It takes a long time to realize that you need to put in a lot of work to experience true results. As a kid, it's easy to feel that you're just "born a certain way" or that you can't compete with others who have a multitude of gifts and just naturally excel at art, music, sports, socializing, dating, or whatever the particular area may be.
This carries over into adolescence and adulthood leading to so many failed attempts at intimacy and so much divorce it's a wonder anyone really makes it past the fifth year of marriage anymore. People have cyclical thinking going round and round in an endless loop of self-pity wrapped in a deceptive coating of resignation which goes something like this: "I never was any good at arguing. Why would I win arguments with my significant other? He/She won't listen to what I'm really saying anyway. It's not worth it. I give up."
This type of self-sabotage can poison a relationship with a lot of potential, can limit your ability to think creatively about ways to reconnect that have nothing whatsoever to do with arguing, and mean the demise of something special before it even reaches its halfway point.
For relationships, not unlike soccer, algebra, trigonometry, still life drawing and practicing a concerto, take real, honest-to-goodness, nose-to-the-grindstone effort, time and practice. Of course, if you love your partner, this type of work is worth it to you; it can even be enjoyable, even transcendent, the way practicing the cello can be to someone who is passionately involved with the experience of the cello.
Yet sometimes it is not fun, no matter how much or how deeply you love your partner. Sometimes it's just work.
The good part is, this work can really pay off in the end. By committing yourself to the process of staying open, letting down your defenses, listening and speaking without judgement, taking time to give that extra inch when you think you have nothing left to give can lead to a more trusting, profound and lasting connection than you'd ever dreamed possible.