How Much Work Should You Put into Your Relationship?
Is a relationship that requires effort worth that effort?
Posted Jul 10, 2011
Great—but then what?
Let's say you find someone according to wei wu wei: you meet by accident, find you have fantastic chemistry, talk for hours and enjoy yourselves, and before long you are in a wonderful relationship. Can wei wu wei keep the relationship going like this without further effort?
Here's where it gets complicated. In the last post, I mentioned that some goals are best achieved through nonaction while others aren't; you shouldn't "try" to be happy, for instance, but you do have to expend effort to mow the lawn. It may seem that an ideal relationship should be effortless to maintain; as some have said, a relationship that requires work is not a relationship worth working on. This can ring true especially if the path to the relationship was so magical that you expect it to sustain itself just as effortlessly.
In general, it is not a betrayal of the principle of wei wu wei to work on your relationship; it's simply a recognition that not all things can be achieved using it. Wei wu wei may have brought you together, providing a great start toward a fulfilling and enriching relationship, but unfortunately you can't rely on it to keep it that way. As time goes on, care and love grow deeper, but incompatibilities and complications grow as well, and effort will be necessary if both partners want the relationship to endure.