Movies make everything look easy, especially love. Right? You meet this guy or girl and you fall in love and commitment and communication and intimacy and all of those things just follow along like ducks in a line. But everyone knows it’s not like the movies. It’s never like the movies.
You know what love is like? Buying a razor.
Stick with me here, it’s less weird than it sounds. You go to the store and you buy the razor handle, and that’s five bucks. You’re like, sweet, now I can stop looking like a wooly mammoth. Awesome. But then you go to buy the blade refills, the part that’s actually important…and those are like twenty dollars. What? But that’s the part I actually want!
Relationships, whether romantic or platonic, do not automatically come with all of the important things. We don’t enter relationships just to say that we are friends with so-and-so or that we have a S.O. We enter relationships for emotional support, love, and affection, among other things. And those things aren’t part of the package. They “cost” a lot in time and effort. Acquiring someone who might want to be friends with you is the easy part (hopefully). But keeping a friendship alive especially through the ups and downs of life is something else entirely.
Thinking back to when I was young, I believed love was pretty simple. I thought that when I had a boyfriend, all of my life problems would be solved. Our days would be spent smiling at each other like big cheeseballs and and going on dates. As for the rest of it, the commitment and all of that business? Duh, it just came with it. When you love someone it all just follows and everything falls into place. Right?
Relationships, whether between friends or loves, require constant replenishment of the things that make them great. If you want emotional support, you have to put in some emotional support. If you want a shoulder to cry on, you’re going to have to be one. If you want commitment, you have to show that you’re committed.
And you have to keep doing those things.
In a moment of facetiousness, one of my best friends said, “Life’s just like doing the laundry; no matter how much work you put in, eventually there’s always more.” And she’s right. You can’t stockpile “girlfriend points” or “husband points” or “best friend points.” You can’t say “I love you” ten times in a day, and that covers you for ten days. You can’t be super-supportive of your best friend one week so that you’ve done your share for the month.
Relationships take continual work, continual commitment, and continual diligence, even when life gets busy and the going gets rough.
The process by which we maintain love and friendships may be nothing like the movies. We might not meet mysterious men and women in random locales like airports. We might not find love by kidnapping someone and forcing them to pretend to be our boyfriends for the weekend to impress our parents (a’la holiday classic Holiday in Handcuffs). We might not meet our best friends during wizardry school.
But when we put in the un-movie-like work needed to make these relationships flourish, I can assure you, the result is better than anything you’d find in theaters.