“The thing is, we don't have enough examples of enduring love. When we watch movies and shows, usually we're watching the falling in love, because that’s dramatic. So it makes better TV and art. Rarely do we see examples of enduring love of people who don't give up so easily, of people who really put in the work to go through the various stages of life. Life is about transitions. And there’s very specific transitions in life that can cause a lot of problems for the human being. It's like transitioning from preteen to teen, from like a 10 year old to puberty, and then teenager to young adult, and then going into your 30s, and then going to your 50s. So we go through these stages of life and our needs. We all have the same needs, but the structure of our needs changes. What we need at 20 is not necessarily what we need at 50. Certain things are more important and certain things are less important, depending on stage of life.
Relationships go through stages of life as well. You have the falling in love stage, then you go into the committed stage. And that's a transition that many people struggle with. They'll say, ‘I don't get flowers anymore, they're not courting me anymore.’ Of course not, because that was that stage, now you're in this stage. It's not about courting, it's about having deeper conversations. It's about talking about where you're going to live. It's different. So I want to normalize some of these things, because a long-term relationship requires that we are able to stay present and committed through these stages.
“Relationships go through stages of life as well. You have the falling in love stage, then you go into the committed stage. And that's a transition that many people struggle with.”
Eric Fromm is well known for saying that love is a practice, it's not a feeling. So we wouldn't have philosophers and psychologists and ancient texts saying that love is a practice if it weren't something that we had to do in the face of difficulty. So you're going to have challenges. And you're not just going to have challenges that are between the two of you, you're going to be in a relationship with someone and they're having a challenge with their parent and you’re going to have to go through a lot together. This is why it's important to choose well. If you want a long-term relationship, you have to choose someone who's long-term relationship material.
Fighting is normal, very normal. John Gottman, who's a very well known psychologist and also relationship researcher, says all these things are normal and part of healthy partnership, but the predictor of divorce or breaking up is that you need to have at least twice as many good moments as you do the negative moments. So you have the negative moments, but the people who are happy in their relationships have a lot more positive moments. And, this is very important for people to understand, they work together to create more positive moments. They want to create more positive memories. They are committed and disciplined with each other to create more positive memories. You need positive memories for a relationship to be healthy, but that doesn't mean the absence of hardship. Hardship is a part of relationship. That's why love is a practice, not a feeling.”
Want more? This is an excerpt from a longer convo with Jillian Turecki — listen or watch here!