Q: I’m getting married in June. My fiancée and I want to have a great life-long relationship, so we’re asking various people for advice and input. What’s your perspective?
A: Every couple wants a loving marriage that’ll endure for the long haul. So it’s worth asking, “Why do so few relationships seem to actually experience that kind of genuine intimacy?”
We think part of the answer lies in what couples expect from relationships. The primary reason we’re attracted to people is because of the way they make us feel. Now, we want as much as anyone for couples to experience good feelings in their marriage. But superficial emotions like that aren’t enough of a foundation to sustain a relationship or to create deep, fulfilling intimacy. That’s because as soon as the good feelings disappear, so does the person’s commitment to the relationship. It’s why people abandon friendships. And it’s why people give up on marriages.
True love is something quite different. Love is patient and understanding. And, yes, love can be hard. It sacrifices for someone else and chooses to stay with them in spite of their faults. Instead of running away, love faces challenges head on, so it can break through to something richer and more meaningful. As one person put it, love is “seeing the darkness in another person, yet resisting the impulse to jump ship.”
Very few things in life are as enriching as true intimacy in marriage. The path to authentic, soul-fulfilling intimacy in a relationship isn’t always strewn with rose petals; sometimes there are a few thorns along the way. But it’s definitely worth the work.
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