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How is it possible that many of us become more concerned with offending the checkout guy, the bank teller, or some acquaintance than we are about offending our partners? We grow complacent and start taking the people we care most about for granted, as no longer in need of much cultivation or care.

Many erroneously view their romantic relationships as sturdy buildings with reinforced steel beams capable of withstanding anything, when in actuality all romantic relationships are delicate flowers. When they are taken care of properly they are beautiful and capable of providing a lot of light and joy. But they are also easily damaged, requiring constant attention, a gentle hand, and the proper conditions to thrive.

Some people seem to have a switch that flips once they feel they have conquered their mate. They have gotten past the wooing stage and cease to find it necessary to do any hard work, to be truly interested in the other, to be at their best and always try to treat this person with the love and respect they deserve. It’s because the feelings they have align more with ownership and with what they can take from the situation than with the authentic desire to help their partners grow and self-actualize.

I know a couple who says their wedding vows to each other every morning, without fail, while they are both still in bed before going to work. You don’t have to go to these extremes obviously, but the spirit of what they are doing is treating their relationship like a flower, constantly reaffirming how important they are to one another and how they want to be towards each other to make sure they both flourish.

All you really need to do to shock yourself into turning back towards your partner with love and a gentle attitude focused on growth and deeper understanding is to consider the absurdity of a situation where you may have started caring more about what relative strangers think about you, and may have started putting more effort into these encounters, than you do with the person you believe you love the most.