The Beatles were wrong in their lyrics “All you Need is Love.” because that’s only true for the first 6 through 9 years. Love makes the beginning of relationships so wonderfully, gloriously CERTAIN. Love keeps us drunk with certainty.
It’s Tina that knows the truth.
Beginnings are the hardest part of all new things. Uncertainty is ready to pounce & squelch any new enthusiasm. This summer, I experienced this after the first day of a hand drumming class. My hands hurt, it was so fast that I got confused about the beat and I bailed. Beginnings are tiresome, just ask anyone single, who’s dating.
So the purpose of love is that it offers delicious certainty so we don’t give up too easily. It’s the grease to keep us going.
Love is in part an illusion that makes us sooo happy we forget the hard work ahead of us. Then the illusions disappear often, in years 6 to 10. It’s a developmental stage (like teething) to wonder “What am I doing with this person?” It’s important to hang in there because that’s when the real work begins if longevity is important.
We attach ourselves to people with opposite energies. Someone more skeptical bordering on cynical will be attracted to someone more positive & idealistic. This is true because the skeptic is hungry for the other side of things to be more whole as a person. We require both the yin & the yang.
Then 6 to 10 years down the road we are sick of the pollyanna positive energy or our opposites. A troubled relationship often means you have 3 choices;
1. See this as an opportunity to build a real infrastructure of substance
2. Ignore the possibility of growth & swallow the discomfort until it remerges many years later with an affair or because the kids are grown & gone or
3. Leave because it’s the easier thing to do & you might be hungry for the delicious certainty of love with someone else instead of all the hard work ahead
Infrastructure is about restoring respect. Respect is more important than love down the road. People get divorced when they’ve lost respect for each other.
Infrastructure is about being authentic & learning to talk about hard things. You want to be most real with the person you love the most. Learn how to have real dialogues with each other and explain your feelings & their context.
Infrastructure means you will grow and change because someone influences you to be a better person, to do the hard thing or to make a sacrifice.
There is a 50% divorce rate because so many couples do not recognize the uncertain yuck in a relationship can be an important developmental stage. It’s an opportunity to plunge into making a relationship real like the Velveteen Rabbit. The seven year itch is really an invitation to learn how to get things right in your relationship.