Linda: Just as a space shuttle burns about 90 percent of its fuel during the initial moments of its flight, marriage requires its greatest expenditure of energy during its early stages. In marriage, however, these stages are more likely to last a few years rather than a few minutes. It’s at the beginning of most marriages that we are likely to encounter the real challenges of commitment, such as the need to let go of control, the ability to overcome resistance to change, the willingness to put aside our ego-desires in favor of shared concerns, and the willingness to be vulnerable and honest in the face of fear and pain.
Fortunately, this degree of concentrated energy is not required on a permanent basis. Once a marriage gets past the initial stages, the amount of energy needed to fuel the commitment decreases significantly. Unfortunately, many couples fail to make it past those challenges that show up in the early stages. When faced with the inevitable demands that occur in all committed partnerships, one or both people may decide that it’s too much work; that they’re just not up for the job; that they can’t live this way for fifty years; that in one way or another, the prospect is overwhelming.
However, those couples that can find the strength and the hope to resist the temptation to bail out when they hit the inevitable feelings of discouragement are usually rewarded for their stamina and efforts by tapping into a mighty power. They are the ones who understand that these feelings and doubts are nearly universal and do not reflect some basic dysfunction in their new marital relationship. They know that if they just keep trying, and trusting, they will in all likelihood develop the strength that marriage demands. Just as an athlete grows stronger by facing down his desire to quit and by hanging in there when his body wants to give up, committed partners do the same. The reward for this kind of perseverance is more than a good marriage; it’s also the almost overwhelming sense of personal well-being that is the by-product of honoring the marital commitment.
Yes, it can be damn hard, but the process gets easier over time, and the rewards can greatly exceed our expectations. We feel the power of love. Love is a mighty force. What love can do is unimaginable for most of us. It is a potent force in the universe and not nearly tapped into enough.
Love can provide a sense of belonging. Here are some examples of the power of love. It can:
- bring a sense of comfort and security
- inspire us to take risks
- fill our emptiness
- redeem our suffering due to a difficult childhood
- redeem our suffering due to difficult adult relationships
- heal our sense of unworthiness
- bring up our self-esteem
- ground us in reality
- prompt us to live an authentic life
- heal our shame
- keep us from suicide
- dissolve self-hatred
- stimulate our creative expression
- bring out our best qualities
- inspire us to commit courageous acts
- and more…
Do you believe that these benefits warrant the great expenditure of energy during your partnership’s early stages?
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