By MaryAnn Williamson

There is a difference between romance and love. Often the true path of love begins only when romance has begun to taper off, for love is the capacity to see light when darkness has begun to eclipse it. Love is easy when romance still lights everything in shades of pink, when the experience of a relationship is like the canvas of a sweet Impressionistic painting. While love grows, everything that is not love becomes revealed. It’s revealed or comes to the surface so that it may have healing. Once the reality of our woundings reveals the darkness still lurking in all of us, romance might die, while true love does not.

Many people are proficient at romance who are not proficient at love. They see the humanness of their partner and say, Nah, I want romance again. Then they start over elsewhere, beginning again the path that will always end up in the exact same place.

Only when we have shown each other the worst side of our natures are we truly ready for the task of love. Then we’re ready to begin. How tragic it is that we so often stop everything just as we reach the starting line.

The point of love is to make us grow, not to make us immediately happy. The deepest happiness comes when we grow.

The purpose of intimate partnership is for us to midwife the perfection in each other. The point of love is to reveal to us the light inside us. This is the lesson.

It’s said in the Kabballah, the Jewish mystic tradition that leaning over every blade of grass is an angel whishpering…’grow, grow, grow. Perhaps there is an angel over every relationship saying the same thing…grow, grow, grow.

To be healed and grow, we must reveal our wounds as well as our love to each other. In that, we can hold their darkness as well as their light. We must accept both faces. Intimacy doesn’t mean that both people are perfect and it doesn’t mean that one is perfect. It simply knows that all of us are wounded and that we are here to be healed. The purpose of intimacy is healing. The purpose of this marriage is to heal, both self and the other.