O Romeo, Romeo!

There's nothing quite as exhilarating as the early stages of a romantic relationship. One of the most famous examples of the enchantment stage comes from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. “My bounty is as boundless as the sea, My love as deep; the more I give to thee, The more I have, for both are infinite.”

Wow! That’s love, or is it. Surely these two star-crossed lovers were in love. Such passion!

“Good night, good night! parting is such sweet sorrow, That I shall say good night till it be morrow.”

But, the early stages of love can be as frustrating as they are wonderful. Romeo and Juliet learned the hard way. Your new love life may consume your energy, focus, and time. You can't stop thinking about your lover. Really, true love is much different. Though most couples go through an infatuation stage with pure enchantment, this can end abruptly and be replaced when commitment takes hold. The enchantment stage is perhaps the most exciting and most dangerous. Everything is wonderful in the relationship. There's an excitement and newness of life where couples are sustained by immensely positive feelings that seem to trump logic. They can talk with each other for hours about things they've never shared with another. They feel heard, valued and understood. Romeo and Juliet’s romance was conceived and occurred in the enchantment stage. Although this stage makes for great romance novels and movies, enchantment gives way to another stage some have called disenchantment or the adjustment phase. Some couples can get all the way to marriage and start their lives together totally enchanted with each other. Then, as the relationship grows, there's an adjustment. Talks become strained, fascination is replaced by put downs, ecstasy is pushed aside. Fortunately, the couple grows as the relationship matures.

In the next phase, there is a sense of hope, thankfulness, and encouragement. When a couple becomes mature in their relationship, they understand how to love each other and see how to be loved. Stage three is described in 1 Corinthians 13, the famous chapter on love.  Listen to what it says:

“Love is patient (that's how you make it to stage three). Love is kind.  It does not envy.  It does not boast.  It is not proud.  It is not rude.  It is not self-seeking.  It is not easily angered.  Love keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Cor 13:4-7)

Keep these verses in mind when love strikes. Embrace enchantment, but realize that love grows.