What makes relationships lasts.

Just saw a short video of  Helen Fisher, biological anthropologist and author of “Anatomy of Love,” put happy couples in long-term relationships into brain scanners. The results gave her an insight into what makes a relationship last.

She said the key to long happiness in a relationship is:

  1. Have empathy for the other person
  2. Control your stress and emotions
  3. Positive Illusions – The simple ability to overlook what you don’t like about somebody and focus on what you do like.

I would like emphasis on each one of these points based on my experiences.

In a relationship, one is always at the mercy of the other partner and vice versa. It is said “Those have most power to hurt you is the one you love”.

When one shows up in a relationship because he/she truly love the other person,  they have decided to surrender all of themselves. They have brought down their protective walls.  They decided they will be vulnerable and will risk everything. To truly know what the other person in the relationship is risking, walk in their shoes, see thru their eyes and feel thru their heart. Empathy is patiently and sincerely seeing the world thru the other person’s eyes. There would be times the other person is needy or looking for your presence or response. This is not about being insecure due to a past experience. This is about needing assurance because they are vulnerable. A person in a relationship has to create a secure and assuring environment for the other. This is where a partner’s empathy comes in to see what they see and live with.

Controlling one’s stress and emotions is critical to a relationship. Any emotions filled with negative chatter from the mind, creates bad emotions with a desire to take an action which is destructive.  This action could be speaking words which hurt or words of accusation or just doing something behind the other’s back.

We all have past experiences which are hurtful and not pleasant. Since these are the past experience, no doubt a mind will use these as a commentary when you feel any emotions. Let’s say you feel an emotion of missing your partner.  With added commentary from the mind , this could become a negative emotion of jealousy. Jealously is in essence, an emotional insecurity. With that, anger and distrust emotions follow. With that, you, the physical person, take on the role of the bad emotions and you then take actions of with maybe judging the other person.

Now why would the emotion of missing someone become something else?  You see the mind wants to justify every emotions that you feel. The mind only has the past and an assumed predictable future to make this justification. The mind never lives in the “NOW”. It is time based. So mind’s commentary could be “you are missing this person and he/she  is doing something bad. Remember the last time you were missing a person you loved, and he/she was with another person behind you”. Now you feel a new emotion, which is distrust and anger. Now the mind tells you to call him/her to ask interrogating questions and tell him/her  that he/she is doing something wrong. That would be a destructive action as I said earlier. Some people might say this is a protective instinct. The reason this instinct is coming, is already a bad sign. I had my partner tell me I am not home or I am with someone else whereas  I was completely doing something different. They are so sure what, that they believe in what their mind tells them. It is scary when the mind is in control.

Finally the simple ability to overlook what you don’t like about somebody and focus on what you do like. This is the simple fact of seeing the good in the person you are in a relationship with. Instead of thinking what is not there, appreciate what is there. You might not have the person who is best in reading the same book as you, but makes your happiness his/her priority.  Also you won’t see the good if not for the bad. Be thankful for the bad things in life. For they open your eyes to the good things you weren’t paying attention to before. Remember to see the good in others, we must first learn to see the good in ourselves. People who teach themselves to see the good in others tend to be more positive and experience happiness more deeply.

At the end of the day you have to remember this: A relationship rarely has two strong people at the same time. It is two people in a relationship taking turns to be strong for each other in the moments when the other feels weak. I always believed there is never two people loving each other equally at the same time. Some days one loves more then the other. Don’t be afraid to be the one who loves the most. One day you will need more of that love from the other.

Gill

 

 

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