Long-Lasting Love in Relationship
There is no chance to say anything new about falling in love – every detail of this process has been described from every imaginable angle and in every intimate detail by countless great poets and writers.
In the wild words that uttered seem so weak
They shrink ashamed in silence; in the fire
Glance strikes with glance, swift flashing high and higher,
Like lightning that precede the mighty storm;
In the deep, soulful stillness; in the warm,
Impassioned tide that sweeps through throbbing veins,
Between the shores of keen delights and pains;
In the embrace where madness melts in bliss,
And in the convulsive rapture of a kiss–
Thus doth Love speak.
See? Who am I to compete? I can relate to those descriptions though. I remember being young, how at times I could not think about anything but my infatuations to a point of non-existence of everything else, all those little touches that threatened to incinerate me, my pathetic love poems (which were, surprisingly, well received), all those ups and downs, despair and ecstasy.
I can testify that my experiences were just as powerful as described by the great ones and more.
There is, however, a wasteland devoid of poetry or any eloquence whatsoever when it comes to what happens next. Relationships with or without long-lasting love, evolve, they occasionally become long-term and sometimes are formalized by marriage. What do the great ones have to say about it? Practically nothing except the mundane “they lived happily ever after”, although we all know that in real life it is not that simple.
Despite the romantic and much sought after notion of long-lasting love, Divorces afflict 40-50% of American couples these days.
The most typical reasons for divorce are lack of commitment, infidelity, arguing, domestic violence, and substance abuse. All or either of each diminish the notion of long-lasting love in a blink.
Of course, the seeds of divorce are always there but whether they will eventually sprout or not depends on simple human psychology, willingness to work on problems and a bit of wisdom.
Stage 1: Falling in love – once
‘Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind’ (W. Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream). Although no age is immune to love, falling in love is usually a privilege of young people.
One of the stages of love is exhibiting a bold imagination, adrenaline rush and perpetual optimism.
Being young means general optimism, vivid imagination, and raging hormones. Besides, the rules of courtship imply behaving (and feeling) in the most romantic, caring and unselfish manner hoping for long-lasting love. Let’s also not forget that youth (or imitation of it) is one of the fundamental components of beauty.
So, we enchant and we are enchanted. When people are primed this way, it is virtually impossible to be objective and, honestly, the hell with objectivity.
The beauty of falling in love is in its inability to see anything but good in the object of love, wishing for long-lasting love, and this is not necessarily wrong.
I think people make a mistake depicting love as “I am hers and she is mine”. Love is more like “she is a part of me and I am a part of her” because it is more of an act of becoming one than an idea of ownership. Great Emmanuel Kant defines marriage as “the union of two people of different sexes with a view to the mutual possession of each other’s sexual attributes for the duration of their lives.”
Stage 2: Falling in love – twice
One of the phases of love is about exuding excessive exuberance.
However, at this stage, the initial exuberance fades away. You lived together for a long time, your eyes are wide open, and you see things the way they really are. At this point, the fate of your union depends on whether you will fall in love with the same person once again but this time without a romanticized interpretation of him or, forgive me ladies, her.
Because most people are inherently good, there is a decent probability that most deviations from the idealized image are not going to be deal breaking. I also believe that the attitudes that other people subconsciously project towards us are a mere reflection of our own attitudes.
Yes, despite our good intentions and best behavior during courtship, we cannot avoid revealing true selves in the long run. If the differences between the real you and the person you pretended to be are not fundamental (like substance abuse or domestic violence), there is a good chance.
The little things like snoring, lack of cooking skills, or passion for gossip or football are manageable, most of the time.
Outside of stage 1, I have never heard of absolute compatibility between two people, even if they love each other. After all, men are from Mars and women are from Venus.
All successful couples go through the rocky period of mutual molding, i.e. adaptations that involve both partners.
A sense of entitlement or righteousness is poisonous for the process.
The only path to lasting love is the willingness to change and compromise over ultimately insignificant nuisances that have nothing to do with your integrity and core values and, hopefully, your love.
In the ideal scenario, there is no question of love anymore.
In long term relationship stages, you are so deeply integrated into each other that you have difficulty determining where “you” ends and where “s(he)” begins. At this point, two become one and they, indeed, “live happily ever after”.
Disclaimer: My perception of love is one-sided because my experiences are based on a very happy marriage for more than 30 years. I simply do not know the darker side of the matter.
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