For a very long time, I assumed that the strongest relationships were the messiest ones.
After all, conflict was the main focus of every romantic comedy I watched growing up. Every romance novel I read. Every TV show, every dramatic story, every think piece – it all centered around drama and fighting.
Fighting for each other. Fighting over each other. Fighting to make it work with each other, when the going got tough.
We are raised to believe that the kind of love worth having is difficult. Messy. Inconsistent.
But spoiler alert: That is just not true.
Here’s a realization it took me a while to come to, which I hope that you arrive at much more quickly:
Love shouldn’t be the main complication in your life.
It shouldn’t be your main source of agony. It shouldn’t even be a major one.
We romanticize fighting for each other and sacrificing for each other and showing someone that we’ll be there, no matter how hard they are to love. But the truth is that the person who’s right for you won’t be hard to love.
Because the right kind of love feels easy.
It feels like 2 o'clock on a Sunday afternoon with your legs draped over someone else’s on a living room couch, reading separate books in comfortable silence with each other.
It feels like road trips where the conversation jumps in excitable bouts and then slows down into comfortable silence as the miles pass by.
It feels like agreeing much more often than disagreeing. Like building each other up much more readily than you tear each other down. It feels like getting excited about the future together, because you’re building one that both of you genuinely want.
The right kind of love isn’t centered around conflict – it’s centered around harmony.
Around facilitating each other's growth. Around supporting each other through challenges. Around bringing out the best in one another, and working through the worst as a team.
In any relationship, conflict is going to happen.
But you need to wait for the person who makes conflict a necessary evil, not an ongoing one. The person who wants to work through conflict fairly – searching for a win-win outcome, instead of fighting to come out on top.
Because there’s nothing romantic about being the couple who just can’t make it work.
There is nothing tragically beautiful, in real life, about constantly breaking up and making up and falling apart and then falling back together. In real life, that’s just an ongoing waste of time and energy. In real life, that’s not healthy for anyone.
Here’s the uncomfortable truth about the “TV romances” that we all grew up idolizing:
If you have a Ross-and-Rachel or a Ted-and-Robin kind of relationship, I hate to break it to you but you’re probably with the wrong person.
Because love shouldn’t be about conflict. It shouldn’t be about agony. It shouldn’t be dramatic and messy and painful, more often than it’s easy and free.
Loving the person you’re with should feel as natural as breathing, most days.
It should be simple and effortless to love them. It should be easy more often than it’s hard. It should be straightforward more often than it’s complicated.
And if it’s not any of those things, chances are you’re not in the right kind of relationship.
Because the right kind of love feels easy, even in its most trying hour.
And that kind of love is absolutely worth holding out for.