Fact one – Relationships require work.
Fact two – Most of us hate work.
This unfortunate equation is one that seems to dictate how long many of our relationships last.
The principle is true for friendships; likewise, it is true for dating relationships.
In the beginning, relationships seem to propel themselves.
Positive emotions and the mystery of the unknown are enough fuel for us.
We ask questions; we are supremely happy.
Everything seems easy, but eventually the fuel of our emotions is spent.
We have cast enough light to chase away the shadows of mystery.
All of us have experienced this in some way. It is a common life experience.
Unfortunately, this seems to be where most relationships end: at the juncture of emotion and effort.
In an emotionally-driven society, it is hard to believe there is anything more to stick around for when we stop feeling it.
Relationships become like an overplayed favorite song.
Passion’s flames quickly go cold.
I learned much about love in high school, but not in the way you might think.
When I was in my teenage years, I spent a lot of time around fire.
I camped almost twice a month for several years.
It’s not a campout without a fire.
It was early on that I learned that not all fire is equal.
In the beginning, I was like any pyromaniac. Lighter fluid seems to solve any problem.
If it wasn’t burning or wasn’t burning well, douse it in the lighter fluid. It was a simple solution.
In fact, I discovered that lighter fluid became the answer to many questions that it should not have been.
Only a pile of leaves? Lighter fluid.
Rain? More lighter fluid.
Only lighter fluid? More lighter fluid.
I learned that lighter fluid is a simple solution because it is a cheap solution.
You don’t even need fuel to build a fire with lighter fluid.
You just create a puddle and light a match.
That said, lighter fluid is exciting. It burns fast and always makes a scene.
You never know if you are going to come away with both your eyebrows.
But it never lasts.
A long time ago, someone taught me that building a fire is simply collecting heat.
You need only a little heat to burn leaves, but you need a lot of heat to to burn a log.
The question I had to learn was how to go from burning leaves to burning a log.
The answer is time-consumingly simple: you build up to it.
You add small twigs to the burning leaf pile, then small sticks and then larger sticks to that.
Finally, you can put a log on the fire.
The most amazing thing is that once a log catches on fire, it is almost impossible to put out.
Coals are a booger to put out.
It was the exception when we didn’t find some hot coals the next morning after a big fire.
Love and relationships are a lot like building a fire.
You must work at it, but the right kind of work will be rewarded.
The lighter fluid of our volatile emotions only goes so far.
It starts stuff but never lasts.
The question of what we are using for fuel should be one of utmost importance in our relationships.
Are we building our relationships on fuel that has substance, or are we relying on the exciting flames of fickle emotions to sustain us?
Time shows; it always does.
Seek to burn the logs and form the coals.
Only coals give real heat on the coldest nights and only coals endure.