We all know how great we feel when we first fall in love. Sixteen years later, I can close my eyes and remember the chemistry, the poetry, the sweetness of that time. But the obsession of those days fades so we can focus on other aspects of our lives too. By the time it fades, we are often well into a commitment to that person and now the journey of real love begins. Couples who want to stay together a lifetime need skills, habits and attitudes that foster love and they need to be prepared for the relationship danger spots.
If you read The Odyssey in high school, the great Greek epic by Homer, you may remember how he prepared to sail by the rocks where the legendary Sirens sang in a way that had lured many a sailor to shipwreck on those rocks. Odysseus plugged the ears of all the sailors with wax and had them bind him to the mast with strict orders not to let him go. He got to enjoy the song and endure the torment of unsatisfied longing for the beauties who were singing, but his ship sailed past in one piece.
Like Odysseus, you will be better able to sail through the treacherous places in your relationship if you know they are ahead. The trickiest spots are when you first move in together, when the kids come along, when the kids move out, when you hit the speed bumps like financial challenges or illness, and when you experience life transitions. The next few blog posts will give you some tools to deal with these danger zones. I’d love to hear from you about your experiences in these times.