Don’t we all love that intoxicating honeymoon phase? When you’re most in love and life is sugary sweet? It’s the blissful point of every relationship when everything is amazing and it all feels almost too good to be true.
At this point, we see our significant other as a special gem, the most unique and incredible person that we are blessed to be so comfortable sharing our lives with, our “meant-to-be”. We downplay their bad habits or dismiss them as quirks. We focus on their beauty, their kindness, their ability to put the dumbest grins on our faces at the most unexpected of times. How can we not feel so completely devoted and in love?
For me, I get a little bit scared as the days of the honeymoon phase go by, because realistically speaking, it’s rare that such an overpowering euphoria lasts forever. Because no matter how good your relationship is, how strong the connection seems to be or how much you love each other, issues will arise.
And here’s when life really puts love to the test – when the problems come in, we’re forced to see each other for who we really are, not just the exaggerated strong points, but the ugly flaws too. It’s easy to be your best self when everything is sunshine and rainbows, but love gets hard when love gets real. When life gets real. People are thrown out of their comfort zone and into a confrontation of sorts. We learn how the other person thinks and behaves when they’re at a low when the power of love suddenly doesn’t magically solve all our problems anymore.
Real love comes after the falling. We’ll know if it’s meant to last by how much of a team we can remain when circumstances work against us. When we see how they react, how we react and how well our reactions work together. When we remove our rose-tinted glasses and come face-to-face with the entirety of this other person – tears, yelling, distancing, red flags and all.
Real loves comes when we overcome these challenges without turning on each other. It comes when we don’t insist on being the enemy when we don’t become aggressive, defensive or passive-aggressive, even if it feels like the other person is doing just that. Real loves comes when we sacrifice, become the bigger person and focus not on blaming our significant other, but on tackling the core issues together. Real love comes when we forgive and when we are kind. Real love happens when despite how difficult it gets, you say, “Yes, I still love you and we can fix this.” But most importantly, real love comes when all of this is reciprocated.
You can’t be the only one giving in your relationship. Your partner doesn’t have to do the same things for you act-by-act, but they have to show you that they’re in this with you through the hard parts in their own way. They have to let you know you’re not alone, and that even they love you even when it is hard for them to be loving, or when you are hard to love.
That is real love and that is how you know if your relationship will last.