Last night I was at a party, and I overheard two people talking about one persons impending divorce. They were talking about some of the things that naturally happen at the end of a relationship, and one of them told the other that “the relationship had ran its course”.
Hearing this had me thinking about the saying that some people come into our life only for a season.
It’s true, people come into our lives for different reasons and for different durations. And people also impact our lives in different ways. Some people barely touch our lives, while others change it forever.
So yes, there are definitely times when relationships have ran their course.
Times when peoples time together has passed.
When their “season” is done.
Thing is, this was a marriage. And I think all of us go into marriage with the belief that it will last.
No one goes into it expecting it to just last a season. No one says in their vows “for better or for worse, and until the relationship has ran its course“.
We all go into marriage with a belief in the permanence of it, or we wouldn’t do it.
Yet divorce rates show us that it often doesn’t work out quite the way we expect. Maybe people change and grow in different directions. Maybe they find out that neither of them was quite what the other expected. Maybe they realize that forever is a lot harder than they ever anticipated.
Ultimately the “reason” doesn’t matter; eventually many couples come to the conclusion that they are better apart than together. So their time together comes to an end.
But if the goal of marriage is “forever”, how can we ever hope to achieve that? Some relationships do last, so not everything has to run its course.
And if some last, the question becomes why do some relationships last while others don’t?
Is it just dumb luck?
I don’t buy either of these notions.
Luck means it’s completely random. And although a lot of pop culture talks about the idea of finding “the one”, I don’t buy into that concept (in fact, I can’t stand it).
The idea of “the right person” takes responsibility out of your own hands. Because if things aren’t working out, then hey, obviously you just aren’t with the right person. So why own anything? Why work on anything? Why look at what YOU are bringing to the relationship?
None of that matters if you just need to find the right person.
I have a different thought on this.
To me, when it comes to the success of relationships the why, what and how matters more than who.
Why are you in the relationship?
What are you expecting out of your relationship?
How do you treat one another, not on when times are good but also when they aren’t?
I can’t give you the answers to these questions, and I can’t tell you what is right or wrong.
However I CAN tell you that I think the honest answers to these questions plays a much larger role in the success of the relationship than the the question of who the other person is.
Of course, the other person does matter too.
A relationship requires two people, and one person cannot keep things alive on their own.
Both people need to want to be there.
Both people need to actively choose each other.
And both people need to try to be the right person.
That won’t always be enough – nothing in life is ever guaranteed. People still do grow in different ways. People still change. And sometimes relationships will run their course.
However all we can ever control are our own contributions to a relationship.
So owning our part in things, and focusing on being the right person gives us the best chance of building something that will last.