From Dr. Jane's Notebook

Whatís so special about "love"?

            Like many aspects of life, love and marriage are always easier on the way in than on the way out. Driven by our most basic instincts, love can either be a great power surge or a black-out. While falling in love is a glorious adventure, falling out of love is like getting lost in a jungle. And while the process of coming together is a swift and creative blending of ingredients, the process of moving apart is like dividing the last piece of cake. No matter how you cut it, itís gonna crumble! Looking for lifelong love? Here are a few suggestions.

        CommunicationÖ the elusive butterfly. Ask almost anyone what they are looking for in a relationship and you will most likely hear the word communication. When couples fall in love, they usually credit their ability to communicate. When couples get into trouble, they usually blame their inability to communicate. As such, those who seek love must realize that communication is an essential, but fragile part of the process.

        Why is it so difficult to communicate? We humans are a sensitive breed. We long to communicate and we abhor being criticized. We open up to each other slowly and carefully but recoil at the slightest sign of danger. We long to open up our private selves and be received in full appreciation but as we expose those innermost layers, we feel vulnerable. We share our thoughts as treasured gifts only when we feel that those gifts will be safely preserved.

        Donít shoot meÖIím only the communicator. Words are notorious for getting people in trouble. In an ideal world, the truthful expression of oneís thoughts and feelings would be valued for their honesty above all. But words can be hurtful and accusations leave scars. The free-flow of words is usually not free at all; it can carry a heavy price if misinterpreted. We must be careful to insure that the message being received is the message we intended. If your partnerís facial expression changes in an unexpected way, the message they received may not be the message you were trying to send. Similarly, if the conversation suddenly comes to a halt, you may want to backtrack to clarify a possible misunderstanding.

        The key to accurate communication: Practice, practice, practice. Even after years of love or friendship, it is unacceptable to become careless in the way we speak to one another. Even after years of love and friendship, it is still easy to hurt each otherís feelings permanently. To avoid miscommunication, both speaker and listener have a responsibility to clarify what was said and what was heard. Donít be afraid to think before you speak and take time to cool off before responding when angry. 

            During this month, Valentineís Day will once again decorate our lives with hearts of pink and red, inviting millions of people to question whether they are loved, why they are not loved, or send them scurrying in the pursuit of love. Many do believe that love should be as simple as a directive from cupidís arrow. But those who live inside of love know that it is not as simple as saying the words I Love You. Love is not an achievement nor a plaque on the wall, but a lifestyle which must be nurtured on a daily basis with lively conversation and expert communication.

©Copyright, 2006, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.

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