How much passion and energy do you put into your relationship?

It's a well-known but easily overlooked fact - if we want something to blossom and grow, we need to give it our energy - time, resources, positive attention, thoughtful actions that will promote development and success. If I want to master a sport or a musical instrument, for example, I have to practice - a lot! - to get a good result. If I want to succeed in my career I need to put in long hours, develop specific skills related not only to what I am doing now but what I wish to be doing in future (e.g. skills related to senior management roles are additional ones to industry-specific competencies). If I want to be the best possible parent I can be - I'll learn all I can about what kids need, and dedicate mental, emotional, physical and financial resources to doing it well. Somehow, though, couples can overlook the obvious - if they don't apply these same principles to their relationship, even the most initially promising partnership can dissolve into either constant conflict or worse - living parallel, separate lives where there is no longer a feeling of togetherness or intimate connection. It can be an unpalatable but unavoidable fact of life to face that perhaps we can't have it all - I have a finite amount of energy and I have to make choices about where I focus that energy. If I decide to dedicate that energy to being as successful in my career as possible, I may have to sacrifice the quality of relationship I'd like to have. Often couples come to counselling having tried and failed to have it all - high income (usually earned by at least one person working extraordinarily long and stressful hours), and a high quality relationship (which requires both quality and quantity time when both partners are not too exhausted to give each other a significant expenditure of energy). I don't know if it's possible to have both; what's important is perhaps to acknowledge that whatever choice we make, it involves sacrifice, or at least a level of compromise. Perhaps 'having it all' is the paradoxical outcome of accepting that we are human, with finite energy and resources!

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