Bob Hollander, JD, LCSW-C and Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD, Guest Authors
Remember the Beatles song, “All You Need is Love”? For a relationship to last a lifetime, nothing could be further from the truth.
Love is defined as an intense feeling of strong affection and attraction; a deep romantic or sexual attachment. It is what initially brings us together. It’s the beginning; it’s the first thing we need in a relationship. But love by itself will not sustain a partnership “till death do us part.” The romantic notion the feeling of love will hold us together forever is a myth.
Why isn’t it enough? Why isn’t romantic love, followed by commitment or marital vows, able to keep us connected for a lifetime? The answer is “falling in love” or “being in love,” though a powerful emotion, is passive. Our culture naively teaches us to believe the feelings of love will never change. We don’t learn how to actively nurture and grow the emotion of love over our lifetimes.
“To describe love is very difficult, for the same reason that words cannot fully describe the flavor of an orange. You have to taste the fruit to know its flavor. So with love.” ~ Paramahansa Yogananda
Love is a feeling and feelings are strange things. You can’t see them or touch them; they exist in our minds and our hearts. They are dynamic and always in process. And they are highly subject to change over the years depending on life’s circumstances. We expect the promise we make in our vows, alone, will ensure those powerful feelings will last forever. In reality it takes so much more than that.
Our feelings of love are subject to how much attention we pay to them. If we intentionally feed feelings, they grow; if we starve feelings, they die. And if we do neither, and don’t truly attend to them, they capriciously respond to the happenings in our lives.
When life gets serious, if couples are not consciously aware of working through their feelings together, it’s likely that anger, frustration, sadness and fear will overshadow the feelings of love; and the connection may drift away.
So what is the key to lasting love and a forever relationship?
Consciously and actively love your partner, everyday. Feed the love, listen with empathy, communicate, problem solve, face and embrace difficult feelings, apologize and forgive.
To stay in love we need to:
Create love. Build love. Practice love. Nurture love. Grow in love. Every day.
I didn’t marry you because you were perfect. I didn’t even marry you because I loved you. I married you because you gave me a promise. That promise made up for your faults.
“And the promise I gave you made up for mine. Two imperfect people got married and it was the promise that made the marriage. And when our children were growing up, it wasn’t a house that protected them; and it wasn’t our love that protected them – it was that promise.” ~ Thornton Wilder, The Skin of Our Teeth
Copyright © 2015 by Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD. Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD, is a licensed counselor and co-founder of Relationships Work, an innovative therapy practice and online resource center. Together with her husband, Bob, they encourage couples to consciously co-create their relationships in order to achieve a deeper, more intimate connection. You can visit Relationships Work online at: http://www.RelationshipsWork.com. Follow them on Facebook.
Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.
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