At the beginning of a relationship, everything is exciting and the passion is free-flowing. But after many years together -- and eventually marriage and children -- it becomes harder and harder to keep those feelings alive.
But passion doesn't necessarily make the relationship or marriage. It's something even stronger than that, at least according to Redditor (and unofficial marriage guru) Ihavenocomments.
On Thursday, he responded to another Redditor's question about how people in long-term relationships have changed -- for better or worse -- since they met their partners. Read his response below, which one user even called "the most badass way I've ever heard anyone describe a relationship."
"Seventeen years here. 10 of them married. 3 kids.
Basically, I look at the human condition as a continuum that runs from selfish on one side, to selfless on the other side. The life of a human being is a long journey from selfish to selfless. That's not to say you should stop caring about yourself, but I feel that a large part of maturity is understanding that your immediate gratification isn't the most important thing in the world.
It's been a hard road for me, but definitely worth the trip. If I got the chance to create a spouse in a computer program, I wouldn't have created a woman like my wife. I would have done what most people would probably do, and tried to create someone with whom there would be no friction. While you need to find someone you're compatible with, you don't need to find someone exactly like yourself. A lot of growth will come from the disagreements you have, and maturity will come from the healthy resolution of those disagreements. It's the rough waters of the river that turn a rough rock into a smooth, shiny stone.
We're not as young as we were, and our bodies are a bit softer. There isn't the same burning passion, but there is something, and I'd say it's something stronger than passion. Relationships are like a forged blade. At first, the fire burns red-hot, and everyone around can see and feel the heat. People are envious of that heat, but the truth is, a blade must be cooled and tempered to reach its full strength. The tough times in a relationship are the waters that strengthen the blade.
Our blade needs to be polished from time to time, and at a glance, it's nowhere near as impressive as your red-hot blade, but it's so strong, it could probably cut through stone."
What do you think of his perspective on love and marriage? Weigh in in the comments below.