This is the third blog on love. Not being a therapist or expert, I thought I would share the wisdom below from Harville Hendrix
Before the quotes, what I get from his vast experience in marriage guidance counseling is as follows:
There is a primal "chemical impulse" that attracts us to someone resulting in the passionate phase of romantic love.
This occurs because we become infatuated in some mysterious way to the very person incapable of helping us with those deficiencies that were not satisfied early on in life by our parents or care givers. For example a woman or man who has suffered emotional abuse as a child is attracted to an emotionally abusive partner.
Conversely those who grew up in a highly functional, loving family will probably be favored and inherit the same for themselves later in life.
At the end of the day a relationship is work and must be spiritual and healing in nature so that each one can make the other more of who they are. This is to grow to honor and love the differences - easier said than done. The Ancestors I believe are saying the same thing for the rocky period after the romantic phase is over. Harville Hendrix
“Romantic Love delivers us into the passionate arms of someone who will ultimately trigger the same frustrations we had with our parents, but for the best possible reason! Doing so brings our childhood wounds to the surface so they can be healed.”
“When we were babies, we didn’t smile sweetly at our mothers to get them to take care of us. We didn’t pinpoint our discomfort by putting it into words. We simply opened our mouths and screamed. And it didn’t take us long to learn that, the louder we screamed, the quicker they came. The success of this tactic was turned into an “imprint,” a part of our stored memory about how to get the world to respond to our needs: “When you are frustrated, provoke the people around you.” (... or maybe not - if ineffective - then maybe we "stuff it!")
"... Romantic Love is just the first stage of couplehood. It’s supposed to fade. Romantic Love is the powerful force that draws you to someone who has the positive and negative qualities of your parents or caregiver (this includes anyone responsible for your care as a child, for example: a parent, older sibling, grandparent, or babysitters.)”
“... The idea that your partner is really a composite of your parents can be a bit upsetting at first. Though we love our parents, most of us got over (consciously) wanting to marry them when we turned five or six. Then, when we hit our teenage years, all we wanted was our freedom. But the fact is, we’re unconsciously drawn to that special someone with the best and worst character traits of all of our caregivers combined. We call this our “Imago”—the template of positive and negative qualities of your primary caregivers.” (What happened to us outside the home during our formative years and schooling may have something to do with it as well)
“Experiencing empathy, the freedom to explore, trust, and insight can reset your default reactions to a more curious, tolerant, and confident stance. Because our brains are plastic, consistently positive experiences do stimulate existing neurons to adapt and connect in different pathways. Nurturing relationships help us grow psychologically and neurally in ways that are not possible in nonnurturing relationships. As adults, our most important opportunity for a nurturing relationship comes through committed partnership. It’s a breakthrough to realize that the purpose of committed relationship is not to be happy, but to heal. And then you will be happy!”