How Much Did You Really Try?

Nike made a fortune using the tagline Just Do It. While their connotation was about getting out in their shoes, it applies to every other arena. Most especially, it applies to the relationship arena.

Have you heard?

When we fail at anything, we have a tendency to say something to the person we failed, like…

  • I am trying as hard as I can to _____________.
  • I tried my best.
  • I am trying to make it better.

Have you heard one of these? Have you said one of them? Hmm.


We are going to discount the failures which come compliments of relying on others who failed to produce, but only slightly.

When you can reasonably foresee someone is going to fail to give you what you need to finish your task, you need to be responsible enough to seek an alternate source.


For instance, you need to get a present for Mate. You know Mate wants custom cowboy boots. There are four companies who make them. You go to the first one and place an order. But…

  • There is an eight-week turnaround.
  • They do not have the material of preference.
  • No guarantee or service goes along with the product.

Since you ordered the boots four weeks before Mate’s birthday, failure #1. Something which is supposed very personal is going to use substitute material, failure #2. A year from now the boots will fall apart, failure #3.

With a minimum of time spent, you would have found out the third company would have had the perfect boots ready on time with a three-year guarantee.

How much did you really try? 


Mate is very romantic. Your anniversary is at hand, and you are standing in from of the greeting card display. You see cards with beach scenes and roses. Nothing jumps off the counter into your hand, and you move down to the next section. There it is… You read the card, literally laugh out loud and head for the cashier.

Over dinner, you pass the card across the table with a large grin. Mate reads the card and gives a wistful smile. You prompt for laughter because you thought it was hysterical. Mate tells you it would be nice for you to feel the romance on your anniversary.

You knew it was an occasion which was romantically important to Mate, but you chose to go with your (comic, sarcastic, self-important) style instead of considering Mate’s desires and needs.

How much did you really try?


Mate has a signature dish which is a staple of all dinner parties, yours or potlucks. You arrive home to announce guests will be arriving in three hours and are excited to eat. Mate looks at you with daggers.

Yours may be more advanced.

You know Mate can pull off the dish in less than an hour and a half. You think you have done well. What you failed to consider was Mate has just gotten news a family member is dead, is in no mood to perform or entertain and is expected at the funeral home in four hours. With one telephone call, you would have known.

How much did you really try?

You and Mate have been together a long time. One morning over coffee, Mate asks if you are still in love. You look at Mate, perplexed, with a Of course I am.

Mate faithfully tells you I love you every time you leave home, before you hang up the telephone and before you go to sleep everyday. When you look back over the last (week, month, year), you cannot remember saying anything except I love you, too.

Mate needs affirmation of your feelings, security of hearing you say I love you and the comfort of knowing the love is reciprocal.

How much did you really try?

You are to the roll-over-and-have-a-cigarette stage. You are completely satisfied. Mate lies beside you for a moment before getting out of the bed and getting dressed. Silently, Mate leaves the room.

A few hours later, still floating on the satisfaction, you put your arms around Mate and ask if the encounter was the best one ever. Mate answers, For you.

When you think back, the last time you asked Mate what was a turn-on was during the first month of non-stop nooky.

How much did you really try?

No Such Thing as “Trying”

If what you are doing is trying, you are not doing. When you are committed to your relationship, you are committed to making as much effort to maintain the relationship as you made to create the relationship. If you are constantly trying, you are burning up your energy and Mate’s patience.

Chances are good you are trying your relationship to its breaking point. All of those attempts are proving you are not relating to Mate… hence, you have no relationship.


What do you think makes us try instead of do? Are you trying or doing? Can you see a way to change from trying to doing? Do you think there is a way to get Mate to stop trying and start doing?

© Red Dwyer 2012
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  1. Quite right that there are differences between trying and doing. Many people use trying as a sort of excuse or way to shift the blame rather than being accountable… whether in a relationship or other area of life. A thought-provoking post Red.
    Christy Birmingham recently posted..The Band Jars Of Clay Brings Hope with MusicMy Profile

    • I have often found it merely to be an excuse not to complete tasks or take responsibility for failure. Glad this one spoke to you. Great to see you tonight, Christy.

  2. Sorry I’m late to the game… I was trying to… oh wait.
    A quote from a rather famous character.
    Do or do not. There is no try. ~ Yoda

    MJ Logan recently posted..The BayMy Profile

    • See, you are the second one to give me that quote. That is what I get for being a Star Trek fan.

  3. Excellent post Red with many good points to work on. I always try to Do for my wife rather than just Try but there’s always room for improvement.
    Tony McGurk recently posted..The Rat Came BackMy Profile

    • Knowing you need to pay close attention means you are most likely to succeed.

  4. Well said. I especially like:
    ‘…you are trying your relationship to its breaking point’.
    Tess Kann recently posted..IS a Picture WORTH a Thousand Words?My Profile

    • I truly believe that, Tess. I have had many relationships with “triers” who inevitably “tried” our relationship until it broke. Perhaps, I need to do a trampoline post. Hmm. Thank you for the idea, Tess.

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