Jewish Journal

Hard work pays off

by Ilana Angel

September 7, 2009 | 12:57 pm

I’ve written a couple times that I think relationships take a lot of work but that the work should not be hard, just work.  I was wrong.  I had this romanticized idea that if you were with the right person it should not be that hard.  Turns out that even if you are with the one person on the planet who was made for you and you are madly in love with each other, it’s still hard work.  To be in a healthy long term relationship you need to be able to see a far reaching arc to hang on.  If you get caught up in a bad time then you’ll stay there and the relationship will eventually burn out if you can’t look past the clouds to the sun.  The good news is that hard work pays off.

I had dinner with my best friend “Ethel” last night.  While we talk several times every day, I had not seen her in what seemed like weeks because work, life and kids sometimes get in the way.  She is a wonderful woman.  A true friend in every sense of the word and I love her very much.  I also love her husband “Fred”.  I actually introduced them.  Well sort of.  She came to a party with me and my son a few years back with kids and parents from his school and Fred was there as our kids were in school together.  Ethel saw Fred from across the room and said “Who is that?”  I was so surprised because to me he was just Fred and I never really thought of him as being available as he was recently divorced. 

I took her over and introduced them and she proceeded to flirt like there was no tomorrow.  She laughed and flipped her hair and when she accidentally sat on a plate of food that one of the kids had left, she got up, bent over, shoved her tuchas in his face and innocently asked “Is there cream cheese on my butt?”  That was it.  They went on a date, fell in love and got married about three years ago.  What’s so great is that even though I never would have thought to set them up, I cannot picture them with anyone but each other.  They are Beshert and it is through her eyes that I see things a little more clearly today.

Fred was laid off from his job over a year ago.  He had been there for a long time and when he left he looked for work but it was hard because he really had no interest in going back to the same kind of job.  He wanted a change and hoped that this unfortunate turn of events would allow him to follow what had been his passion when he was young and before he got stuck in a career that supported his family and he was brilliant at, but was not that excited about.

Ethel has been amazing.  She has supported him and his dream.  Fred has not worked in a long time and she has been an emotional rock through it all.  It’s hard when a man loses his job because he also loses a bit of his identity.  It is stressful and can set a couple up for failure.  It was not that Ethel believed in Fred, which of course she did,  as much as she believed in them as a couple.  They are together and they will stay together and so she did what was required of her to maintain her marriage.  In the end they are great and stronger than ever.  Fred is following his dream and Ethel is watching the man she loves rediscover himself and find joy. 

When the going gets tough you need to hang on tighter.  It is really just that simple.  Relationships are wonderful.  Sharing your life with another human being and always having someone there for you that supports and loves you is a blessing.  I look at Fred and Ethel and I smile.  They are quite a couple.  They are funny and crazy and two peas in a pod.  I love them both very much and I left dinner with my wonderful friend feeling happy and inspired.

I was reminded how fabulous marriage can be.  I will marry again one day and it will be my honor to love and support my husband.  Old fashioned?  I suppose so but I like that.  I’m a free spirited, independent and strong woman but at the same time I look forward to taking care of my husband through good times and bad.  I want a committed relationship very much and so for this particular goal I’m going to cross my fingers along with keeping the faith.

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