When we are in the powerful grip of eros – swirled by tsunamis of hormones – we often project expectations on the object of our passion. How often have we met the “love of our lives” during an all-consuming affair and imagined a rosy future together? And how often, once the rush simmers down, do we find ourselves wondering, “Who is this person?”
When we survive the intoxication of eros and actually commit, we begin the soothing but challenging glide into agape – long-term loving companionship. This is often when doubts set in, especially if we have taken religious vows of undying love.
Expectations of eternal passion disappear as we learn each other’s different quirks in day-to-day reality. Dreams of a perfect life together dissolve. Children are born. Parental love replaces lover’s love. Priorities change, complications mount, but in a solid partnership agape love becomes deeper. In relationships built on passionate dreams the “time and materials”, as they say in the building trade, required to maintain agape may become too onerous.
We’re a loving species, despite evidence to the contrary. Love’s rewards are the foundation of life. But it’s work!