Among the many myths that come along with marriage is the notion that once the search is over, the work over. That once you finally find that person, you can take a breath of relief, because the hard part is behind you.
Some people experience some ‘beginner’s luck’ in the beginning of a relationship: You feel amazing about your partner, amazing about yourself, about your relationship together and the future ahead. It feels easy and smooth, perhaps uncomplicated. This beginner’s luck isn’t just in your head, it’s in your body too. In the early stages of falling in love, neurotransmitter and hormonal changes create a whole new party inside of you and it can feel powerful. In that time period, the idea of having to work hard on staying connected may feel hard to grasp, and when you hear or read about how marriage can have challenges, you may even think to yourself, “we’re different”, or ,“well, they don’t have what we have”. But after that initial phase passes, many couples find that things start to “get real’ and the relationship doesn’t just carry itself as it may have in the beginning.
When a kid is first learning how to ride a bike, there are times when an adult will give them a strong push, the kid pedals, and you can see the face of excitement as the kid thinks they are actually riding a bike on their own. But when the momentum of that first push wears off, the kid needs to keep pedaling and stay balanced and focused in order to keep going. Relationships are similar. Once that initial momentum of falling in love wears off, the couple has to pedal harder. At times, it can feel arduous like biking uphill, there can be times where it feels like you have the wind at your back, there can be times where it’s slow and leisurely, and there can be times you fall off and need help. These shifts are common, and the fact that it takes effort to keep a relationship in balance is a fact, not a failure.
Dating and finding a compatible relationship can be a long journey with painful twists and turns. But even after finding a partner, the work—both individually as a couple- continues.