Romantic Love Can Last

by Brett & Kate McKay on August 9, 2011 · 45 comments

in Dating, Marriage, Relationships & Family

Love. Whether in the form of poems, moony songs, philosophical treatises, romantic notes, or angry letters, no aspect of human life has had quite so much ink spilled over it. It has since time immemorial been a driving force of life, and for just as long remained utterly mysterious, an experience that could be mused over but not truly understood.

But in the last decade, scientists have finally gotten to peer into the neurological nature of love by scanning the brains of those in the throes of it. These scans have confirmed what anyone who has fallen head over heels has experienced firsthand: love is a wild and woolly ride.

As it turns out, your brain reacts to love the same way it reacts to cocaine. So you weren’t nuts to feel addicted to your beloved nor the physical pain of withdrawal when she left you. Love lights up the reward centers of your brain and douses them in dopamine, as well as serotonin and oxytocin. These neural fireworks set off feelings of euphoria, pleasure, craving, recklessness, and obsession.

So when you’re smitten, you’re literally flying high. But the high can’t last, and it isn’t designed to. Or so it was thought.

Researchers theorized that intense romantic love was only a temporary stage designed to make mate selection more efficient, and that once this powerful force brought two people together, it inevitably mellowed into attachment or “companionate love,” a stage that develops as time passes and the couple’s lives become intertwined. As opposed to the intensity of romantic love, companionate love is marked by a happy togetherness and a comfortable stability that is designed to keep the couple together to raise their children.

And indeed, that progression from romantic to companionate love can be observed in the majority of the population. When researchers looked at the brains of those who had been together for years, the scans confirmed their theory; the regions that used to light up with romantic love had dimmed and been replaced by activity in the centers for long-term attachment and pair-bonding. Passionate, romantic love, researchers concluded, had an average shelf-life of about 12-18 months–up to four years at the absolute most.

But what about the elderly couple holding hands that your girlfriend points at and says, “Aww, I want to be like them?” The couples who claim to still be head over heels for each other even after a few decades together? Are they lying? Fooling themselves? Is it possible to thwart evolutionary destiny?

Romantic Love Can Last

In 2010, researchers conducted a study to answer those questions. They brought in 17 people who claimed to still be in love with their spouses, with whom they had been with an average of 21 years, and scanned their brains with a functional MRI machine while each participant gazed at a picture of his or her beloved.

What they found surprised them; in key ways, the participants’ brains looked very similar to the brains of those who had just recently fallen in love. The important reward and motivation regions of their gray matter still lit up in the very same way.

They were not identical, however. Regions of the brain that are associated with anxiety and fear, which are active in the newly smitten, did not light up in those who had been with their partner a long time. These longer-term couples were still in love, but they were no longer afraid of losing or being separated from their partner—the fear of being dumped had passed. Instead, not only were the attachment and pair-bonding regions active, just as they were in the long-term companionate love couples, the regions associated with pleasure and pain-relief–opiate-rich sites that are also activated by primary rewards like morphine–lit up as well.

In other words, those who were still passionately in love after decades in a relationship enjoyed the intensity of romantic love, coupled with the stable attachment of companionate love, without the anxiety and obsession that accompanies new love, and with the added bonus of natural painkillers. A pretty nice state to be in, no?

Of course plenty of people are happy with just companionate love. Years with their spouse have forged a solid friendship and a comfortable groove between them.

Certainly there’s nothing wrong with companionate love; if it keeps you together and you’re happy, then great. And yet there are certainly compelling reasons to seek something beyond simply “good enough:”

Love is the grease in the gears of life. There are two central drivers of the actions we take in life: love and duty. Both are important, but love is the higher motivation and the one that makes life, and our relationships, easy and joyful.

In college I had an acquaintance I was not particularly fond of who called me late one night; he was at the airport an hour away and his ride had fallen through…could I come pick him up? I did so. But I went out the door grumbling and grumbled all the way to the airport. A few years later, when Kate and I were dating, she called me with the same request. It was even later at night. But this time I went rushing out the door and smiled the whole way. What was the difference? Duty versus love. Picking up Kate didn’t even slightly register as an inconvenience.

The sage William George Jordan puts the difference so well:

“Duty is forced, like a pump; love is spontaneous, like a fountain. Duty is prescribed and formal; it is part of the red tape of life. It means running on moral rails.

Analyze, if you will, any of the great historic instances of loyalty to duty, and whenever they ring true you will find the presence of the real element that made the act almost divine. It was duty—plus love.

