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Family Matter
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Message Icon Topic: “What’s Love Got to do With It” Post Reply Post New Topic
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Quote abuayisha Replybullet Topic: “What’s Love Got to do With It”
    Posted: 04 January 2012 at 7:15am

Love is Not The Solution to Marital Problems, Cathy Meyer

I had an “aha” moment the other day when talking to a client about finding a solution to her marital problem.  She had a laundry list of “things” he did to irritate her. None of which were worth ending a marriage and dismantling a family.

Then she says to me, "I'm not in love with him." And it hit me, she was not able to see the solution to the problem because she was basing her desire to divorce on a feeling…the feeling of romantic love. I immediately started humming that old song, “What’s Love Got to do With It” and wondering why people expect to marry and feel constantly “in love.”

There is a difference between romantic love and committed love. Nearly 30 years ago, Elaine Hatfield wrote a book on the topic of love in which she compared and contrasted the idea of “passionate love” and “companionate love.”

·         Passionate love is defined by Hatfield as a “state of intense longing for union with another.”

·         Hatfield described companionate love as “the affection we feel for those with whom our lives are deeply entwined.”

When we first meet and fall in love we have butterflies in our tummy, long to spend every moment with the object of our love and are consumed by thoughts of him/her. The problem with romantic/passionate love is that it doesn’t last. It is a phase we move through on our way to committed/companionate love.

The longer we are with someone the less intense we feel, the less consumed we become because it is only natural that life and the realities of living a productive life begin to take precedence again. The problem in today’s society is that, some expect romantic/passionate love to last forever and when those feelings are gone they want to move on and find it again.

They either don’t want to settle for committed/companionate love or don’t understand that, that is what love is…a series of phases we go through that lead to a love that leaves us with feelings of sincere concern and caring for another person.

We hear more about the experience of romantic/passionate love. It is well covered in movies, books and the media. It is understandable that a person would be confused about the state of their marriage when they pass through the initial phase of butterflies and weak knees to deep concern and caring.

Weak knees and butterflies are so much more fun than deep concern and caring, I fully understand that. I can also understand the quest for such a love but what we all need to understand is this…we have a choice, live our lives constantly seeking romantic/passionate love or reveling in the contentment that comes from deep concern and caring for another.

The next time you think to yourself, “I no longer love him/her” answer the questions below:

1.    Do I respect his/her values and belief system?

2.    Do I want him/her to feel good?

3.    Am I concerned about his/her well-being?

4.    Are his/her feelings important to me?

5.    Do I appreciate the things he/she does for me?

6.    Do I want to do things for him/her?

7.    Is he/she good to me?

8.    Do I want to be good to him/her?

If you can answer these questions with a yes then you have moved from romantic/passionate love to committed/companionate love. You are right where you are supposed to be! You’ve come to a place in your relationship where finding meaning in simple things and shared values is more important than feeling butterflies in your tummy.

I read an article recently by a woman who had divorced her husband because she did not want to settle for a “companionate relationship.” I wondered to myself if this woman would ever realize that she had thrown away the most valuable thing she would ever have. You see, when you get to that phase of love, you’ve found “true love.”


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Quote Nausheen Replybullet Posted: 19 March 2012 at 8:17pm
Thank you.
A very balanced insight on the subject.
Wanu nazzilu minal Qurani ma huwa
Shafaa un wa rahmatun lil mo'mineena
wa la yaziduzzalimeena illa khasara.
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