The Beatles got it right when they sang: “All you need is love.” But, people tend to get it wrong when they don’t ... between being in love and what it takes to have a love ... Aft
The Beatles got it right when they sang: “All you need is love.” But, people tend to get it wrong when they don’t differentiate between being in love and what it takes to have a love relationship. After “kissing a lot of frogs,” hoping your prince or princess will appear, or after a demoralizing dry spell, falling in love seems like a magic potion that will get you through the rest of your life.
Being romantically in love feels wonderful. Your beloved seems like the most wonderful human being on earth. You are obsessed by him or her day and night, the world is a shade brighter, and every love song seems to be sung especially for you. Those who have been in love know that it can be a glorious experience that brings out the best in you and makes you feel as if you can accomplish almost anything.
But, many of you have also had the experience where the feeling of being in love has lead you into a relationship that is diminishing, painful, and has brought out the worst in you. Suddenly, or over time, your heavenly feeling is becomes a life of living hell. How can this happen?
People are often confused by the feeling of being in love and being in an ever changing love relationship. One can be in love but it does take “two to tango.” A loving relationship requires that both people mutually care about each other. It also requires five big “C’s”: caring, consequences, commitment, conflict resolution, and the biggie---all relationships have difficulty continuing without communication.
Caring means both people are genuinely interested in the welfare of and desire the best for the other. To do this you have to realize that the person you love is different from yourself and what pleases them and keeps them happy may not be the same things that keep you on top of the world.
Consequences imply that you are both consciously aware of your words, attitudes, and behavior and the impact or meaning it will have for the other. We all act in ways that are familiar to us. Learning how these habits, thoughts, and feelings will be interpreted by the other, is always part of a loving relationship.
Commitment means just that. You are both committed to your love and he or she is the most special person in your life. A major problem in this arena, especially in relationships where one or the other has a history of being burned, is learning how to “claim” the other and let the world know that they are special to you. One reason married people wear wedding bands it to sing out to all that they are out of circulation and that they are committed to someone they love.
Conflict Resolution does not mean that you are not supposed to argue or disagree. It means that you need to learn how to resolve your differences in a positive way. The idea is not to belittle the other, but rather to exchange your frustrations in an open way and come to an agreement. Both people may be right. It is learning how you can each get what you want, instead of being right that is crucial.
Communication, communication, communication. As the military motto goes: “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” A loving relationship takes work, constant communication about what is wonderful and about the thorns in one’s side. Without open communication, a truly loving relationship can quickly deteriorate.
Think about the five “C’s” when you think that all you need is love. Check out the difference between that concept and the reality of a loving relationship.
Dr. Dorree Lynn is co-founder of the Institute for the Advanced Study of Psychotherapy and a practicing clinician in New York and Washington, DC. Dr. Lynn served on the executive board of the American Academy of Psychotherapists and she is on the editorial board of their publication, Voices. She is also a regular columnist for the Washington, DC newspaper, The Georgetowner. Dr. Lynn is a noted speaker and well known on the lecture circuit.