Duty is a hard, mechanical process for making men do things that love would make easy. It is a poor understudy to love. It is not a high enough motive with which to inspire humanity. Duty is the body to which love is the soul. Love, in the divine alchemy of life, transmutes all duties into privileges, all responsibilities into joys.

The workman who drops his tools at the stroke of twelve, as suddenly as if he had been struck by lightning may be doing his duty—but he is doing nothing more. No man has made a great success of his life or a fit preparation for immortality by doing merely his duty. He must do that—and more. If he puts love into his work, the ‘more’ will be easy.”

When you remain deeply in love with someone, your responsibilities and obligations to them flow naturally and spontaneously. The more love in your relationship, the more grease there is on the gears of life, and the smoother things go in all areas of it. Lose that grease, and the gears must grind it out. Many people have said that marriage is hard. But this has not been my experience at all. Marriage has been easy. Truly.

Faithfulness Boost. This is related to the above point. The more the gears dryly grind together, the greater the chance of the machine breaking down.

Prairie voles are generally monogamous and mate with a lifelong partner. When they pair off, the dopamine in their brains increases by 50%, which solidifies this bond. But when they are injected with a chemical that blocks the production of dopamine, they’ll readily dump their partner to mate with others.

Of course humans aren’t prairies voles; when love and dopamine dry up, duty stands in as a safety net to keep us together. But far better never to have to endure that temptation and test that safety net by keeping our brains soaked with the chemicals of love.

Increased confidence and strength. When you first fell in love with your girl, did you feel like there was nothing in the world you couldn’t do? Did you feel awesome about yourself and ready to take on endeavors that used to seem daunting?

There’s a reason for that. Love de-activates regions within the amygdala that are associated with fear, increasing your confidence and willingness to take risks. Love buoys you up and makes you feel ready to take on the world. Men have done many a great thing in the name of love.

How to Make Love Last

So romantic love can last forever. This can either be validating or depressing news, depending on the current state of your relationship. As Dr. Arthur Aron, co-author of the study that proved the possible longevity of romantic love put it, “This is not something long term couples want to hear. Nobody wants to hear about couples doing better than they are. We all like to believe we’re the best.”

But if the passions of your relationship have cooled, there’s no need to simply mope about it. There are things you can do to heat things back up and keep the fires of romantic love burning. Romantic love is fueled by the release of dopamine, so one of the keys to sustaining it is to keep that chemical flowing. Here are a few ways to do that, along with other tips researchers have given for keeping romantic love strong.

1. Pick the right woman. Obviously the most important factor of all! The easiest way to keep the flame burning is to start with a roaring fire, and simply tend to it rather than having to poke at a cold bed of ashes for the next 50 years. When you get hitched, make sure she’s the one.

2. Keep things going in the bedroom. Dr. Aron’s studies have shown that the frequency of sex is a big factor in keeping romantic love alive. The couples in his study who were still madly in love after two decades together had sex an average of 2.2 times a week. That’s above the national average, but still a very attainable goal for any couple.

Of course this is a bit of the chicken and egg argument; do couples who are still in love have more sex, or does having more sex make them more in love? Likely it works in tandem, with one begetting the other.

3. Be a Married Master Mind. The biggest key to lasting love, Aron has found, is how much the partners in a relationship help each other expand their sense of self. We should look for a partner that helps us “increase our store of ideas, experiences, skills, interests and resources in order to accomplish an ever evolving set of goals.” This is what we discussed in our post about becoming a Married Master Mind. This concept is incredibly important–be sure to check out that article and really think it over.

4. Idealize each other. Studies have shown that the happiest couples are those who see each other in the best possible light. This is a matter of attitude, and something you can work on changing today. Spend less time dwelling on the things she does that annoy you, and more time recognizing all the good she does, all the things you love about her. Kate and I still say to each other, “You’re perfect.” Clearly, neither of us is. But we still sometimes see each other in that generous light.

5. Keep a sense a humor. Laughing is a sure-fire way to release dopamine, and I credit it as a big part of the success of our marriage. We make each other laugh every day, and even when we fight, we have trouble sustaining a proper angry face without dissolving into fits of laughter and the realization that whatever we were fighting about was pretty dumb.

6. Keep things fresh. Enjoying new experiences together will release dopamine and bring back the butterflies you felt when you first started dating. You’ve probably experienced this when you’ve gone on vacation with your partner; you likely felt those old romantic feelings surge again. It wasn’t just because you got away from work and the kids, but because you were doing something new and different, which turned on the dopamine faucet. You don’t have to go on a cruise to get this effect though. Instead of doing the same old thing for date night, try a new restaurant, visit a museum you’ve never been to before, or find a new trail to hike.

