I used to have an aversion to the idea of being "in love with" someone, that it creates this baby of "our love" which takes a life of its own and you become stupidly beholded to it.
I recognised a similar sense in the way you talked about "working on relationships".
For me, now, it's largely semantic. But it's still an important difference to me. I don't owe my relationships anything (per se). But I owe it to myself to recognise what I want, and do the best at achieving that. And I owe it to others to treat them well, be honest (esp about expectations) and all that other good stuff.
But yeah... sometimes now I do say things like "I value our relationship and I want to make this work with you." And that makes sense to me, and doesn't freak me out like OMG WE'VE CREATED A MONSTER THAT WILL SLOWLY BUT SURELY CONSUME OUR INDIVIDUAL SELVES AND VOMIT AN ABOMINATION
Then again, maybe I've crossed to the dark side and don't even know it.
Keep rocking things the way it makes sense to you - all power to ya.