Loving another person for a lifetime is challenging. Sometimes even loving someone for a short time can be tough. Love doesn’t mean the absence of struggle, and many times it might even feel like the source of it, but it is the desire to be connected, supported, understood and valued and to revel in the amazing wonder and discovery of another soul that drives us forward. It is not always easy, but I believe it is well worth the effort (if I didn’t truly believe this then I would need to find another line of work!). I believe that our experience of loving each other is a large part of why we are here…and yet, building great love isn’t for sissies. It isn’t always easy, but nothing else will grow and expand us the same way. Nothing else is worth dying for.
Love Takes Commitment
After 12 years of working in divorce recovery I can attest to the fact that not everyone passes the tests and not every love survives. No matter how much a couple starts out truly believing that they will be one of the stars of the relationship show and make it all the way to their ever-after together, the basic fact is that few of us actually know how to make that happen and most of us (over 50%) are unsuccessful at bringing that dream into reality. It is not for lack of love. It is not for lack of desire to succeed. It is for many reasons, and one of them simply is this: it is harder than you think it is. Love takes commitment from both people. Great Love that lasts a lifetime is not for sissies.
Great love requires great commitment. It requires an unselfishness – an ability to not get hung up on the pettiness of ego and the questions of “what have you done for me lately”. It is about creating something new, bigger and more important than yourself. Love takes commitment, it is about Me, You and US. The US has to take priority over the me and the you. What this means is that when you have an opportunity come your way, when there is something you want, your question needs to be “what does this mean for US” before you ask about yourself or the other person. Love takes commitment. Love isn’t for sissies. If you are not willing to put “us” first, you are not willing to build the kind of love that lasts forever.
Consider Your “Us” First
Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean that you no longer get what you want or that you have to pass up great opportunities, it means that you think about your “us” and consider that first. Take it to your partner and communicate clearly. Consider and listen and explore and decide TOGETHER. This is not always easy to do when you both see things from opposing views. Sacrifices will be made sometimes and sometimes they will be yours to give.
Being real, transparent, honest, open, and unselfish takes courage. Being in a relationship with someone else who is able to do this with you is truly special. It takes two to build a great love and both people have to be willing and brave enough to work through the challenges and to love each other through the days when you may not even like each other much. It takes two people committed to staying and trying and learning and finding ways to appreciate each other more over time. Every couple thinks they are that couple in the beginning. They get the concept of what it takes, but lack the actual “how to” knowledge. By the time the day to day doldrums set in and they realize their relationship has gone stale, their partner no longer feels close and connected and for many, the chasm is too wide to jump. The dreams and assurance that they once had that they were one of the special couples who were going to make it doesn’t feel so strong anymore and when they try to talk to each other, it is hard. They are not on the same page. They do not see things the same way. One of the partners has lost their firm commitment and fortitude to reach their forever.
Learn How To Grow Together
This is the natural ebb and flow of life. It draws you together and pulls you apart – if you are not consciously aware and watching and working together to ride the tide together, that is.
Learn the skills of relationship building, go through a solid pre-marital or relationship building program and then USE what you learned every day. Get regular check ups. Put effort into learning and growing together all along the way. There is no guarantee of tomorrow for any of us and if you want a long, happy life with a love that lasts until the end, Love takes commitment, attention, skill and tenacity to hold on.
Sissies need not apply.