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It all begins with a glance, a smile and a conversation. Then it becomes a touch, a kiss and an amazing thrill. Eventually, if we’re lucky, it turns into a bond that gives meaning and purpose to our lives in a way that endures through decades of rearing children and sharing the glad and sad adventures of a lifetime.
What is the secret potion that can transform a simple smile into years of satisfying and compassionate partnership? It’s not love. It’s commitment.
As we move through the steps of a relationship, it is the increasing commitment that lets us know when the time is right to move to the next level, and that gives us the clarity and the courage to plunge ahead further into the unexplored and endless frontier of love.
It is those early days of wine and roses that set the tone for the relationship to come. Much of the attraction and spark is physical in the beginning. Every touch is magical. Every kiss is a rocket ship to an exciting new world.
It is our ability to see beyond the ecstasy and pleasure of the moment and into the caring heart of our lover who will plant the seed of commitment that allows our lust to be transformed into love.
It is when we realize it is her eyes that mesmerize us that we open up the dimension where true love can flourish. It has to be her touch, her voice, her smile, and her presence that make her silky touch so intoxicating and her companionship so addictive and fulfilling. If any skin will do, then commitment will not follow.
What allows a man to give up all other women for the love of one special girl is not love alone. It is his knowledge that his love is safe in her heart. It is his awareness that he needs her and can depend on her in every circumstance. It is the trust and comfort she so freely gives him.
A man knows it is time to take his relationship to the next level when he is sure her love for him is as strong as his love for her. Committing loyalty, honor and oneself to one woman is not something a man will risk if he is not confident of the reward to follow.
The level of commitment that comes with exclusivity is an extension of shared trust, comfort, need and loving satisfaction. It is also the point at which the relationship will be tested in the laboratory of everyday life, through those boring and difficult moments.
“While love may be the bricks of a relationship,
commitment is the mortar that holds it together.”
If the fragile butterfly of love can survive the inevitable arguments, temptations, sorrows, failures, and a few arrows of outrageous fortune every couple must face, then the level of commitment will rise as the bond becomes stronger and more resilient.
The fear of commitment most men have to deal with melts away and becomes the eager anticipation of sharing life’s journey with the only woman he can imagine as a lifetime partner and the mother of his children.
When a woman can so permeate a man’s existence in dynamic and multidimensional ways, she will earn his commitment and he will understand that his commitment will unleash the full power of love, which will free his soul and his personal strength to soar to new heights at home and at work.
Marriage is the inevitable outcome of love and devotion, when we understand the process and allow it to work at its own pace.
The woman who is his soul mate understands that it is not his love that holds him back along the way. It is his willingness and ability to let go of himself and commit his life to her, one step at a time, that is a slower and more frightening ride for a man.
Her patience, understanding and partnership have given him the comfort and courage to willingly commit his life to her.
Marriage is a balance, based on traditional roles. The man is comfortable in his natural role and feels needed and strong as the provider and protector. Of course, modern reality forces us to modify our roles to incorporate 21st century lifestyles and values.
Still, it is the pride and independence a man can find in his work and leisure time, the love and trust he experiences with his woman, and the feeling of “home” that she brings to the four walls of a house that give a man the level of comfort he needs to gladly accept the final and highest level of commitment to a woman.
It’s a long and winding road from that first smile to a fulfilling marriage, and it takes more than love to get there. Love is fickle. Commitment is enduring. “For richer” is easy, but “for poorer” is not.
“In sickness” takes dedication, and compassion and “in health” is a breeze. Love — especially the “falling in love” variety — is all about the “better.” But commitment and real fulfillment has to encompass the “worse” as well.
It is the understanding that while love may be the bricks of a relationship, commitment is the mortar that holds it together, makes it work, makes it strong, and makes it last.