Oh, So That's How You Love!

There have been countless times over the many years of my marriage when my husband will say something that makes me feel loved or do something that gets us back on track when we’ve been in a negative feedback loop and I’ll think, “Oh, so that’s how you love!” It could be something as small as walking me to the door to say goodbye instead of being satisfied with a kitchen goodbye or apologizing with a hug and an “I’m sorry” instead of just the words, and I’ll look at him with a certain amount of awe because he seems to know innately these simple ways of loving and repairing that I’ve had to learn. My husband has shared with me that he also marvels at certain ways that I intuitively know how to love.

This is how it goes in marriage: we teach each other how to love. We … Click here to continue reading...

What If I'm REALLY Not Attracted to my Partner?

The following question is one I often receive from my clients who are struggling with the specific spoke of relationship anxiety that contains the longing to feel more love, connection, and attraction for their partner (and let’s remember that I use attraction or lack of attraction in the broadest sense of the word to talk about all of the ways in which you believe your partner is “not enough” that then cause you to retract, judge and withdraw. This “lack of attraction” can focus on any perceived lack: physical, intellectual, humor, social, or simply “we’re not connected enough.”). The question is:

“What if my truth is that I’m not attracted to my partner? I understand projection. I get that there are unworked parts of my inner movie that I project onto the screen of my partner. But what if this one is really my truth and I’m just not attracted … Click here to continue reading...

10,000 Hours of Love

Alongside the adolescent view of love we hold in this culture that says that love is a feeling, we also believe that love should be easy. Of course, this attitude of effortlessness and ease extends far beyond the bounds of love; more and more, people seem to believe that life itself should be easy. We shouldn’t feel pain or discomfort, jealousy or frustration. We shouldn’t struggle through transitions, or should only feel happy emotions around death-and-rebirth thresholds like becoming a wife/husband or a parent. In short, we should, somehow, always be fine (“How are you?” and “I’m fine.”), which is another way of saying that anything uncomfortable is pushed underground and we shouldn’t have to work for wellness.

I have a feeling this expectation of effortlessness is connected to modern technology, where everything is easier and faster. From the automobile to the vacuum cleaner, from online shopping to texting, modern … Click here to continue reading...

Turned On By Kindness

“I love him but I don’t desire him” is a statement I often hear from clients and course members.

Our culture teaches us to be turned on by mystery. Desire and longing are so intimately linked that it’s often when a relationship becomes solid and real that the desire withers. This can happen on the first date if you sense immediately that the person is available and wants you, or it can happen several months into the relationship. The shift often happens when the burning, desire-inducing question of “Do you really love me?” is answered. Heather Havrilesky nails it in this article:

I’m an advice columnist, so sometimes people ask me about how they can “keep the romance alive” in their marriages. This stumps me a little because, by “romance,” I know they mean the traditional version, the one that depends on living inside a giant, suspenseful question mark. … Click here to continue reading...

Love is a Habit

Left to it’s own devices, the mind will gravitate toward its most well-worn thought-groove, which, for many people, is fear and anxiety. The heart, following suit, will gravitate toward its basic defensive posture of fear: it hardens off to protect against the possibility of hurt and loss. While it’s important to understand the root causes of anxiety, fear, and why we defend (because we’ve all been hurt so we all know how vulnerable love renders us), what’s equally if not more important is to create new habits that allow the mind and heart to create new thought-and-action patterns that will result in opening and softening.

In this sense, feeling love and attraction for our partners is a habit that we can consciously cultivate and create. Left to the familiar habit, we will surrender to the fear-walls that want to jut up and create a comfortable chasm between us and our … Click here to continue reading...