Loving another person and sharing life with them is an almost universal desire. For that to work, desire and respect must be channeled constructively.
When I was little, I always waited a little anxiously for the stories to end with “and they got married and were happily ever after. ” There couldn’t be a better ending. But as William Shakespeare wrote, “One day you learn that kisses are not contracts, and you also accept that, no matter how good a person is, they are going to hurt you sometime, and you need to forgive them for that.”
It is learned that only after the infatuation that dazzles and dyes life rosy does the true love story begin.
It would be wonderful if love only brought happiness, but enjoying it means being willing to face the darkness that accompanies its warm light.
“Falling in love is a perfect moment, which lasts a short time, although long enough to act as a hook to offer the opportunity to create a good relationship as a couple. And if there is maturity, it is possible to maintain a crush in everyday life, when life takes over to put ourselves different obstacles to favor our development “, assures Suzana Stroke, specialist in couples therapy and gestalt.
But what ingredients are needed for love to last in a relationship? We present some keys.
1. LOVING REAL LOVE MORE THAN IDEAL
One of the first steps to creating a good relationship is to be able to go through the infatuation that contemplates the loved one through glasses clouded by the hormones of passion until you come to see him with his strengths and weaknesses, and decide to follow his side.
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“Falling in love can be reduced to the phrase: ‘You move me a lot, but I see you little’. In the next stage, when real love settles, one says: ‘Now I see you more, but you don’t move me so much anymore.’, the decision to commit will appear, because the couple is born from a decision, in which one proclaims: ‘I see you, you do not move me so much, but I choose to stay and I am willing to pay the price, “sums up Joan Garriga, a gestalt psychologist and family constellations.
2. COMMUNICATE OPENLY, HONESTLY AND CONSISTENTLY
That one person loves do not mean that he knows how the other needs to be loved.
No one can guess what the other’s desire is at each moment and no one is born to fulfill someone else’s expectations. Only good communication can fill the void that separates one being from another.
This implies that each person can say “yes” or “no” freely, express what they need from the travel companion, what they expect from him and from the relationship, as well as talk about what he is willing to give and what he is willing to give. which is not going to give up.
This communication requires the courage to show the strength and the weakness, the pain and the pleasure, the anger and the love that each heart contains. Claim the audacity to show yourself at all times as you truly are.
“If I am concerned about what you think of me, I am closed to you without allowing you to enter,” writes Hugh Prather. It is necessary to listen to the other putting himself in his place, opening himself up to the possibility of being influenced, of giving ground or gaining it according to the occasion.
It is about establishing a dialogue that serves to review the position that each one defends in order to overcome a conflict. It is a task that must be carried out by both parties so that misunderstanding and discomfort do not accumulate.
” A great mistake is not seeing the other, not really interested in their internal world, looking too much at oneself. Even those who apparently are turned to others because of their character, often do not see the other, but act automatically. Blaming the other person. another, explicitly or implicitly, for everything that causes dissatisfaction also damages the relationship a lot. The underlying belief is: if I explain well what he is doing wrong, he will change, and then we will be happy, “says Suzana Stroke.
3. CULTIVATE ATTRACTION AND TAKE CARE OF SEXUALITY
Filmmaker Ingmar Bergman defined the couple as frank camaraderie combined with solid sexuality. And experience shows that couples who enjoy sex are less likely to separate.
“In a relationship with a couple, the body counts because it has a specific memory and its own language and the sexual represents the possibility of communicating what cannot be expressed through words, ” says Stroke.
In couples with difficulties, two factors usually coincide: little is said and sexual life is almost extinct. Sincere communication promotes good sexuality and good sexuality improves communication.
This chemistry is fed by everything that happens in the day to day with the couple and outside of it: gestures of tenderness, being aware of the other, sharing new emotions and activities together and creating a space to enjoy simply being together.
4. SHOW TENDERNESS AND ADMIRATION FOR THE OTHER
As the writer Laure Conan assures: ” Nothing is small in love. Those who wait for great occasions to taste their tenderness, do not know how to love.”
Beyond sexuality, which over the years usually experiences its ups and downs, tenderness feeds love and strengthens it.
