May 30, 2012

Relationships - The True Story

Romance novels are sometimes accused of showing an unrealistic view of love and relationships, but I disagree. 

Here's what I know about relationships: 

They're not easy.
Every relationship goes through rough patches, when it takes hard work and commitment to get to the good parts again.

They're worth it.
A good relationship brings joy, companionship, intimacy and support.

No two relationships are alike.
Every relationship travels its own path. Some are a slow burn that work up to intensity, others are intense from the first time the couple meet. Some have big highs and lows, others are more stable. Every person is an individual (cue scene from Life of Brian, "Yes, we're all individuals,") so every relationship will unfold in its own way.

This I've learned from my own experience and from watching the experience of others close to me.
And it's what the couples in a romance novel also experience. They don't have plain sailing - they have to work hard for their happy ending. Face challenges, make mistakes, keep going, prove they deserve the love and commitment of the other person.

I think there are worse life lessons one could learn.

(I've seen a few wise words about relationships on Facebook recently, so I'm pasting a few here for you.)

So tell me, what do have you learned about relationships? Together we could expand out my list of 3 above. 


  1. All so true! There's nothing better than knowing you're in a safe honest relationship, with a few sparks of varying kinds thrown in, of course =)
    My dad used to say that it takes two people to make a relationship work. And a lot of that comes down to respect, I think. And trust.
    Wise man.

  2. Rachel, thanks for this inspiring post. What I've learned? That relationships don't just happen, despite that fantastic fizz of excitement in the early days. They take work and respect and an honest commitment which sounds difficult and prosaic, but wow, the benefits are just stupendous!

  3. Robyn, respect and trust - yes! Perfect. Your dad was very wise. :)

  4. Annie, there's that word respect again. So true.

    And "an honest commitment" - yes, *exactly* that.

  5. This is a gorgeous post, Rachel! I think your three points are biggies!

    I think a large helping of "acceptance" is important too - I like the line in Bridget Jones's Diary about liking the person just the way they are. I think if we feel the need to change our partner that the real problem can be that there's something we'd like (or that we need) to change in ourselves - that's if the relationship is based on respect and love and all those good things! If there's any sort of abuse in a relationship then it's a deal-breaker!

    I'm so pleased I could get on this morning! Wwe're travelling in the Outback and sometimes the signal doesn't seem to let me in to play!


  6. Gorgeous post, Rach! I agree with everything you said, and with Robbie, Annie and Sharon too.

    For me, I'd add laughing together. It might only be a small thing, but when you're in a long term relationship things change -- goals, perceptions, situations, and one's own self-knowledge. For me, laughing together is the glue that can help you stick together while you adjust to those changes.

    Oh, and let's throw in some chocolate too. Chocolate is good for everything. ;-)

  7. Sharon, acceptance! Yes! I love that line in Bridget Jones's Diary.

    Now we also have:
    An honest commitment

    Enjoy your Outback travels!

  8. Michelle, laughing is so important. I think part of it is just having shared jokes - shared experiences and shared meaning. As you say, laughing is the glue.

    And you can never go wrong with chocolate. :)

  9. DO you know... I think people are totally capable of 'selective reading' the same way they are 'selective hearing'. Some take from romance novels that it's just a magical spark that they have no real control over, and others take that they're a journey, an evolution and a challenge that's all the more rewarding for having been achieved.

    So that would my number one learned thing about love: you put in as much effort into a relationship as it is worth to you. If it's too easy, you're cruising...

  10. Nikki, I think we should coin 'selective reading' as a term. You're so right.

    And this: "you put in as much effort into a relationship as it is worth to you." Pure brilliance.

  11. This is great! Romance stories are sometimes based on true life. The authors tend to make it more fantasy so that the readers will really be curious and will always be inspired about the beauty of being inlove. We can really learn from reading romance novels.

    Thanks for sharing this nice topic of yours. You made me realize something.

  12. Hi African Woman, thanks for dropping by. I love that line: "be inspired about the beauty of being in love". Gorgeous!