When we meet someone we are interested in pursuing a relationship with, regardless the relationship type, do we not want that person to put some effort into wooing us and getting to know us? You read that right. I said wooing. We woo, that’s what we do. We want people to want to be in our company, we want them to want us in their company. That isn’t enough though, we also want them to show us, to prove to us in some way, that they mean it. We want them to listen to us, to hear what we tell them, and to put that knowledge to use to show us that they’ve been paying attention. It’s a form of communication, and we all know how very important communication is to relationships.
I once dated a guy who was great at wooing, at first. He listened to me, he did things that I really appreciated, he made me want to spend more and more time with him to the point we moved in together and were planning a wedding. Then, once he’d “caught” me, once he knew I was his, he stopped. There was no more wooing. There were no more weekends away, no more quiet dinners, no more long discussions about life, no more thoughtful little gifts. After a few years it was apparent he didn’t know me at all. How odd that was. To be living with someone for more than five years and to have them not have any idea who I was. He did a good job of wooing me but in the end put no effort into knowing who I really was. Funny thing is, I believe we would have been much more compatible now at this point in our lives than we were back then. But maybe not. After all, I wouldn’t have become the person I am today without having gone through those years with him.
Anything worth having takes effort. If there were no effort involved how would we appreciate it? How would we realize it’s value and ensure it lasts? Yes, I’m sure you think you would appreciate having $1,000,000 suddenly appear in your bank account after being homeless for months, but the odds of that happening are slim to nil. I’ve also known few lottery winners who were completely broke less than five years after winning millions of dollars. They couldn’t adjust to having that kind of money, couldn’t understand the value of it, because they had done nothing to get it. If you want $1,000,000 you are going to have to put some effort in and earn it to realize it’s worth.
I see elderly couples who have been together for more than fifty years. I see them sit at a little table in the mall cafeteria talking. They pay attention to each other. They communicate and appreciate each other. They walk together, they hold hands, the husband holds the door for his wife, he sits her down and brings their meals to her. I’m sure if I watched them all week I would see flowers. The husband still woos his wife. That’s part of what makes everything continue to work with them.
My point is, it isn’t enough to put effort in only for a little while, to woo our partners just to get them. We have to continue doing it all the time. We have to continue to woo our partners if we want to keep them.