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

Dinosaur statues from defunct Dinotown theme park stolen in Chilliwack

The dinosaur figures once graced the theme park but were destined for Chilliwack fundraiser

Chilliwack Chiefs hope to become NHL draft picks

Five former or current Chiefs are on the NHL’s Central Scouting ranking of North American skaters.

Dinosaurs will reign at Sto:lo Children’s Festival

Jurassic Park theme takes over long-standing, free community event

Funding for new Chilliwack schools could drive up development costs

School Site Acquisition Costs could dramatically increase by almost 30 per cent

Chilliwack developer offering to build barn owl nesting boxes for free

Gore Brothers says anyone with a suitable building can help the threatened raptor

PHOTOS: Elusive ‘ghost whale’ surfaces near Campbell River

Ecotourism operator captures images of the rare white orca

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Langley’s oldest and last strip bar shuts its doors

The Alder Inn, in operation since 1957, has reportedly been purchased

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

B.C. church’s Pride flag defaced for second time in 12 days

Delta’s Ladner United Church says it will continue to fly the flag for Pride month

Update: Two shot, two arrested at Toronto Raptors victory rally

The team and several dignitaries, including Justin Trudeau, remained on stage

Oil and gas sector cautious as deadline on Trans Mountain decision nears

Trudeau government expected to announce whether it will approve pipeline for second time on Tuesday

Skipping school costs a dozen B.C. students chance at a new car

Cowichan’s Jared Lammi showed up and won $5,000 cheque toward vehicle, but he can’t drive

Most Read