Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken.
Shakespeare, Sonnet CXVI
What true and beautiful words. I've been in romantic love, I think, three times and none of them have ever come to fruition. But one thing I know for certain, that after the initial sparks of fireworks and light and pounding hearts caused mostly by endorphins, a different sort of love must take over if the relationship is to be long lasting, 'til death do you part. This sort of love is not the all consuming flame, but the burning, constant embers. It is a decision, a choice that says, "I am tied to you and you to me, no matter the consequences." To give up and give in when passion has cooled is a sad, sad thing indeed, but to persevere through toil and turmoil from without and within is unconditional, divine. It's a love we tend to share more with our friends and family than with those we have made lifetime commitments to, though we should have it amidst that circumstance as well. It is agape love, the kind of love God alone is perfect at. "Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:7-8. This kind of love is completely dependent on a decision, rather than emotion. If God can love us in this way, while we were still scoffing and spitting at Him, how much more should we love others. I realize I may be off point a little here, starting with the love a man and woman share in marriage, but I think that in the end it is God's agape love that makes it possible for marriage to last. It is His love for the couple, their love for Him, and their agape love for each other. The sparks of romantic love might fade away, but true and lasting love, agape love, stands forever.