With it, the will to maintain the bond is revealed, the importance of the other is recognized and it is appreciated that they are by our side. It is like renewing your infatuation with each gesture, with each look, with each caress and with each compliment.
“Giving thanks five times and encouraging positive feedback in the couple seems much healthier than the expression of constant resentment. It is loving the other with admiration and respect, and not based on one’s own needs,” says Garriga.
5. WISH THE HAPPINESS OF THE OTHER PERSON
” The happiness of a child is spontaneously desired, but it costs more for this desire to arise towards another person, even if it is the couple”, says Joan Garriga.
This means celebrating the other person’s successes together, rejoicing with them, hoping for their development, and encouraging them.
Through this desire a truer love is expressed, a love in which the other is an end in himself and not a means to achieve his own well-being.
Selfishness leads to concern for personal happiness, making it easy for relationships to turn into a power struggle in which the partner is repeatedly required to meet expectations.
“Love is the joy that the other exists”, writes André Comte-Sponville. That desire to see the loved one happy must be mutual, otherwise the balance becomes unbalanced.
In the same way, each member of the couple must be able to open up to happiness, enjoy every little gesture of love from the other, and be happy and proud of what has been created through this union.
6. INDEPENDENCE, EQUALITY AND RECIPROCITY
The Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran likens the pair to the columns of a temple: they are joined at the top but are planted firmly and separated at their base.
It is not a question of joining two half oranges to form a whole fruit, but rather of two complete beings joining together to create something new.
” Love ends when I think that I am worth more or have more rights. Love wants reciprocity. For a relationship to last, a certain balance must reign between what is given and what is received.”
“It is also not good that one is always the fool and the other the one who makes the important decisions, nor that one always deals with feelings and the other with the quartermaster. In the long run these polarities tire. The roles must be exchanged as in one dance in which the way of dancing is varied “, explains Garriga.
7. MAKE BEING TOGETHER EASY
Hence the seventh key derives: that there is a permanent movement and that it flows with some ease. The most important index of the health of a couple is that being together is easy.
This means accepting that each one comes to the couple with their own experiences and that it is not appropriate to be too agitated when they appear on the scene or to settle in everything is fine.
It means learning to go through the different states: desire, non-desire, routine, adventure. Because you cannot be at home all year or always on vacation.
“It is surrendering to one’s own movements and those of the other both when they bring us closer and when they move us away,” says Joan Garriga.
A PASSION THAT IS NOT EXTINGUISHED?
A study carried out by the University of Stony Brook in New York shows that the state of infatuation with the same person can be maintained for decades.
MRIs were performed on 17 people who claimed to love their partner like the first day and had an average of 21 years together.
The areas of the brain that were activated by the image of the loved one were the same as those of those in love for less than eighteen months.
The areas of the brain related to falling in love are concentrated in the right hemisphere, while those of facial attraction in the left. This could explain why a person falls in love with someone less beautiful and remains in love over time.
The areas of the brain for falling in love coincide only in part with those that are activated by sexual desire. That is why falling in love focuses on a single person and sexual attraction towards more than one.
Mature couples in love had good communication skills to resolve conflicts without generating additional stress, an active and satisfying sexual life, engaged in challenging new activities, celebrated each other’s successes together, neither had suffered from major causes of stress (illness family, poverty or professional conflicts) nor had he suffered from anxiety or depression.
Art Aron, the director of this study, who has been investigating couple relationships with his wife for years, confessed to feeling envy for not being part of that select minority.
CONCLUSIONS TO KEEP IN MIND
- The couple forms a living organism with its own unique dynamics that requires constant adjustments. This requires flexibility, adaptability and the ability to foster a constant regeneration process, both indoors and outdoors.
- Love is not a being but a becoming. Falling in love finds better ground to be reborn if space is left for uncertainty and nothing is taken for granted.
- Tomorrow it will always be another person who wakes up next to us because each member of the couple is a free, autonomous being, who changes, evolves and can decide not to continue shaking hands.
- The happy ending is never assured, but must be permanently sought, won and celebrated.