Falling in love may be easy, but making love work is hard work. This work element in love must never be underestimated. Love is not for the lazy. I am convinced that one major reason for failures in the love enterprise is because many are unwilling to do the required work it takes to make their love work. What is love’s ultimate challenge? It is managing complexity.
We all love happily ever after fairy tales, but such love tales, for instance, doesn’t highlight the various complex factors one will need to deal with, in order for the fairy tale to be glamorously successful. Love isn’t just about managing each other only, it is about managing complexity. As the relationship grows, several other layers of complex responsibilities are added to it. It is as this complexity evolves, that many begin to pull back in their love for one another.
Using marriage as a template. Two people decide to get married and they obviously may be doing fine until a child or children starts coming. The complexity of pregnancy and the strains in child-raising can so unsettle the equilibrium of their love lives, that if it isn’t properly managed, the development of the children might cost them their love, as their focus and attention shifts radically from pleasing each other to raising the kids. Mismanaging the complex factor of children has toppled many love lives in reality.
What about workplace complexities? As I relocated to the metro city of Lagos, I saw first hand how making a living can actually cost people their lives. I realized how couples who claim to be in a relationship, could go for months without seeing each other, because they work and live in differing sections of their city, too far apart for them to see regularly. I saw how leaving home early to beat the traffic and getting home late because of the traffic, can completely erode the intimacy that a couple has for one another. And this doesn’t even address the complexity that coping with stress adds to the equation.
What about the complexity of in-laws? Two people decide to build a life together in love. But one thing they didn’t factor in is that now they will have four different parents, with two different sets of siblings and extended family members. All with their unique agendas, attitudes and demands. The pressure from extended family has wrecked many love lives beyond comprehension because few lovers know how to manage it successfully.
What about the complexity of friends? Our past friends as well as our present friends do also exert a complex influence on our love lives, whether we want to admit it or not. What should be the right disposition to our old friends? As well as what should be the criteria for our new friends? These are some of the questions one will have to grapple with in the process of making love work.
There is also the financial complexities that one will have to deal with in other for love to work. Questions like how much money is too much? And How much is too little? How will the money be made? How will it be spent? How will it be saved? How it be invested? How does one respond to the lack of it? And so forth are some of the complexities that will come with your love life.
The fact is that mismanaging any one of these complex factors can topple your love life completely. Unfortunately, you might have to confront all of these complex factors and more, simultaneously. You see why the ability to manage complexity must become a skill for you if your love life will survive and thrive. This issue of complexity also explains why many lovers take the path of least resistance and end up mediocre in their love lives.
THE GREATEST IS LOVE