There’s a point in every relationship in which you eventually begin to see the other person not as the idealized self that your heart has romanticized but as the flawed individual that he or she necessarily is. It’s happened to you. It’s happened to others. It’s happened to anyone who’s ever dated for any length of time. Or crossed the threshold of marriage into reality. And it’s at that point that you have to decide if you’re just in love with being in love or if you’re truly in love with a flesh-and-blood human being who faces the same struggles that you do.
Dr. Les Parrott, a professor of clinical psychology, and his wife, Dr. Leslie Parrott, a marriage and family therapist, have written about this key turning point in every relationship in their insightful book “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts” (Zondervan, 1995). Whether you’re presently in a relationship that’s headed to the altar or not, their description of what it means to come face-to-face with romantic disillusionment gives helpful direction to us all. The following excerpt is taken from their book chapter addressing myths in relationships that must be confronted if you’re going to progress to a deeper level of intimacy.
“Most relationships begin with an emotional honeymoon, a time of deep and passionate romance. But this romance is invariably temporary. In The Road Less Traveled, Dr. Scott Peck says that ‘no matter whom we fall in love with, we sooner or later fall out of love if the relationship continues long enough.’ He does not mean that we cease loving our partner. He means that the feeling of ecstatic love that characterizes the experience of falling in love always passes. ‘The honeymoon always ends,’ he states. ‘The bloom of romance always fades.’