As Valentine’s Day approaches, many people turn their thoughts to love. Love inspires art, poetry, heroism and creativity, and it slows us down and gives us purpose. Love transforms us.
The initial experience of love is awesome. We feel chosen and special; our faults disappear and our strengths are highlighted in the eyes of our admirer. For many, that experience of love is the goal. In reality, it’s just the beginning. It’s the attraction phase that suggests relationship possibilities.
The attraction phase of love is great…and exhausting. We are generally on our best behavior, looking and smelling good. Activities and conversation are spontaneous and fun. When love is fresh, we think even doing the laundry and dishes is better together. In order to survive, love requires change and growth. The infatuation inherent in the beginning must deepen to continue.
Mature love is different from infatuation. The motivation or reason we do something, and even what we choose to do, changes as mature love develops. Our motivation changes from “I want you to like me” to “I want what’s best for you and for us as a unit”.
Living up to the standards of mature love requires several things, including self-awareness (“I’m tired, so I might overreact”); humility (“I could be wrong”); sacrifice (“I’ll wait my turn”); honesty (“This is how I really feel and what I think”); integrity (“My values and behaviors are the same everywhere”); trust (“I’ll do what I say I’ll do”); patience (“We’ll get through this”); and kindness (“I choose my words and tone carefully”).
Lasting relationships are worth the effort it takes to develop the characteristics evident in mature love. Experiencing the rush of new love and growing into mature love can be overwhelming, and surviving the loss of love can be devastating. Talking in a confidential setting can help.
For more information, please contact:
Beth Plachetka, LCSW, EdD
Safe Harbor Counseling and Dr. Beth Speaks
76 S. Main Street, Suite A
Sugar Grove, IL 60554
“When love is fresh, we think even doing the laundry and dishes is better together.”