“To Love More, Think Less Of Feeling Love”: Understand This?

This quote, “To love more think less about feeling love”, caught my attention.  The quote comes from an article written by Steven Stosny, Ph.D.  I was particularly struck by it because in my practice I continually come across people who say that they have “lost that loving feeling” – and, thus, they often want to get out of it. A loving relationship is not just about feeling “in love”.  Much of that early “in love” feeling is just the P.E.A. chemical in your brain going wild.  It is an adrenalin rush that peters out within a few months to a couple of years for most people.  It is the infatuation chemical.  Shallow infatuation junkies move from one relationship to another trying desperately to have that “loving” feeling. A deep committed love between two people is more than that!

Dr. Stosny says feelings “are about temporary variations in comfort, convenience, pleasure, and status.  He endorses power love VALUES over feelings because values “are stable over time and ultimately supported by a sense of character…, they give meaning and purpose to life”. He says that “feelings may forge committed relationships, but values sustain them.

POWER LOVE VALUES: Dr. Stosny’s research says these are the key for long term satisfying relationships:

EQUALITY: Rights, preferences, and responsibilities are more or less equal. Neither has authority over the other.

FAIRNESS: Partners maintain mutually acceptable division of labor and responsibility for the growth and well being of the family.

FRIENDSHIP/SUPPORT: Partners confide in each other and are “there” for each other.

LOVING BEHAVIOR: Partners are compassionate, showing care and desire to help when one is distressed, hurt, or in need of help.  They engage in mutually satisfying physical affection, sexual passion, and meaningful or enjoyable activities.

ATTITUDES THAT SUPPORT POWER LOVE VALUES

GOOD WILL: Partners want the best for each other

COOPERATION:  Partners work together for the best interest of the family.

FLEXIBILITY: Relationships … are cruel to the rigid but generally kind to the flexible.

APPRECIATION and/or ACCECPTANCE OF DIFFERENCES: Partners recognize that they have different temperaments, core vulnerabilities, and emotional histories, which cause them to give different emotional meaning to many events, behaviors, and circumstances.

SKILLS TO MAINTAIN LOVE VALUES:

REGULATING FEELINGS: Being able to do the “right thing” even when you don’t feel like it.

BINOCULAR VISION: The ability to hold your partner’s perspective alongside your own and see yourself through your partner’s eyes.

NEGOTIATION: Seeking cooperation in a solution or task that seems fair to both.

I believe that this Power Love Values approach if understood and practiced by couples would lead to deeper, richer, and longer lasting relationships between two people who have lovingly committed themselves to each other.  If you agree you may want cut out and paste this article on your refrigerator as a reminder of what you are continually creating in your relationship.

“The unexamined life is not worth living”   Socrates

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