Relationships Are Not Fluff and Flowers. They’re about Making Difficult Choices.

I spend my days planning research studies, proofing books, and giving talks, all on the topic of love relationships and how to understand and repair relationships.

Today I suddenly realized: tomorrow is my 30thwedding anniversary!

30 years. How can this have happened?

If, as bonding science says, we can reach for each other and respond to each other’s call for emotional support when we are in pain or afraid, then love grows.

It feels like last month that took a leap of faith with a strong, rather brash mountain man and stepped onto the fast train of marriage, adopting kids, buying houses, career struggles, travel, and all the ups and downs that come with a love relationship.

There were fights where I swore I was about to leave, and moments where I knew that I was held and loved and blessed. We needed teamwork, going around the world with small kids. There were scary times where we held each other tight.

All of this rolled out in the great drama that has been our life together.

And of course, all the things I learned in my work with couples and families helped us so that we grew each other up and out into maturity.

My life experience has shown me just how important the work in our couple therapy lab is and how very real the principles of the new bonding science are in everyday life. Love really is all about being A.R.E with each other: emotionally accessible, emotionally responsive and engaged.

All couples are different, even incompatible at some level; all couples fight. But if, as bonding science says, we can reach for each other and respond to each other’s call for emotional support when we are in pain or afraid, then love grows.

It is this emotional connection that is the lifeblood of any longterm love.

And my partner and I have worked at it!

This is not fluff and flowers. This is about making difficult choices, like taking a risk and turning toward someone when every bone in your body says “attack” or “run.”

We know better just ‘how’ to work at love because we now have a science of bonding, and my team of clinicians, trainers, and researchers are proud to be part of this growing science.

In this world of easy hookups, cynical dismissal of loyalty and long term commitment, and the specter of loneliness casting its shadow wider and wider, it is clear that the world needs our message and our science.

I am so happy to celebrate my 30thwedding anniversary tomorrow and so hopeful that my children will have a clear road towards the safe and sound that is a loving partnership. I am also grateful for the many wonderful colleagues and the brave clients who are helping me build this road.

We can change the face of love in this century. What can possibly be more important than that?

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