The secret to any lifelong commitment is…
Oh, who am I kidding. I don’t know any secrets. In fact, I’m pretty sure there isn’t any one thing that works for every relationship. What I do know, is that the only guarantee in any relationship is change. You’re going to change, he’s going to change, your life, your finances, your health, your home, your jobs, your pets, your kids, it’s all going to change over and over again.
What makes or breaks your relationship isn’t your ability to remain the same, rather, your ability to flex and bend without breaking, re-establishing the basis of your love and commitment to each other through all of life’s ups and downs.
The beginning of any relationship is truly the age of wine and roses. Courting, flattering, flirting and unbridled passion make up the early days of love. Yet, over the years the things we experience do not shape and mold each of us in the same ways. What might be a spring shower on a sunny day to you, could be a level five hurricane of epic proportions to your partner.
These trials and tribulations eventually change who we are, sometimes in fundamental ways and sometimes in superficial ways. After a while, you might wonder if the person next to you is even the same one you fell in love with all those years ago. He might not be, or it could be you that’s been irrevocably altered. Regardless, it doesn’t have to mean the end. It could very well be the beginning of a deeper and more solid love.
You can’t avoid it and you can’t prevent it, it’s a fact of life, but the superstars of commitment ““ those wrinkly old people, gray and balding, still holding hands while they stroll through the park ““ they realized that true love isn’t white horses and ball gowns, it’s determination to weather every storm together, and learning to fall in love over and over again.
There will be times you can’t stand to watch him chew another bite of food in your presence, and others where you are beyond grateful to have him by your side as you walk through the office door to face the person in the white coat as they deliver your test results. You’ll fight about who changed the last diaper and you’ll fall deeper in love as you deal with the realities of aging parents and the unexpected loss of loved ones. Your love will stand the test of time not because it’s perfect or because you’ve never had a single fight to be heard, but because you made the choice to hang around through the hard stuff and so that together you may celebrate your triumphs.