Perspectives: Why romantic love makes sense

Society portrays romantic love as something outside of us, but every day we make choices to connect or disconnect from our romantic partner.

Dr. Sue Johnson has spent the last 30 years researching romantic relationships and working with couples to develop safe, meaningful, and long-term connections. Her latest book, Love Sense, explores the key practices of maintaining a romantic relationship. Based on scientific inquiry, Dr. Johnson clearly lays out the building blocks of a happy relationship. Our society sometimes portrays romantic love as something that happens outside of us, but every day we make choices to connect or disconnect from our romantic partner. We are biologically wired to bond, as infants, children, and as adults. The paradox of this is the more securely bonded we are, the more independent it allows us to be.

In romantic relationships, the falling in love stage consists of gazing into each other’s eyes, and talking away about everything little thing from our past and current lives.

This connecting process, often called attachment, is one that occurs across all of our relationships but is most notable and powerful in parent-child and romantic bonds. Indeed, in our closest relationships it takes on an importance that approaches the need for oxygen.

The central question in a relationship is “can I count on you?”

Whether it’s a baby crying for a parent, or a spouse feeling overwhelmed about a work situation, we look for the important people in our lives to support us in a responsive and consistent way. Love needs warmth and support to thrive, not criticism and negativity.

If we can turn to our partner and be reassured, this is a good sign.

The therapy co-created by Dr. Johnson is called Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) and uses the attachment model and emotional attunement to heal relationships. Attunement is the process of feeling and understanding what our partner is feeling, and our belief they are engaged in what we are feeling.

Start improving your relationship by taking advantage of the small opportunities to connect and mend the everyday crossed wires that are inevitable.  Dr. Johnson identifies the three main elements of a secure bond as being accessible and engaged, and responding to our partner’s emotions with comfort and caring (as in, not texting or watching TV when your partner is upset). These elements, when accompanied by us recognizing and communicating our own emotions can transform communication.

Every relationship worth having is worth working on, and no relationship so positive or negative that it can’t improve. For more information, read Sue Johnson’s books “Hold Me Tight”, and “Love

Sense”. The Building Healthy Relationships workshops in our community are a terrific way to work on skill-building with your partner.

Offered several times a year, the series includes one based entirely on Dr. Johnson’s.  Check out buildinghealthyrelationships.net for the workshop schedule.

Marie Amos, MA, RCC, is a Mental Health Therapist with Child and Youth Mental Health of MCFD, Chilliwack.

Just Posted

Search dogs and handlers on their way to Chilliwack

Missing man’s mom said she is very appreciative of the incredible support Chilliwack has shown

OPINION: The paradox of tolerance in an open society

Why a post-WWII philospher’s recognition that unlimited tolerance of intolerance is dangerous

Heather’s Hope Chest offers Chilliwack women and girls a helping hand

The new ‘free store’ for vulnerable women and girls provides them with household items at no charge

Rainbow crosswalk count will rise to 16 in Chilliwack

So far 11 rainbows are painted and five planned, all since council denied the first proposal in September

Brother of Chilliwack homicide victim killed in Surrey on Remembrance Day

Andrew Baldwin shot on Nov. 11, three weeks after Keith Baldwin shot in downtown Chilliwack

VIDEO: B.C. to restrict nicotine content, bring in 20% tax on vaping products

Province will also restrict candy and fruit flavoured vaping products to adult-only stores

Seguin lifts surging Stars to 4-2 win over Canucks

Dallas is 6-0-1 in last seven outings

B.C. government working with RCMP to address $10 million in budget cuts

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issues statement following report of RCMP cost-cutting

UPDATE: Metro Vancouver bus drivers to refuse overtime as transit strike escalates

Overtime ban could disrupt 10-15 per cent of bus service in Metro Vancouver

‘City that protects rapists’: Sexual assault survivor slams Kelowna mayor for defending RCMP

Heather Friesen spent the morning handing out flyers around city hall calling out the mayor

South Surrey man and city settle beef over backyard cow

Asad Syed, who kept a calf on his property last year, met City of Surrey in court Tuesday

Batten down the hatches: Wet and windy weekend on the way for coastal B.C.

Environment Canada issues special weather warning for Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island

BC Liquor Stores to move fully to paper bags by March

Vancouver Island to be the first to convert to paper bags in November

Tolko shuts B.C. divisions for two weeks over holidays

Head office to close from Dec. 23-27; two weeks’ downtime runs Dec. 21-Jan. 6

Most Read