Putting effort into the relationship doesn’t mean that you spend every waking hour dedicated to your person. It doesn’t mean you stop caring about work, stop caring about hobbies, and stop caring about friendships in order to make more time for them. It doesn’t mean you’re joined at the hip twenty-four seven. It doesn’t they’re the only thing of value in your life, the only thing that makes you happy, the only thing that brings you peace.
Putting effort into the relationship means that you’re present during the hours when you are with your person. It means you are actively listening when they speak instead of staring down at your phone, texting other people or scrolling through social media. It means you’re engaged with what they’re saying and giving your own, well-thought-out responses. It means you’re thoroughly enjoying their company instead of taking them for granted and pushing them to the background.
Putting effort into the relationship doesn’t mean your entire world revolves around your relationship. It doesn’t mean you give up your freedom, your hobbies, and your passions so you have more energy to put toward your person. It doesn’t mean you stop acting as an independent soul with their own thoughts and opinions and desires. It doesn’t mean you stop hanging out with friends, stop chasing after your goals, stop living your own life.
Putting effort into the relationship means you’re respectful of the fact you’re in a relationship even when the other person isn’t around. It means you aren’t flirting with anyone else who tries to win you over. And it means, before you make a major decision, you consider how your person would feel about the decision — or you pause to talk to your person about the decision and make the final call together. It means you act as a team because you’re on the same side, because you both want what is best for each other.
Putting effort into the relationship doesn’t mean you should burn yourself out in order to please them. It doesn’t mean you should give them every single thing that they want without stopping to consider your own well-being. It doesn’t mean you should make sacrifices when it comes to your career and your friendships in order to keep your person around.
Putting effort into the relationship means you make compromises with them when you come to a crossroads. It means you talk through your issues in a mature manner instead of running away. It means you try to figure out a solution that works best for the two of you, so you’re both happy instead of one of you being miserable.
Putting effort into the relationship doesn’t mean you have to put your person before yourself — but it does mean that you should care about your person as much as you care about yourself. It means you should treat their heart as tenderly as your own heart. It means you should give them as much respect as you expect them to give you.