They have read that love lasts for two or three years, and although they’ve gathered every possible argument why it wasn’t the case for them, they couldn’t get the possibility out of their minds altogether.

The wedding made them forget for a moment the pierce of that thought. The spectacular and untroubled honeymoon further removed the fear of potential failure. The first days of their new family were filled with the joy of discovering a life that did not cease to present its promises. However, at some point between promises, perhaps on the occasion of their first major quarrel, the fear that change would make its way into their love began to creep in again.

After a few years, signs of change seemed to confirm the inexorability of the statistics. Their love no longer resembled the high waves that used to take their breath away.

Sometimes, it demanded to be sought for in the depths of the sea, beyond a still surface under the torrid midday sun and in the absence of any breeze. Such an exploration, however, meant changing the routine that had seemed so dreamy to them. It required perseverance, patience, and commitment.

Their story was no longer just a vacation; it was slowly turning into a dwelling. Beauty no longer emerged as much from the effortless discovery and the new and different scenery as it did from the unsuspected novelty that was hidden in the details of the familiar place. The surprising newness, while still promising to be inexhaustible, was harder to find and the personal cost was higher. As romance learned to make more room for commitment, the need for a second “Yes!” was becoming more and more evident.

Unfortunately, sometimes the second “Yes!” is no longer offered. Lack of commitment in the relationship has become the main cause of divorce, significantly more common than infidelity. Some perceive their partner as lacking commitment. Others decide that their own commitment is not worth the personal sacrifice or giving up of other options.

In reality, although we yearn for it from others, our own commitment scares us more than we are ready to admit. And, if we are under the impression that it is not so scary, we might not have understood what commitment actually means: to be devoted to someone, and to share everything with them; to be loyal, reliable, steadfast, sincere, and faithful to them; to reevaluate your life, values, priorities, habits, hobbies, inclinations, and even the way of expressing your personality; to constantly think about your partner and change yourself in order to accommodate their needs; to care so much about the other that you prefer to change rather than give up on them; not to consider your change a sacrifice; not to keep score; not to feel that your partner does less than you and does not change deeply enough.

If the lines above seem exaggerated (at least from a point on), we can begin to sense why commitment is one of the most difficult goals to achieve in a relationship—because it often feels like a threat, even though it doesn’t threaten anything we deserve to be. On the contrary, it helps us give what we and our significant other deserve to receive—that which makes us feel truly loved and gives us purpose in life.

Norel Iacob is the editor-in-chief of Signs of the Times Romania and ST Network.