Take for example, the up-and-down relationship of Brad Sweeney and Jeff Hayden who routinely break up and get back together. They know they love each other, but sometimes living together starts to grate. Then they have a horrific fight and separate, only to get together again because, really, they love each other.
This on-again, off-again status quo has been going on for too long, Brad thinks. He wants off the merry-go-round especially since the last time they separated, Jeff had sex with his business partner Christine who’s now pregnant with Jeff’s child. What’s really frustrating Brad is that Jeff’s still the same workaholic he’s always been, putting his business before their relationship. Only now Jeff’s also stressing over whether he should move to Denver with Christine who hates tiny Tucker Springs.
But what about love and a relationship?
Both Brad and Jeff are decent, nice guys, average American working men who just want a solid relationship and a family but who know that they must work hard to make ends meet and support those they love.
Jeff has additional worries as a small business owner who is not only his work force but management as well. Keeping up with customer orders as well as the paperwork is taking a toll on him physically and mentally which makes him snap out at those he loves – namely Brad.
Brad, on the other hand, doesn’t know how to help Jeff, but knows that they both need to do something soon if they want to keep their relationship going. Each fight seems to take a bite out of the love they share, and neither wants to see the other go for good.
This isn’t a flashy romance with horrific backstories for either man or insurmountable problems that require years of mental therapy to resolve. Instead, it’s power comes from the fact that it’s so understandable and compelling because most of us live it.
My only quibble is that the ultimate solution to their problems and the step they need to recognize and take to plant themselves firmly in happily ever after is one readers will see coming for miles. It’s something they should have thought of after their first big fight.
But if they had, then there wouldn’t have been a baby, and the story would be much less powerful than it is. And maybe that’s the bottom line after all: Sometimes the solution to a problem that is pulling a couple apart is simple, easy, and one that’s been staring them in the face all along.