That Loving Feeling Takes a Lot of Work


In an article called “That Loving Feeling Takes A Lot Of Work, Jane E. Brody writes: When people fall in love and decide to marry, the expectation is nearly always that love and marriage and the happiness they bring will last; as the vows say, till death do us part. Only the most cynical among us would think, walking down the aisle, that if things don’t work out, “We can always split.”

The realistic among us think that if things don’t work out, we can always split. Nothing lasts forever. We live in a country filled with people with unrealistic expectations.

The authors of a great book called Sex At Dawn summed things up in this interview:

Why is long-term sexual monogamy so difficult for many couples?

Several factors conspire to make long-term sexual monogamy difficult for people. As a species, we’ve evolved to be sexually responsive to novelty. From a genetic point of view, the lure of new partners (known to scientists as the Coolidge effect) combined with less responsiveness to the familiar (the Westermarck effect) motivated our ancestors to risk leaving their small hunter/gatherer societies to join other groups, thus avoiding incest and bringing crucial genetic vigor to future generations. 

Another problem is that most people in the West marry because they’re “in love,” which is a temporary, blissfully delusional state we should enjoy, but not expect to last forever.

Making a marriage last a lifetime is a rare feat and probably more unlikely in our new millennium due to our disposable culture. We don’t design things to last forever and are used to throwing things away when they no longer work. What makes anyone thing marriage is going to be any different?

While some divorces are clearly justified by physical or emotional abuse, intolerable infidelity, addictive behavior or irreconcilable incompatibility, experts say many severed marriages seem to have just withered and died from a lack of effort to keep the embers of love alive.

I say “embers” because the flame of love — the feelings that prompt people to forget all their troubles and fly down the street with wings on their feet — does not last very long, and cannot if lovers are ever to get anything done. The passion ignited by a new love inevitably cools and must mature into the caring, compassion and companionship that can sustain a long-lasting relationship.

Studies by Richard E. Lucas and colleagues at Michigan State University have shown that the happiness boost that occurs with marriage lasts only about two years, after which people revert to their former levels of happiness — or unhappiness.

Infatuation and passion have even shorter life spans, and must evolve into “companionate love, composed more of deep affection, connection and liking,” according to Sonya Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside.

In her new book, “The Myths of Happiness,” Dr. Lyubomirsky describes a slew of research-tested actions and words that can do wonders to keep love alive.

It is an interesting read. Check out the rest HERE

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