What Makes a Good Relationship Last?

Last August, I went out on a date with a beautiful woman. In my eyes, the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. We met up at a small outdoor bar right on the beach for a glass of wine and in the course of about four hours, we laughed, we cried, we hugged, and we even shared a little kiss at the end of the night. If there is such a thing as “the spark” this was it. It felt like I was made for this woman; like every piece of me belonged with her and her with me.

ibil_mighty boy brianOver the next two months, we had an on-fire romance. We shared the depths of our hearts, opening up like we had never done before with others and we truly left no leaf unturned from our previous lives.

We didn’t agree on everything, and there were differences. Among some of the larger differences were religion, relationship experiences, and even life experiences. We didn’t live in the same area, or even the same kind of location for that matter. She lived by the beach about two and a half hours away from me, I was just outside Washington D.C. But, despite all these differences, it seemed so perfect. We already both felt like we were destined to be married. “Soul mate” was even thrown around.

And then it ended. Just like that. It hit me like a freight train. One day she said “I miss you so much it physically hurts,” and the next “I’m just not ready for this. It’s too much.” It was like she turned a switch off and that was that. The next few months were very hard.

Over the past eight months or so, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about “sparks.” I’ve been on dates with other women since, wonderful women who I would have loved to date, but who for whatever reason did not feel the same way. The “spark” wasn’t there. Looking back on my relationship this past summer—the ultimate “spark”—I have come to realize how easy it is to be overcome with emotion at the onset of a new relationship. It hit me like that because it really had never happened before, and may never again. Would that be a bad thing if it didn’t? I’m not so sure.

This woman who I loved almost instantly couldn’t cherish what I was offering, because what I was offering was little more than passion. True love, the kind that is more than sparks, offers a depth of commitment, trust, and honesty. This grows over time, and it is not at the same kind of risk of burning out.

My grandpa used to make chains out of one big block of wood. As a kid I thought it was so neat. How can he have all these interlocking pieces that never fall apart? That’s how I think of love now. For me, love is like one of my grandpa’s wooden chains, chiseled hour by hour, day by day, and so strong that not one piece could separate the connection. This is the type of love I have seen witnessed by my parents, my married friends, and many others. It is the type of love that, I think, we should all strive for if we truly desire to experience love at its fullest.

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What Makes a Good Relationship Last?

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