We’ve all been sold the same bill of goods:
Real love is infatuation.
Real love is a drug-like feeling that sweeps you off your feet.
Real love is the elixir that lifts you out of the pain of life.
When you’re really in love, you’ll just “know.”
Attraction should be effortless.
In fact, the entire relationship should be effortless.
Sex should be effortless and mutually, simultaneously orgasmic.
Desire should pulse through you day and night.
You should always feel excited to see your partner.
You shouldn’t want time alone.
You should know everything about love from the outset.
Real relationships tell a very different story.
Are there relationships that begin with an exhilarating honeymoon stage characterized by certainty and feeling madly in love? Of course. Are there just as many, if not more, relationships that begin with friendship, hesitation, and doubt? Absolutely. Is there any correlation between the first type of beginning and a successful marriage? None whatsoever.
At some point in every relationship you will have to learn about real love. At some point, you’ll be faced with obstacles that require you both to face your fears, many of which stem from your early blueprint of marriage and your own painful childhood experiences (bullying, first heartbreak, abuse, social challenges, to name a few). At some point, you’ll realize that whether you were “in love” in the beginning or not, you will have to learn what to do when you fall out of love. So “fall out of love” means both to fall from something that initially existed (if you had a honeymoon stage) or to fall from a fantasy about how you thought love should unfold. Either way, the question is the same:
What do you do when you fall out of love?
You have two choices:
1. You can fall prey to the mainstream disposable mindset that says that your relationship is now doomed and it’s time to seek the next shiny new object.
2. You can start learning about what real love is all about. You can learn the Love Laws and Loving Actions that you never learned in school and likely didn’t see modeled growing up. In the now-obsolete village model of living in community, the skill of loving would have been passed down through osmosis by watching and absorbing your parents’ marriage, and if they didn’t have a great marriage you would have seen it modeled between another couple in your village.
In these days of the isolated nuclear family, most people have a faulty initial blueprint and are deprived of any other real-life models so we’re left to look to Hollywood for what love is supposed to look like. And there we find the Disney version where the marriage begins as the couple is riding off into the proverbial sunset. As the forum moderator for the Break Free From Relationship Anxiety course so brilliantly said in her recent podcast interview with my niece for Perennials Podcast:
“Fairy tales end at the beginning of the love story. We don’t have the fairytale of Cinderella and the prince after they’ve had a child, and they’re struggling with their finances and whether they want to live in the city castle or the country castle. All of that is never dealt with.”
Where, then, do you learn about real love?
You learn about it through reading books. You learn about it through actively looking for couples in long-term relationships who embody the essence of real love. You learn about through wading through the weeds of your own relationship, shining the headlight of curiosity and compassion on yourself and your partner as you navigate these tricky realms together. And you learn about it through courses like Open Your Heart: A 30-Day Course to Feel More Love and Attraction for Your Partner, where I lay out the Love Laws and Loving Actions that can shrink fear and grow love.
For here’s the hidden secret about love, the one that Disney and Hollywood aren’t shouting off their cinematic rooftops: The love that you learn about after the honeymoon ends, the love that requires facing your fears about intimacy and identifying the ways in which fear eclipses love, the love that grows from the thin patch of soil that appears cracked and parched but actually holds the seeds for the most luxurious, blooming garden if you know how to water them… this version of love is so much richer than the one you may or may not have experienced in the early stages. No matter how your relationship began, you have to fall out of love in order to learn what it really means to fall in love.
Disney love is fluffy love. Real love is the stuff that lifelong marriages are made of. And real love only grows from real work. Join me as I teach you the roadmap – the Love Laws and Loving Actions – that, when practiced, grow real attraction, real romance, and the real meaning of falling in love. This 16th round of the course starts on Saturday March 7th, 2020, and I look forward to meeting you there.