Should love be safe, or should it be challenging?

Should love be a part of your comfort zone, or should it push you out of it?

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  • A friend who recently told me my standards are too high when it comes to finding love. She said it seems I'm too busy looking for someone exciting that I'm missing the good already in front of me. "Why can't you be happy with someone 'safe'?" she asked.

  • 23 years with this guy. ❤️❤️ celebrating with laughter.

    A post shared by Taralee Brady (@taraleeb36) on

  • What does "safe" even mean?

  • To me, being with someone "safe" sounds like settling. but I don't think that's how she meant it. To her, she was tired of watching me engage in that cliche "good boy vs. bad boy" game, but that's not what came to me when I imagined a safe relationship.

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  • To me, the 'safe boys' are the ones who take care of me in every circumstance - to the point where I didn't have to take care of myself. They are trustworthy, kind and well intentioned. When I need to cry, the safe guy's shoulder is always available for my mascara stains. We never argue; we agree on everything. It's really comfortable.

  • Can the safe and comfortable relationship help you grow? Is there enough challenge to help you become a better person?

  • What about a "challenging" kind of love?

  • When I say I want more of a challenge in a relationship, I don't mean I want the reckless, no-responsibilies "bad boy" type. I want someone who pushes me to be a better person, with or without him. I want someone who could argue with me and snap me out of it when I'm about to make a poor decision. I want someone who, when I'm about to cry, knows how to make me laugh.

  • But when I am attracted to someone fun and carefree guy, am I really picking the 'bad boy' because I thought he could really challenge me to be better more than the 'safe' guy?

  • I asked several friends and family members what they thought about love

  • The people whom I asked these questions have been in relationships ranging from a few months to several decades, so I expected several different answers. But, for the most part, they all agreed that love should be both challenging and safe.

  • "Almost by definition, a relationship will stretch and challenge you," my dad said. "What matters is that it stretches and challenges in a positive, healthy way."

  • A friend of mine said that in her past 30 years of marriage, she wouldn't change any challenge or hardship she and her husband have faced.

  • "I think a relationship should be safe but I don't know anyone who has had it easy, without challenge or has not been stretched," she said.

  • It made me think back to a time I was part of a team-building experience and I was asked to climb a wooden-planked wall. It was terrifying.

  • It's #ToughMudderTuesday! These @urbankickit girls ROCKED the wall! #muddervation #toughmudderwall

    A post shared by Booya Fitness (@booyafitness) on

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  • I didn't want to do it. I'm terrified of heights, and even though the people at the top said they would pull me up, I didn't trust them. Right as I was ready to turn around and quit, my friend came up behind me, put his arm around my shoulders, and whispered, "you can do it. I'll be right here the whole way."

  • I think that's what love should be

  • His simple words of comfort made me feel safe enough to face my fears.

  • Granted, I didn't enjoy climbing up that wall, but I'm grateful I had someone who supported and comforted me as I faced something outside my comfort zone.

  • "You should feel safe enough in a relationship to be able to stretch," another friend of mine said.

  • Any relationship with love based at its center - a marriage, a friendship, love between a father and son, etc. should offer enough stability for both parties in the relationship to feel comfortable and grow.

  • Still, I definitely don't believe anyone should settle for anything less than they deserve - I'm still a firm believer in that fairy tale "happily ever after," but I've changed my definition of a "safe" relationship.

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  • How do you think love should feel?

  • While the general consensus was that love should be safe enough to challenge you, I still had a few friends who leaned more toward one or the other.

  • "You're not going to be happy if you don't feel safe," one friend said.

  • Another friend felt that love "definitely shouldn't" feel safe, as safety defeats the purpose of growth.

  • "The whole point of developing relationships throughout your life is to grow as a person and as a partnership," he said. "You don't do any growing inside your comfort zone."

  • So when it comes to finding love, it seems everyone has their own preference. What matters most is that you find someone who shares your values about how a relationship should work.

  • What do you think? Should love be safe, challenging or a combination of both?

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Emily Brady is a member of the FamilyShare content team. She studied Communication with an emphasis in journalism. She loves photography and finding a good book to read in her hammock on a sunny, breezy day.

Website: https://emilyaftonbrady.wordpress.com/

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