14 February 2008

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?

My soulmate and I saw this kissing couple on a dimly-lit street corner near the Old Vic Theatre in London one late night November last year. They were kissing and hugging each other as if there was no tomorrow. How so? Well, we thought they kissed for more than 30 minutes! Yes, that long! "A new couple," we said....young and carefree with a burning love for each other so intense the freezing cold wintry air failed to put out.

Because good things never last, the main problem most couples face is how to sustain the passion and intensity of burning love. Most married couples I know stay together only for the sake of their children. Those who can't stand it eventually get a divorce or annul their marriages.

And we can't blame couples who call it quits. Those "irreconcilable differences" they cite as reasons for breaking up can range anywhere from third-party-involvement to simple boredom. Let's face it, the gloomy reality is that love fades. Romance fades. The sparks will fly only for a couple of months. After years of being together, the crippling monotony of routine will slowly snuff out the zest in any relationship. Like a plant that has been neglected for so long, it dies without the required sustenance it needs.

My favorite love quote comes from Captain Corelli's Mandolin: "When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake, and then it subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the desire to mate every second of the day. It is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every part of your body. No... don't blush. I am telling you some truths. For that is just being in love; which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over, when being in love has burned away. 'Doesn't sound very exciting, does it? But it is!"

What does Science say about this?
Most studies of love and marriage show that the decline of romantic love over time is inevitable. The butterflies of early romance quickly flutter away and are replaced by familiar, predictable feelings of long-term attachment.

But several experiments show that novelty — simply doing new things together as a couple — may help bring the butterflies back, recreating the chemical surges of early courtship.

"We don’t really know what’s going on in the brain, but as you trigger and amp up this reward system in the brain that is associated with romantic love, it’s reasonable to suggest that it’s enabling you to feel more romantic love," said the anthropologist Helen E. Fisher, of Rutgers, who has published several studies on the neural basis of romantic love. "You’re altering your brain chemistry."
[NYTimes, 12 Feb 2008]

There you go. There's Science's answer to a lasting relationship. It is very simple --- try something NEW regularly. And always do it TOGETHER. Love needs a trigger for sparks to fly again! Eat in a new restaurant. Watch a movie. Watch a concert. Learn a new dance step. Play a new sport. Engage in a new sport. Clean your house. Explore the world! And always, always do it TOGETHER. If you think about it, these activities were those things you often did when you were a new couple....and Voila! you will observe similar results as the tightly-embracing young couple on the left.

Always do something NEW together, and you will feel that your relationship seems always as young and as new as before. The question is....can you do that? Remember, your remaining Love for each other will be the motivation.

Happy Valentines to everybody!

4 reactions:

sofie said...

Hello Doc Emer!

Happy Valentines day!

rolly said...

Been married for 23 years and i think we are still going strong. Hopefully, we'll live by each other's side for the next fifty years.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Mari said...

"Love itself is what is left over."
I like this line.

Isis' Insights said...

Yeah i guess its like an earthquake when you're inLove but then what if the feelings remains? do you call it after shock? ^_^