Love :: #RelationshipGoals
I dislike the hashtag "Relationship Goals."
I understand the need for something to strive for and being inspired by others, but it isolates a moment out of context. We say "I want my significant other and I to be like that/do that." But that isn't how relationships work. Those two people discovered their commonality through time, effort, and hard work, let's please not minimize that with a hashtag.
Relationship goals are things like "Going to try and listen more!" and "Working on remembering to prioritize my partner over A, B, and C!" or "Trying my best to open up and really say what I mean rather than letting it bottle up!" etc. Those are relationship goals.
And before you tell me "it's just a hashtag, Malia." I am aware. But I genuinely believe that the more we use social media (or any kind of media, really) as an escape from reality, the more shallow it will become. We have an amazing opportunity to utilize new tools in order to build community, seek knowledge, and tell stories - but we primarily use it for self aggrandizing nonsense that helps us hide from ourselves, our loved ones, and our responsibilities. So yes, it's just a hashtag - but I think it could be used in a better way.
"Irreconcilable differences" is the reason I most often hear to describe why a couple is divorced. Irreconcilable. Listen to the gravity of that word. People bind themselves together and then reach a point at which they are unable to effectively come to any kind of compromise or self-sacrifice that can hold them together. So they cut the ties that bound them.
I am not about to suggest that we should not have divorce. They tried that in England once - it made a guy kill his wives to get rid of them. I, in fact, have recommended such a course of action to friends, because the differences were indeed irreconcilable and hurting both parties involved. It was painful and messy, like so much of life.
Instead, I want to suggest that we not romanticize relationships. Which sounds odd. But relationships are hard work. They require so much time, energy, understanding, sacrifice, intentionality, caring, decisiveness, compassion, and more. Simplifying them down to a hashtag of isolated goals without context is almost insulting to the good and hard work it took for that couple to get where they are and do what they do.
So, let's give a shoutout to the couples who take the time to figure out what they love to do together. A shout out to the couples who go to counseling in order to better communicate. A shout out to the couples who take the time to discover things about one another. A shout out to the couple who choose forgiveness when they are angry. A shout out to the couples who ask for advice when they are struggling. A shoutout to the couples who are transparent about when shit gets hard. A shout out to the couples who celebrate each other.
Those are the couples. Those are the relationships. Those are the people. Even if that relationship doesn't work out, you are not the outcome - you are the effort. You are made up of all your efforts. So don't just have a relationship goal. Have a relationship.
Love is hard, dear ones, so love hard.