Relationships are like a jewellery box.
The box is empty in the beginning, and both people bring a few issues, beliefs, past experiences or 'baggage' to the relationship - a few necklaces in the jewellery box.
There's plenty of space in the box and it's easy to separate the necklaces. But as time goes on, more and more necklaces get thrown in to the jewellery box. You might notice they're starting to get tangled and you should probably spend some time sorting them out, but life's busy and other issues take priority. You know it will take a little while to sort. It will be messy, frustrating and time-consuming. And maybe you just don't have the time or energy for it right now.
But before you know what's happened, the box is full of necklaces, all tangled and intertwined and the box is starting to break. At this point you realise you really need to sort things out, and you try to untangle the necklaces. But it's difficult to tell where one ends and the next begins. You might find one end of a necklace that you can get a hold of and try to free, but the harder you pull on one necklace the tighter the knots around the others become. The more frustrated and angry you get, the more strain you put on the jewellery until inevitably they start to break.
Eventually you might decide the box is too broken to repair. And when you look at the mess of all the tangled and broken necklaces you try to pinpoint the one thing that caused the break. Which is the one necklace you can blame?
But truth be told there wasn't one necklace at fault. It was years of adding more and more to the box, not taking the time to sort them out, just assuming the box could take more and more, year after year.
And sometimes there is just so much 'stuff' in the end, it's impossible to sort it out. But you realise that while the box is broken, while you cannot fix it or no longer want to, you can salvage a few pieces. You don't need to find something to blame, but recognise the whole beautiful mess for what it is.
You can love the broken box, but you don't need to keep it or mend it. You don't need to keep unpacking it. You can be grateful for it, and choose to move on. And hope you've learned a really important lesson.
Don't assume it will all be ok, even when the cracks start to show. Sort things out as they happen - don't even let them make it into the box if you can avoid it. Take the time to treat the things most precious to you with love and respect. And don't take anything for granted.
Because one day you might look back and see past all the mess, to those original two necklaces, that just needed a little more care, love and attention.