{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Haden August 9, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Brilliant article. Something to work for, and look forward to.

2 John August 9, 2011 at 6:33 pm

What a wonderful post, it truly fills one with hope and joy!

3 Brandon August 9, 2011 at 6:58 pm

As (in no small part to AoM’s helpful advice) I’m getting married in October, this is great news!

4 Edward August 9, 2011 at 7:30 pm

I’m an anthropology student and romantic love is my major topic of interest. It’s another amazing thing that humans are capable of. I’m glad to see another great article devoted to the topic!

5 Todd Wente August 9, 2011 at 7:38 pm

Having been married for 21 years, I can offer this thought. . . the post is right on. . .

6 Jason August 9, 2011 at 7:59 pm

Great post, I really mean it… but it dug up a lot of old woulds and now I want to kill myself. Sorry to be such a downer. Don’t mind me, and keep up the great work.

7 Andrew August 10, 2011 at 12:10 am

Jason, You need to find some help. Suicide is not the way to go. You need to find someone you can talk to about your suicidal thoughts. I will put my name forward if you need to talk to someone. Send Brett an email and I’m sure he will pass my email off to you.

Brett and Kate, on that note I really think you need to write an article on suicide. Something that men (and women) should be comfortable asking is: “Are you thinking of committing suicide?” For some reason suicide seems to be taboo, which it should not be.

I was also wondering if you could include some sources when you write your articles. I am particularly interested in psychology, so I am interested in learning more about this particular article. I am sure that sources cited in other articles would allow readers interested in those topics to learn more as well.

Thanks,
Andrew

8 Steve Harrington August 10, 2011 at 12:19 am

Splendid article. And for me, affirming instead of depressing. I’ve been married 34 years and I’m still madly in love with my main squeeze.

I would say this: If you want to know if you’re still romantically in love with your wife, ask yourself if you love her more than your kids, or if it’s the other way around. If you love your kids more, you’re in companionate love. If you love her more, it’s romantic love.

9 JeffC (Tool Bucket) August 10, 2011 at 12:47 am

For some reason suicide seems to be taboo, which it should not be.

Andrew, I think you mean to say that talking about suicide should not be taboo. As written, you’re suggesting that suicide as an act should find more societal acceptance. I’m against that.

Good article, McKays: is there anything on this site written solely by Kate? I’m sure we could benefit from her perspective.

10 Jack August 10, 2011 at 2:01 am

Hey Brett and Kate check it out:

Askmen.com’s article on Manhood by Ian Lang just blasted your site in its intro.

I mentioned this because i figured it would at least interest you if not incite a rebuttal.

Btw great post as always.

11 Tirso August 10, 2011 at 2:35 am

Great article, as usual – good stuff to hear. I find that every time I drift away from regular visits here, I come back out of the blue and get a slew of timely articles relevant to my situation. – thanks! I like hearing the science behind this stuff too, and I second the request for sources – in all of your articles.

12 John Roberts August 10, 2011 at 3:00 am

Dear Jack,

I just read the article on Askmen.com, and I don’t think that it’s anything that you or I or Brett have to worry about. Askmen and AoM are two different sites catered to two different kind of people. I believe that this site caters to a more thoughtful kind of man: one who can think objectively. Askmen? I don’t know what they’re out for… money?

To rebut but just one point: while Askmen tells us in this very article that “ninjas are manly,” the author criticizes our “generic site” for “expounding upon the benefits of shaving with a safety razor.” I think that it’s safe to say that while neither razors nor ninjas are truly and to the core interests that define masculinity, one of these definitely has more value to men than the other.

Reading a men’s interst article and adopting its theme as a personal value will not turn you into a man, but, that said, I’m going to back up AoM and conclude that this site here has much more quality articles that are relevant to men than Askmen.com.

13 Luma August 10, 2011 at 6:37 am

Great article and very inspiring and affirming.

14 Darren August 10, 2011 at 7:45 am

A few observations from a guy who just celebrated his 27th anniversary:

I’d change nothing, Team McKay. Nicely done.

As far as choosing the right woman, this is absolutely true, but there is more to it that than. I have friends who are East Indian who have been married for decades who were in arranged marriages. I am not an advocate for this, but I can say they have interesting perspectives.

They know from the start that there is going to be work to be done. The concept is to build a relationship based on common goals. All of them (well, the three couples I know) say love came later. The idea of falling head-over-heels in love is looked upon as nice but unnecessary.

