An old, wrinkly couple – probably in their late 60’s or early 70’s – walked by me as I relaxed on a Hawaiian beach of Kauai. As they passed, the man turned around and started making out with his “girl.” As disturbing as it was to watch such an old couple giving tongue, I actually teared up imagining the life this couple must have spent together and the love they must have worked to accrue.

This love is very different than the love we see in the movies, hear on the radio or, perhaps secretly, read about in those novels with the cover of a dark, wavy haired girl (whose legs are tangled in the 230 pounds of muscle topped with a blonde ponytail).  This love is bound by the years of tears, stress, success, heartache, sickness, loss, miserable days, wonderful days, mundane days, promotions, set-backs, days where you break down, and the days where you build yourself back up… but all of this being days that brought you and your partner closer together.

Sacrifice means…

the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.

I believe sacrifice is an essential part of a lasting relationship; the more you put into your relationship, the more you will get out in abundance.  Now, the way you’re probably thinking of sacrifice, you might wholeheartedly disagree… but let me try to explain with a related example that I think we can all agree with: children.

Now why on earth would someone want to have a child!! 

For the woman, it’s 9 months of pain.  For the man, it’s goodbye to your boat, your peaceful or romantic vacations and to your golf clubs (I know, if you’re reading this blog… you probably don’t have a wife, but bare with me).  For both of them, it’s hello to a litter of kids who first cry all the time; then begin to color our walls; next, need help with their pre-algebra; finally start to disrespect you, cause you stress, empty your bank account and eventually move out – leaving you exhausted with your 30s, 40s and half of your 50s gone.  Having children really is a huge sacrifice.  Yet, for most people I have talked to it has enriched their lives tremendously!

As gays, we love to jump into a relationship

…and then quickly spring into a new one.  We meet a guy and 2 hours later we’ve fallen in the hormone-pumping experience we call love.  This euphoria might last as a couple hours, a couple weeks or a couple years.  Soon enough, however, this hormonic euphoria eventually goes away – and we call this “falling out of love!”  In this case, I don’t think that the love that “fell” was true love at all.  Rather, love is something that’s built: a product of hard work, sacrifice and time together.

When the euphoria goes away we are left with two choices

1) Find something new that can stimulate our falling-in-love hormone.  This usually means leaving our partner in search for something new, but also might mean opening up the relationship to other sex partners to add new excitement to what seems to have become a somewhat mundane lifestyle.

2) We can recognize that relationships are work and no matter how many times we start over, we’re always going to be back in this situation a few years later.

Then, when you and your partner decide to keep on going, you are on your way to building that true, deep and abiding love; and maybe you will end up grossing someone out while your wrinkled, old face is macking down on your lover at a beach in Kauai.