Maintaining Relationships

We wash our car, clean our pool, mow the lawn, wash the dishes, vacuum the floor, wash the windows, dust, scrub, and polish all our stuff. We do all this without question because we know these things require maintenance if we want them to last. We accept this.

But what about our relationships?

Are they being maintained as well?

You see …… contrary to popular practice, relationships need to be maintained as well; and since the people in our lives are far more important than the things in our lives, I’d say that maintaining our relationships are by far a higher priority than maintaining all the stuff.

It should also go without saying, that the deeper, the more complex the relationship, the more maintenance it requires. The word “maintenance” has a negative connotation to it for most people, as maintenance is just another word for “work.” I want to make it clear that maintenance is simply time and effort.

Common practice is such that once a relationship is created and established with a solid foundation, people think that they can just let it idle while they go about the rest of their lives. They are confident that they can just pick it back up when they have time and desire. The problem with this is, as more time passes, both parties change as people, they grow. As more time passes, the desire weans. So when both parties finally have the time to spend with each other, the connection has diminished. The connection that was had, was with two very different people. The emotional subtleties …. forgotten.

Had the relationship been maintained, the two parties would have grown together and the connection would have evolved with them.

This fact holds true for ALL the relationships in our lives. The most obvious one is our life partner, but it applies to our children, parents, siblings, friends, and even our neighbors. All of these relationships have greatly varying levels of maintenance required, but all require it nonetheless.

If too much time passes, and a connection is all but diminished, we need to ask ourselves “Is this worth saving?”, “Is it worth re-establishing this connection?” If the answer is “Yes” then the maintenance we need to put in IS ACTUAL WORK. At least in the beginning, until a new strong connection is formed. This is very necessary and rewarding work.

This can be avoided altogether by correctly prioritizing our maintenance.

In short, spend time with the people in our lives, not the things. The things in many of our lives could be taking us away from our relationships.