When I started dating the woman who became my wife, we regularly hung out together. A lot. Like, a ton. If I wasn’t in class, working on homework, or playing games, I was hanging out with her. It was fantastic. Being with her quickly became the thing that I cared about doing most and sometimes was the thing I did most. It was like having a job, even the dream job. Being in a relationship actually shares a lot in common with having a job. Here a six ways how:
You have to work at it regularly
Most jobs have regular hours. You show up after breakfast and take off before dinner during the week, even if only some of the days, and take care of whatever business pops up during that time. You then regularly earn a reward for your efforts. Relationships are the same way. You regularly spend time together and do things. The rewards are different, but they too are available after you have invested sufficiently. If you don’t…
Neglect will come back to bite you
You can only skip work so often before it becomes a problem. Your employer has needs; tasks that need to be completed in order for the business to function properly and generate a profit. You can also benefit, but if you are lazy or spend your energy doing something else your employer will find someone else to take your place and do the work you aren’t. Regardless of who wears the pants in the relationship, your SO is like your boss. If you don’t spend time with them, give them the attention and fulfillment they desire, then they will quickly become tired of lugging you around and find someone else who will.
It’s always on your mind
If you are truly invested in your job, you will think about it even when you’re off the clock. You may be out at the movies, cooking, or taking a shower and find yourself thinking about the project you’ve been working on. You may text your boss on your way home from work (preferably not while driving) because you had an idea you wanted to take a crack at. You will think about your relationship the same way. A three-day weekend is coming up and you wonder what you should do together. Maybe you disagree on something, even argue about it, and can’t help but think about how to fix it while you’re out buying groceries. A worthwhile relationship, like a worthwhile job, is something you will think about naturally rather than only when you have to.
It forces you to prioritize
Having a new job can be like riding a wave of happiness. Having one makes you happy, and when you’re happy you like to have fun. That usually ends after a few days when you have no more clean clothes and the fridge is empty. Now that you have a job, you have to make sure that you take care of your necessities first because you have so much less time to accomplish them in. The difference is that being in a relationship often comes at the expense of that small window of time you had outside of work. You have to discipline yourself and make sure that your relationship, your job, and your well-being are all getting the time and attention they deserve. Sure, it means you can’t have as much fun as you used to, but that won’t bother you as much if you are actually enjoying your work and relationship as much as you should be.
It’s a team effort
No one succeeds at their job by themselves. No athlete, however talented, can beat a cooperating team all by themselves. There’s always someone else running errands, stocking supplies, cleaning work areas, maintaining systems, and handling other tasks. There just aren’t enough hours in the day for one person to do all the work and keep the business successful. The obvious counterpart is a one-sided relationship. If one of you is doing all of the sacrifice and work all of the time, the relationship will eventually crumble. Both of you have to contribute, and the more you do the more you will reap the rewards.
It’s a defining part of you that you live for
Having a job that you live for can be a rush that you can’t get anywhere else. Even a job that you don’t love can be very fulfilling (If you don’t believe me, try being unemployed for a year and see what happens). We like it because human beings are social creatures that like being useful and to be part of something bigger than ourselves. It defines us: “I’m a teacher.” “I’m a soldier.” “I’m a doctor.” And then there’s “I’m seeing someone.” “I’m in a committed relationship.” “I’m married.” We happily define ourselves as being in a relationship because the best relationships encourage us to be our best selves. That’s why we define our lives by our jobs and relationships: because we never feel more alive than when we feel personally and professionally fulfilled.