Does Love Last?
Working as a national and local marriage counselor in Roswell, I get a lot of clients who ask this very question:
“Can we save our love? Does love last?”
The first thing we do before going any further is to seek to understand what they believe love is. Let’s make sure both parties are using the same deck of cards.
In Greek culture, love was defined into four categories or types, Eros, Phileo, Agape and Storge. The most common love portrayed in culture and media is Eros love. That is the ‘romantic love.’ It’s that love that feels like butterflies in your stomach when you see your “crush” walk into a room. It’s the love that can cause us to do strange or foolish things.
Eros Love ?
At first in dating, most love is Eros. It’s the sensual based neurological feelings in the brain. The technical name for this stage is limerance. Limerence is the natural, involuntary part of being in love with another person; many call it the honeymoon phase. This hormonal time has been studied and researched to last 6-24 months maximum.
After this what are you left with?
If you only think love is a feeling what happens when it’s dried up? Sadly this is how affairs begin. They don’t know about the next phase.
Agape Love !
The next stage of the love cycle, which we call ‘Agape love.’ when loyalty and admiration needs to be shared. Agape love is different because it’s unconditional and transcends all barriers.
“The essence of Agape love is goodwill, benevolence, and willful delight in the object of love.”
Do you admire your partner? Do you show them gratitude?
Awareness that love has moved into a second stage is eye opening for many couples; honestly, it’s not at all like what we see in the movies.
Cultivating these new attitudes will help your marriage last.
Try saying, “I am grateful that you did ______ this week”.
“You look _______ today”. It’s little gifts you are depositing into their love ATM.
Sadly, many people don’t go this route. Instead, they allow themselves to be controlled by their emotions. John Gottman, a nationally recognized clinical researcher of the attributes of love, finds ‘contempt, criticism, defensiveness and stonewalling,’ otherwise known as the ‘four horsemen of love’s apocalypse’ can set in at this time. He calls these attitudes the death toll of love.
What can you do today, to cultivate an atmosphere of Agape love with your spouse?
It’s a daily decision, and if you ask me, 100% worth it.