Love’s little secret: the haven in hardship


Art by Maddy Mueller

Alice Yu

Found while scrolling through Pinterest posts, this quote caught my attention because of how it addressed both the happy and sad sides of relationships. I’ve analyzed relationships before, hoping to discover why some work out and why others don’t. Specifically, I thought about how romantic relationships are different from familial relationships.

In the end, after reviewing my life and bits of culture I was exposed to, I realized the reason why my relationships with my family magically worked was because I was stuck with them forever. Firstly, I had grown up around them, so I was accustomed to everyone’s quirks and eccentricities. Secondly, having no other choice, I somehow unconsciously accepted their flaws.

There was an unspoken promise to respect one another and understand each other. Sure, I’d sometimes try to change my sisters’ habits and vice versa, but since we were familiar with everyone’s boundaries, we knew when to draw back.

In romantic relationships though, there are always options. Even in friendly relationships there are options. You can switch out your boyfriend or your best friend and shop for another one in this huge market of our planet. Once the going gets tough, it’s easy to set your foot down and say that you want out of the loop. Knowing that there are other options out there justifies lowering your levels of acceptance and patience.

But sometimes, it truly is incompatibility that breaks a relationship. I’d like to think that relationships are part cooperation, part communication and part luck, but sometimes, the luck just falls short of creating happiness. Every relationship will have a few roadblocks in the way that results in the two parties fighting against one another or fighting together. It’s easy to have fun together, but staying together even when the future doesn’t seem too bright is what matters.

The relationship between me and and my sisters is like a roller coaster, but our love for each other is the buckle that holds both of us in our seats, protecting us from falling off the roller coaster of our relationship.

There were nights when we sat together, tight-lipped with a cloud of dread and fear hanging over us as we tried to tune out our parents’ shouting match downstairs. There were nights where anger created a curtain that closed us off from each other. There were nights that we talked for hours about life, about philosophy, about anything that came to mind.

Agreeing to disagree and apologizing when we crossed each other’s lines is what kept us sane when we faced obstacles. There were times when we had to stick together and use one another as a guiding light when an outside problem was hacking at our relationship.

It’s easy to say, “I love you” after spending a thrilling day exploring the world, but it’s even more powerful and heartfelt saying and hearing “I love you” after moving on past a problem. It takes time to grow a relationship and even though the fun times are wonderful, it’s the obstacles that strengthen love.

Written by Alice Yu

What’s your view on the secret of successful relationships? Leave your comments and questions below.