The resilience of romantic love


We all want to be loved in a way that makes us feel great. When we meet someone that we fall in love with, our need to love needs to be matched by our need to be loved. This is when a romantic relationship can flourish into a great connection that can last over time.

I have always claimed that it is an easy thing to achieve to be in a relationship when we have fallen in love. The feelings of being in love carries us through the days and nights in a blur of endorphins. Most people label these feelings as love. Where in actual fact, these are experiences that form part of the concept of loving someone.

We need little encouragement during this time to channel energy to the relationship. We adapt to and support each other without much effort or perception of personal cost. It is when the deep and overwhelming feelings of falling in love dissipate that the deeper levels of loving someone needs to be explored. If your definition of love stops at the experience of being in love, you will label the current state of the relationship as having fallen out of love. This may be when the relationship is then ended because ‘things didn’t work out’. In actual fact, the relationship needs to rise above the diminished feelings of love and should have grown into the realities of remaining in love.

Resilience is the mental ability to bounce back after challenges have been experienced. In love, as in life, we are faced by disappointments. Avoiding, diminishing or invalidating relationship challenges will inhibit the resilience that romantic love has naturally.

It has the innate ability to bounce back from heart ache, disappointment or even infidelity. If we discover, and then continue to acknowledge and live within the true character of romantic love, we will see that in times of challenge, we can resiliently restore the content and context of feeding the love we have for someone else.

In true romantic love, we fall in love with the whole person. This implies that the extent of these feelings continue to grow as our knowledge and experience of the person continues to grow. The more we learn of someone we love, the more extensive the boundaries of our romantic love can expand. This is not an unconscious process, but should be an active choice and an intentional path that you start to explore.

On this journey the essence of the romantic relationship will be challenged by the realities of life. Resilience is not the avoidance of conflict, but in actual fact transpires most visibly during times of relationship discord. How quickly, and effectively, can we bounce back into romantic connectedness after the hurt?

Let go of wanting to be right. When a power struggle exists in a romantic relationship the resilience of the relationship is compromised. The relationship is trapped in the egos of the partners and will remain there as long as the power struggle is fed. The relationship will eventually be suffocated and loose all ability to restore connectedness.

Focus on what is great. Romantic relationships are scattered with great elements. Go look for these, dust them off and get them back on centre stage. Push conflict and differences to the back of the stage where we can deal with then while looking through the best elements of the relationship that that sets the scene for resolution and restoration. When conflict is all we see, it is all we experience. Step back and see the full picture of the relationship and resilience is enabled more effectively.

Choose forgiveness. In order to activate the powerful energy of resilient relationship growth, we have to intentionally forgive our romantic partners and ourselves for the mistakes that take place. Sometimes we have to forgive a blatant wrong choice, sometimes we just forgive thoughtlessness. A lack of forgiveness fills the stage of the relationship with hurt, where it is guaranteed to become the largest group of relationship memories. These will then push happiness and joy to a corner where no attention is given and no energy is spent.

Resilient romantic love is a process that needs attention and energy, choice and intention. Through the experience of remaining mindful of my choices in romantic relationships, the feelings of being in love will appear from time to time, depending on the space that we provide for them to perform their enticing and overwhelmingly beautiful return to our hearts.

JF

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