When my parents sat me down to say, “We fell out of love,” I was less upset and more confused: Since when did love have an expiration date?
I was 9 years old when I became one of the 43 percent of children currently living with divorced parents. Up until I was six, I thought my parents were born married. I thought of marriage like the authors do in the book The Giver: Your spouse is pre-determined, a permanent fixture in your life that you can not “fall out of” whenever you choose.
Can true love end? Does it fall away from us as unexpectedly as we fall into it? How do we increase the guarantee that love will last? Or, do only 50 percent of couples have that luxury?
The point of today’s article is to get to the bottom of this word love.
Some women with divorced parents choose not to marry. They don’t believe in love, and many feel their biology predisposes them to divorce. Being the optimist that I am, I met my husband at 23. Six years later, I love my man more than I did when I saw him waiting at the end of the aisle. I’m not crossing my fingers and hoping I will feel the same way in another 6 or 60 years. Why?
Love is not a side effect of luck. Love is a posture.
If you’ve ever been to a yoga class, you know that posture is not only important but preventative. If my posture is off in a yoga pose, I will suffer the consequences not just days, but years later. If my posture is off in my marriage, I shouldn’t be surprised when the aches and surgery threats show up in my future.
Marriage surgery is not in my 5, 10 or 50-year plan so I’ve committed to learning the correct posture in love.
Three postures that PERMANENTLY StrengthEn LOVE:
#1. Posture Yourself to Learn: If I’m postured to learn, instead of being right, I don’t grab 95 percent of the bait that instigates petty fights. Think of your last argument: Was a degree of judgment, proving or pointing fingers involved? Notice the difference between curious learning and not-so-passive aggression:
“Why are you being so selfish?” versus “Hey, what did you mean when you said that?”
“How many times do I have to tell you to not stack the dishes like that!?” versus “Babe, what’s the benefit of washing them like that?”
#2. Posture Yourself to Be Proven Wrong: Since you are already postured to learn, let your partner prove you wrong. When I have an assumption about my husband (ie. I assume he will be late/ I assume he will forget an important date or time/ I assume he will betray me) I start treating him like my assumptions have already come true. An assumption, big or small, sets your relationship up for turmoil. Instead, surrender your expectations and let your partner prove your fears wrong.
If dating, this is a great way to pulse check your future: Is your partner changing and evolving or is (s)he addicted to negative patterns?
#3. Posture Yourself Second. This conjures up disturbing images of a submissive wife, but hear me out here. What if when your partner made a suggestion, you valued it above your own? What if when (s)he expressed a concern, you set your agenda aside to address their needs? Don’t mistake this for dismissing your needs. Au contraire!
When you value your partner’s needs you send an energetic message that says: I trust you. I value your needs above my own because I trust that you will do the same. I don’t have to control my agenda because I know that you are equally on my team. A “secondary” posture instigates a gorgeous competition between lovers, competing to out-serve each other.
In my soon to be published book, I Can’t Believe I Dated Him, I challenge women to learn from relationship rifts:
“What if every time you felt judgmental, you got curious? Why might he think he is right? Why do I think I’m so right? Is proving I’m right helping? Will you have to be courageously vulnerable to answer each question? Of course. Your ego grows from being right, but your relationship grows from being curious.”
Like in yoga, these postures build on each other. They build a foundation that makes your love grow in a strong and sustainable way. In the last chapter of the book, I address these overall “postures of curiosity” as the core concept of building healthy relationships. I’ve seen diverse degrees of relationship health (including mine) heal big and small rifts with a posture of curiosity.
I think “falling out of love” is more like falling out of curiosity. I am not referring to toxic, codependent, or abusive relationships. The key distinction is that relationships involve two people. Love requires both individuals practicing the postures together.
Curiosity is why young love is so exhilarating. There is so much you don’t know about this new person, but curiosity turns this stranger into a lover, into a partner, and finally into a spouse. The more you learn, the more you learn to love. If “falling in love” begins by following curiosity’s lead, what if staying in love begins by exploring the curious mystery waiting within a person you only can begin to comprehend?
* This Post is curated in conjunction with the ladies of The Refined Collective. Be sure and read the other articles on this highly covered yet wildly misrepresented topic, love: Brynn Watkins, Tutti del Monte, Tonya Kae, Go Fit Joe. Also, join us over on instagram today under #therefinedcollective to see what everyone else has to say about love.
Since I’m always looking to reach lovely ladies with a heart for courageous inner growth, choose one friend and send it her way. If you’d like to establish seven habits that build healthy love together, pre-order my new book on Amazon today.
May we heal fully, live freely and love boldly,
Amazon Best Selling Author & Certified Emotional Freedom Practitioner