By Chandrama Anderson
Couples and Premarital: How Do You Define Love?Uploaded: Feb 26, 2021
Here's a definition of love by Anne Isaacs and Joel Isaacs that I find resonate and helpful. What do you think of it? If you think, feel or see that it makes sense to you, how may it inform your behavior and therefore your relationship?
"Love is not an instinct that rises up in us, and love is not an emotion. Feelings always come and go, and we would not normally make a long-term commitment based on a feeling we know is temporary. Love encompasses acceptance, compassion, and empathy, and loving someone will help us to open our own heart. A fuller, deeper, more useful idea of love knows it as an act of will, a choice, a decision, a promise even. The practice of love is perhaps best understood as the will to extend oneself for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another person's spiritual growth. A loving relationship requires us to extend ourselves, to commit to open and honest expression and communication. It requires us both to show and to expect: care, affection, respect, responsibility, commitment, and trust. Love is as love does.
How might a view of love as an action and an intention help individuals in a relationship or those that are seeking one? They could begin by seeing loving as a practice of putting their partner's interests on an equal footing with their own. They would understand that work and challenges will be involved if they are to maintain and deepen the connection made possible their original connection. They might even come to see the appearance of difficulties as a possible sign that their relationship is maturing, for only in the embrace of intimacy is there space for early wounds to surface. There they are given the opportunity for healing each other's early wounds. They might even be able to recognize their struggles in this relationship as helping them to become the person they longingly hope to be (pg. 76-77, Couples and Body Therapy, Haworth Press, 2001)."
If you've been following Connect2 Marriage Counseling's Couples Blog, then you know that secure attachment is what couples are seeking, longing, and biologically wired to want and need. Adult secure attachment consists of: attunement (hear me, respond to what I say [not what you heard, give empathy to me); I know you've got my back no matter what; we seek comfort from each other; we seek sex from each other; we create a home that is a haven and gives us strength to face everything outside our door).
The Isaacs' definition of love falls squarely into secure attachment. If you want to learn how to enact love such as this, please see my reading list, especially Three Top Books for a Tip Top Couple.