Why love is simply not enough to make it.
I tell my clients that simply “being in love” isn’t enough to fix all of their problems. Unfortunately, love doesn’t conquer all. With a 52% divorce rate in this country, couples needs more tools besides love in order to make relationships sustainable. Things like attraction, similar interests and values, support systems, courtesy and acceptance. You can go to your grave loving someone but if you can’t live with them them relationships are doomed. So what can you do? There is a great article by Mark Manson (http://markmanson.net/love/) talking about why this adage is oh-so-true.
Manson calls them three harsh truths about love:
1. Love does not equal compatibility. Just because you fall in love with someone doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a good partner for you to be with over the long term. Love is an emotional process; compatibility is a logical process. And the two don’t bleed into one another very well.
2. Love does not solve your relationship problems. My first girlfriend and I were madly in love with each other. We also lived in different cities, had no money to see each other, had families who hated each other, and went through weekly bouts of meaningless drama and fighting. Unsurprisingly, that relationship burst into flames and crashed like the Hindenburg being doused in jet fuel. The break up was ugly. And the big lesson I took away from it was this: while love may make you feel better about your relationship problems, it doesn’t actually solve any of your relationship problems.
3. Love is not always worth sacrificing yourself. One of the defining characteristics of loving someone is that you are able to think outside of yourself and your own needs to help care for another person and their needs as well.
But the question that doesn’t get asked often enough is exactly what are you sacrificing, and is it worth it?
I used to teach a pre-marriage course with the United Church of Canada. I spoke of the 5 reasons that most people get divorced. They are being absent (physically, emotionally, workaholic), sex and sexual infidelity, conflicts about money, division of labor (read: housework), and interfering or conflicting extended families. never was that the couple in question didn’t love each other.
There is nothing more exciting than a new relationship. That love-sick feeling lifts you up and sends you spinning. But as I remind people in new relationships “it’s simply chemicals and you mustn’t make any life altering decisions for the first 9 to 15 months.” So enjoy the feelings. We are all envious about the excitement. But find a selection committee and listen to them. Do some due diligence. Investigate this relationship. Because listen up, love is simply not enough to make it.