Society is confusing us.
It is pretending that attraction is true love.
It is not!
In addition to this nonsensical myth, we are being taught the lie that marriage should always be filled with the excitement, energy, and elation of the first stage of attraction.
Again, this is a lie. It is not only not true it is a damaging hurtful lie.
Lets look at the truth for a minute.
Infatuation is the first stage of a romantic relationship evolution invented to bring people together to reproduce. This stage is quite amazing as we all know. People in this stage are nothing less than obsessed with the object of their desire. There are so many chemicals swirling around in our brains and bodies that it is no wonder many feel like they are on a high. They have more energy, more passion, more creativity. They can think of nothing more than their heart throb.
Yes, most people like this attraction phase. However it was never meant to last more than a year or two. Why? Because it is not in the best interest of individuals or life in general.
What does happen however is something even more amazing. If a relationship is strong enough, couples may move from that initial attraction into bonding and true love.
While not as intense as the attraction phase it is filled with new emotions. More subtle but also more powerful.
This phase is filled with contentment, peace, and joy. It is deeply satisfying and pleasurable, not in quite such an intense and thrilling way but certainly in a powerful and beautiful way.
Now, let us go back to the initial confusing lie we are told… that attraction is love.
Infatuation is what brings people together but it really has nothing to do with love. Of course we are often deeply attracted to those we love but it is not an infatuation that is love.
Love is the deep care, concern, joy, investment, commitment, appreciation,and sharing of one’s life. As we share ourselves with our beloved, as we open our hearts and souls to a receptive holder of dreams, we grow in love.
As a couple unites their desires, combines their efforts, dedicates their lives to each other and their families or common goals, love grows.
Many couples who have been married for most of their lives will tell us that the love has continually deepened as they have matured. They will tell us that the love and infatuation they feel in their sixties and seventies is more than anything they dreamed possible in their twenties and thirties.
In other words, love is not that feeling of just wanting to be with someone, love is the strength, union, and emotion that results from uniting, sharing, communing, and embracing our partner.
It is something that grows, develops, and deepens given the investment and care.
Think of it this way, the attraction phase is like planting a seed, and love is that which grows from the seed.
When I hear men and women say that they love their partner but are no longer attracted to them, I often hear, “I don’t feel that initial attraction I once felt for my partner, and I want to.”
What may be happening is that as the attraction phase ended the relationship did not deepen and grow as it could have. It stopped developing, blossoming, and evolving and therefore is no longer providing the contentment, joy, pleasure that can be profound as a relationship continues.
What to do?
The answer is not to end the relationship and find another partner who will provide us with that Infatuation high, because as we all know, that will end as it always does.
The answer is, to invest in the relationship, nurture the friendship, commit to one’s life partner, and do everything one can to bring forth the beauty and joy that is only found in truly intimate relationship.
As we release that need for the initial attraction phase and realize that we can have a profoundly deep, meaningful, and loving relationship as we share our lives with our partner perhaps we can embrace the goodness in our spouse, focus on the sharing of lives, and become attracted to the one we love.