One of the most fundamental teachings of the Buddha is that man is not at the mercy of an inexorable fate and that mankind has within itself the power to control its own destiny. There is no such thing as the inevitability of war or for a matter of that, the inevitability of history. It is for us to fashion our future how we will. We can consciously direct the process of human evolution.
To assume that we are helpless, creatures helplessly caught up in a fast-flowing current being swept away into a final abyss of cataclysm is a philosophy of despair, and Buddhism will countenance no such thing. The Buddha does not teach that man is God. But he does proclaim that man by his effort can become divine, not by supplications but by action inspired by wisdom.
To be under the impression that the perfect person will come along is to be under the impression that relationships do not take work. When, in fact, no relationship has ever worked without work itself. When I look around at my parents, grandparents, or other couples who have been together for decades — I am often surprised by how different they are from each other. None of them will tell you that they have been married for 30+ years because the pieces just fell into place. None of them will tell you that they are free from fights, disagreements, or conflicts.
None of them will tell you that they will stay together forever because, hey, it’s easy. None of them will tell you that they pledged their life to the other because being with them is sunshine and rainbows every single day.
But, that’s the thing about love. When you love someone — when you really love someone, it’s not a matter of convenience. It’s not only something you feel when times are good, it is the very foundation of staying together when times are not as good. When they are bad. When life is tough. That’s when you pull those you love closer, not push them away. It’s the cornerstone of your willingness to fix something you might feel is broken instead of just throwing it away.
You are committing to someone’s whole self. You are not just committing to them under the condition that they stay young and beautiful — because they will not. And neither will you. You are not just committing to them until someone better comes along — you are committing to the idea while neither they nor your relationship is perfect — this is the person you want to be with. You are committing to their very being. To the idea that the two of you are the consistent centre and your circumstances simply orbit around you.