I’m good at love, I’m good at hate. It’s in between I freeze. Leonard Cohen
Marriages and coupledom are made of lots of in between. Lots of opportunity to miss each other and turn from love to hate. Marriage is a marathon and not a sprint. You may have been training for love like you would for boxing or the javelin or the high jump. If so you would not know how to pace yourself, how to deal with your run away brain creating the defeatist stories that show up with emotional exhaustion or the back and forth cycles of real relationships. Do you know what your finish line is when you're in a fight or flight argument? Do you know what a “win” might be? Do you go for a short-term gain of one-upmanship or the long and difficult (but ultimately rewarding) back and forth sharing that leads to a strong bond?
In the middle of fear and anger and frustration and certainty can you say “I love you anyway”? Can you find your heart again and not hurt each other so that you can reconnect quickly and recover? Can you learn to feel and believe deeply “I love you anyway”. My husband says I could always circle back to love but doing it in the moment, in the middle of a disconnection can I love anyway? He says to me, “I can see in the moment that you do that, you go from being mad and hurt and soften and tell me you love me anyway”.
To be completely transparent, I had to learn that. I had to learn the power of love, and how I didn’t access it, blocked it and stayed far away from that door. I had to learn that love is not a nice sentiment, a sweet song or an elusive feeling. It the strong driving force of our nature. It is the driving force of our species. Love is not a Hallmark Moment, or sexy lingerie, or, in fact, any of the multimillion dollar marketing campaigns that try to tap into our need and longing for connection. Love is the feeling we get when our deepest longing for each other is met and reciprocated. Love is the feeling we get when all of our feel good hormones serotonin, oxytocin, vasopressin, prolactin are released. It is the feeling we get when we are connected. And it is available to us, all the time, but it’s work.
It may be work, and it may be hard, but love is most important. Think about it for a minute; security (and insecurity) is what drives all our great economies, all of our unrest, and much of our motivation — and humans only feel secure when they are connected to other humans. We are fighting to stay connected and be seen and known and appreciated by our loved ones. We need to change the way we fight to create closeness and not to push each other away.
Finding love in your families is the most important investment you make, for yourselves and those that are most dear to you. Want to train for the long haul, want to feel love more often and release all those juicy hormones? Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, has got some great tools to unlock your relationship potential.