Last updated on November 6th, 2023 at 04:15 pm
Learn to Create a Lasting Love
Do you know how to make your relationship last? Making love last is a concern for anybody with a relationship history that has included disappointment, pain, and loss. How do we do it differently the next time around?
What starts for so many as a blissful, connected, loving state often turns into sadness riddled with problematic behavior and seemingly un-resolvable conflicts. How can we learn to have lasting, productive, and satisfying relationships? While innate chemistry and compatibility are important, creating fulfilling relationships that last is far more complex than that. Is it possible to learn to create connections in which love can flourish? Not only is it possible, it is crucial.
Successful relationships require specific skills and awareness
It is necessary to look at successful relationships as developmental milestones and life skills. Just as other tasks in life require knowledge and practice, learning to create the context for a successful relationship also requires the development of specific abilities, capacities, awareness, and skills.
How we know somebody else is related to how we know ourselves and how we construct our own reality. We live in stories; we carry our unconscious stories as roadmaps, although most of us are not fully aware of this. We live not just in current “reality” but also through acts of imagination and meaning-making.
When we experience the unweaving and understanding of our own stories and how we identify ourselves, we can re-envision ourselves and allow new stories to emerge. For example, if someone were always attracted to “sad” women because he was re-enacting (unaware) the story that his “sad” mother needed his help, as he becomes aware (often through therapy) of that story and its impact on his romantic choices, he can change his story to one that serves him better. The importance of self-reflection becomes clear. It allows us to understand our role in repetitive self-defeating choice patterns in our romantic relationships.
Relationship patterns are also influenced by our needs and fears around connection and safety (these are attachment needs). An attachment need is a need to be seen, listened to, or treated as if we are important. It is a need based on physical and emotional connection. We live in bodily and emotional connection to others. We are born through wombs and are nourished at breasts as infants. We experience love through emotional connection and touch.
When our attachment needs are threatened, we move into fear and behaviors which attempt to help us to maintain safety and connection. Many of these behaviors, however, sabotage the very connection we seek.
Instead of responding out of fear, we can look at our actions. Are we building bridges or burning them? Are we caught in loops of behavior that we cannot control? Love cannot flourish when we behave in ways that break connection. Being disappointed with our partner is not the problem; it is the dialogue we have, both with our partner and ourselves, that matters. The choices of behaving and thinking we learn to make in the context of our pain and disappointment can allow us to create a satisfying love.
Make your relationship last
Making love last also requires curiosity, both about our own reactions and the reactions of our partner. Love cannot flourish if we blame, criticize, or do not take responsibility for our responses. Love cannot flourish when we do not allow ourselves to be vulnerable or behave in a way that the other cannot be vulnerable with us. Because of this, habitual patterns of behavior that create safety and routine but reduce risk and openness, while necessary for aspects of our lives and relationships, can diminish connection.
A relationship is a living, breathing entity created by two individuals. Creating a relationship is a commitment to the process of that relationship thus, it must continually be nourished. Nourishing a relationship requires the courage to take risks to be vulnerable and curious rather than defensive. It includes the ability to tolerate and share uncomfortable feelings and experience ambiguity. Making love last includes a willingness to witness oneself and one’s partner with compassion and openness.
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This article was originally posted here: http://www.jenniferlehrmft.com/making-love-last/
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