As the capacity to love one another grows, we become increasingly able to rest comfortably in the knowledge that we are loved for who we are, not what we do. Over time, we may come to experience a previously unknown well of self-love. Feeling loved and really letting that in provides a fantastic sense of freedom -- freedom from fear of loss and freedom to be ourselves fully.
We have friends in the trenches of young parenthood; their lives filled with diapers, sleepless nights and temper tantrums. We have friends in empty nests; their children gone to college or moving away to embark on careers. We don't, however, have many friends who're in both, and who consequently experience what I call CPF: chronic parenting fatigue.
We don't see how they cope with the realities of life. We don't see how they adjust to living together or what happens after the wedding and the honeymoon. Most of all, we don't see how couples stay together, year after year, through raising kids, job losses, ill health, in laws and all the other daily things that make up a life.
"Deal breakers" are those behaviors or conditions that one partner is unable or unwilling to tolerate in a relationship. Because "tolerance" is a relative term and subject to everyone's unique capacity to accept varying degrees of distress or discomfort, there is no generic, one-size-fits-all answer to this question.