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When they say good night, Dave kisses Stacy on the mouth. The kiss shocks Stacy, who realizes she is playing with fire.
The story of Stacy and Brian illustrates some of the core issues at play in a marriage with a potential conflict. Stacy has not yet cheated on Brian, but she seems dangerously close to doing so. The conflict is only shallowly related to sex. Although sex is surely an important component of an enduring marriage, the root cause of Stacy's behavior is her feeling neglected by her husband.
To resolve the conflict between Stacy and Brian, it would be important to focus on what the couple can do to rekindle their love and romance. Stacy needs to feel greater self-acceptance rather than relying on the attention given to her by other men to feel loved. At the same time, Stacy needs to confront Brian about her needs and Brian needs to be willing to listen. Brian must be able to rely on his core spiritual reserves of kindness and compassion instead of reacting defensively when Stacy eventually confronts him. If Brian can discover why he might not be paying enough attention to his wife, then the conflict between the two individuals might be resolved before infidelity takes place. Stacy also needs to be able to forgive Brian for his emotional and physical detachment and be willing to let go of the rush she feels when flirting with other men. Both Stacy and Brian need patience to get them through this difficult period in their relationship.
While forgiveness is one of the principles of enduring love, infidelity may be one area that inhibits the possibility for mending the relationship. Infidelity is like a line of demarcation. The act of infidelity shows that one (or both) members of the marriage have given up. An individual feels that his or her needs cannot be met within the relationship and justifies meeting those needs outside it. The fact that Stacy was frightened when Dave kissed her on the mouth proves that she has not crossed that line and does not want to cross it. Stacy is willing to address the underlying problem in the marriage with Brian rather than avoid conflict.
Conflict resolution, when accompanied by forgiveness, patience, and self-acceptance, is the most important variable in enduring love. As a proactive means of addressing natural problems that arise in relationships, conflict resolution is an ethical act. Couples that accept conflicts when they arise instead of expecting them to vanish magically are more likely to experience relationships that endure the test of time. While these principles are not the only ways of ensuring enduring love, conflict resolution, forgiveness, patience, kindness, and self-acceptance are some of the most important ways of making relationships last.
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