Why Your Relationship Isn't Working
Peter was an ordinary guy. He liked to watch football, drink beer, and hang out with his friends. From time to time, when he was alone, he would get a little introspective and start to think about where his life was going. It was then that he thought about relationships; more specifically he would wonder whether he would ever have a truly great relationship. He always concluded that he hoped one day he would.
One thing Peter loved to do was people-watch, and if you like people-watching there is perhaps no better place than an airport.
A few years ago, Peter was standing at the airport in San Francisco waiting for a friend when he had one of those life-changing experiences you sometimes hear people talk about... the kind that sneaks up on you when you least expect it.
Straining to locate his friend among the passengers coming out the exit into baggage claim, Peter noticed a man walking toward him carrying two small bags. The man stopped right next to him to greet his family.
First, the man motioned to his younger son, who was perhaps five or six years old. Putting down his bags, he took the boy in his arms and gave him a long hug, and as they drew apart long enough to look at each other, Peter overheard the father say, “It’s so good to see you, son. I’ve missed you so much.”
The boy smiled shyly, averted his eyes a little, but replied, “Me too, Dad.”
Standing up, the man gazed deep into his elder son’s eyes (the boy was maybe nine or ten years old) and, taking the boy in his arms, he said, “You’re such a fine young man, Nathan, I love you so much.”
While all this was happening a baby girl was eyeing her father and squirming excitedly in her mother’s arms, never once taking her eyes off her returning father.
The man turned to the child now and said, “Hi, baby girl!” as he gently took her from her mother’s arms and kissed her face all over.
After several long moments he handed his daughter to his elder son, declared, and proceeded to kiss and hug his wife warmly. As they drew back, he held on, looked her eyes for several seconds and said, “I love you so much.”
All of a sudden, Peter became awkwardly aware of how engrossed he had become in this wonderful display of love.
“How long have you been married?” Peter was amazed to hear his own voice asking.
“Been together fourteen years, married for twelve,” the stranger replied.
“How long have you been away?” Peter asked.
The stranger turned to him now, smiled, and said, “Two whole days.”
Peter was stunned. From the intensity of their greeting, Peter figured he had been gone for weeks. Two whole days, he thought to himself, and smiled.
He was little embarrassed now, but hoping to end his intrusion with some semblance of grace, Peter said casually, “I hope my marriage is that passionate after twelve years!”
Suddenly the man stopped smiling. He turned and looked straight into Peter’s eyes with a forcefulness that burned, and he said something that left Peter a different man:
“Don’t just hope, friend, decide!”
And with that, the stranger picked up his bags and he and his family strolled off.
Peter was still watching them disappear into the distance when his friend came up to him and said, “Whatcha looking at?”
Peter smiled and, without hesitating, replied, “My future.”
Great relationships don’t come to those who hope for them. Hope is worthless unless coupled with real effort. Great relationships belong to those who decide to put in the effort and make them a priority. Don’t just hope... decide!
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