I was a maid of honor in my best friend’s wedding over the weekend and my thoughts keep returning to the poem that was read during their ceremony. Hearing our friend Frances read it took my breath away. The setting was gorgeous. Kim’s father escorted her through the lush spring trees to the top of a hill overlooking Red Maple Vineyard, where she stood next to her fiancé Andrew. The two have been dating for about 12 years, starting as friends during Kim’s freshman year of college. I’ve had the pleasure of watching them grow from friends to lovers, and now to husband and wife. The reading below defines what their love has become after being together for many years, which many couples in my practice can relate to. The fiery intensity of a new relationship is only temporary and many refer to as lust. Real intimate relationships emerge over time. Time unveils laughter, tears, arguments and growth. This is where the challenge of a relationship lives. This is where you discover who your partner really is and who you become when you are with them. It’s not the first kiss or first date that predicts whether or not your relationship will last, it’s learning whether or not your roots have grown into each other so well that you create a tree strong enough to withstand the unknown changes of life.
Excerpt from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres
Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.
Justine is a licensed mental health counselor with a private practice in White Plains, NY. She helps teenagers, young adults and families struggling with anxiety, depression, family conflict and relationship issues. Justine is also the host of the podcast Thoughts From the Couch.