say it’s been easy, because there have been some hard parts, some very hard parts in fact. But we have always communicated, kept the other person’s wellbeing and feelings in mind, always respected each other, and made time to have fun.
All that stuff takes hard work, and it isn’t easy to do, but by creating healthy and strong relationship principles, foundations and rhythms, we have been able to enjoy it.
Meant To Be Fun
The bottom line is, relationships are meant to be fun and enjoyable.
I think God created romance and it’s meant to be a blessing, and we’re meant to have fun. The reason I equip people with the tools they need to build mutually enjoyable, fulfilling and God-centered relationships, is so they can have fun.
We lay the foundations to navigate the lows so we can get to the highs quicker and more often.
We do all of the hard stuff…so that we get to the highs
When I talk to people about relationships, dating, romance, etc, or give talks on it, I always start by stressing that God wants us to enjoy them. That’s the end goal.
The goal isn’t to come up with healthy relationship dynamics so we can pat ourselves on the back or tick a box. We do all of the hard stuff, and make the sacrifices, and have the awkward talks, so that we get to the highs.
Not Said Enough
I think society/ the media, by-in-large, focus on the highs too much and lead us to believe that it will all happen naturally.
But it won’t.
We need to be intentional in relationships, actively put the other person first, make sacrifices, exercise self-control and stay committed when it does feel hard. That isn’t something that just happens.
I think lots of churches, by-in-large, in reaction to this have rightly emphasised the need to work on our relationship dynamics. To make sure people know it won’t always be easy, that we need respect and to be intentional.
The negative outcome often means there is lots of pressure, and little room to say that the aim is to enjoy it. To be with someone who we love and be in a relationship that’s fun and fulfilling. (Read Church Dating Culture: Is Yours Helpful Or Hindering?)
So what’s the secret?
The secret is knowing that it’s meant to be mutually enjoyable.
When we focus too much on the desire to enjoy it, we can just think it’s all about my feeling, or my needs. But the mutual part reminds us that we need to put the other person first and be committed, which takes work and sacrifice. It’s ‘us’ not ‘me’.
When we remember the aim is to enjoy it, we won’t focus so much on the pressure
When we remember the aim is to enjoy it, we will not focus so much on the pressure to be ‘perfect’ (which no one is) or focus so much on the pressure to have all the answers that we can’t relax and have fun with the person in front of us. (Read Are You Thinking About Compatibility In The Right Way?)
When both people in a relationship are being selfless, are putting the other person first, then mutual enjoyment can flourish.
If only one person is doing it then it will not work. It needs to be both people, committed to building good foundations and rhythms, so that they can navigate the lows and get to the highs.
Relationships are meant to be enjoyed. We are meant to thrive in them and they are meant to be fun. That’s the aim.
Imagine if we remembered it’s about mutual enjoyment, and about ‘us’ not ‘me’. If both people put the other person first, we can lay good foundations that will make the relationship truly amazing and fulfilling. (Read How To Stop Waiting, And Start ‘Making The One’.)
How else could emphasising mutual fulfillment help? Comments welcomed below