I think there’s a lot to be learned from them. The best of both worlds is to fall madly in love and then work to build a new life together based on common goals. Romantic love is awesome, but it alone cannot sustain a relationship.

The statistics on infidelity are scary to me. Yeah, we’re primates and are unnaturally monogamous, but we have the ability to choose. That’s what makes us humans. I can’t say that in 27 years I haven’t been in a position where I was tempted, but I have always chosen to walk away, because I made a promise to do so. It’s about respect for your wife, your vows, and indeed, all women. You honor them by being faithful.

A good indicator of a healthy physical relationship is directly correlated with the number of times your kids say “Eew, gross…” when they’re little, and “Geeze, get a room!” when they’re older.

DB

Re: Askmen.com — if they’re trashing you, it means you’re on they’re radar and they feel threatened. I’d send them flowers for the free advertising.

15 JonathanL August 10, 2011 at 7:54 am

Very good article. My wife and I have been together for nine years, and I’ve stopped waiting for that point when the love fades or the passion dies. It’s not the same as when we first got together, of course, but as the article suggests, the passionate love and the companionate love intertwine to create a pretty powerful bond. I actually came across our old love letters the other day and while they’re kind of embarrassing, they also reminded me of how I still feel the same.

Another thing that builds love is children. We only have the one, but seeing your partner as a parent strengthens that bond more than I would have thought.

16 James August 10, 2011 at 8:40 am

Women always say that they want romance, but the sacred “right” to vent over and over at length and to use that sharp tongue on the man’s heart kills it quicker than anything.

17 Daktari Frank August 10, 2011 at 9:12 am

Grt stuff. I stil hv many yrs 2marriage bt i culd use te advice now since am in the ‘choosing stage’. Abt askmen thrashing Aom-they r gettin threatened, or shuld i say scared? Leave them alone.

18 Sean August 10, 2011 at 9:23 am

Steve Harrington said “I would say this: If you want to know if you’re still romantically in love with your wife, ask yourself if you love her more than your kids, or if it’s the other way around. If you love your kids more, you’re in companionate love. If you love her more, it’s romantic love.”

Interesting, but somehow the idea of trying to attach quantities to love (particularly in attempting to evaluate ones close family) is a bit grisly to me. Would it be wrong to just say you love your wife AND kids, period- just in different ways? =)

Excellent article.

19 Paul Worcester August 10, 2011 at 10:03 am

Great article, McKay team! My ‘evil editor eye’ only has one suggestion, which would be to change ‘sense a humor’ to ‘sense -of- humor’, but that’s minor. A wonderful read without a doubt as always.

I wanted to share some wisdom that was imparted to me as a young man in, of all places, a high school geometry class. The teacher was a wonderful man by the name of Frank Wyatt, who sadly has left the mortal coil and no longer imparts wisdom upon young minds. Mr. Wyatt, during the last several minutes of class, after he had finished explaining the wonders of geometry would often speak on topics of equal or greater worth. He left us with a simple bit of wisdom one day, which I will attempt to paraphrase. “Young people of the world… Realize a simple fact… Men and women think differently. This is not to say that women are wrong in their thinking, or that men are wrong in their thinking. Quite the opposite. Each sex has their own way of looking at things. Embrace this fact! When you’re unable to understand something, ask for a different point of view. Ask for the point of view of a member of the opposite sex. THIS is one of the most important things to realize in dating or marriage when you have differences of opinion. Neither of you are wrong, you just have different viewpoints.” This wisdom has kept my marriage strong for almost 10 years. My wife and I don’t argue. We accept that each other has a valuable different view on the matter. This leads to one of the hallmarks of a good relationship: Respect.

My wife and I have been employees for the same company for 5+ years. We commute back and forth to work each morning, and take lunch break at the same time every day with our mutual friends and co-workers. I leave you now to head upstairs to her office. Perhaps if today’s rain has stopped, we’ll go for a walk together ‘around the block’.

Have a wonderful day everyone.

20 Jacob Layton August 10, 2011 at 12:09 pm

This is a very timely article for me, in that I’m currently in a relationship where romantic love is abound. The beauty of it is, we started out as the best of friends, so it’s created a wonderful dynamic. The trouble is, we are currently hundreds of miles apart, as I’ve started at a new school, and she’s about to finish up where I was before. Can anyone offer me any advice on how to keep the flame of love alive at such great distances, without coming across as needy, or smothering her with messages every waking hour? I feel as though that is what i’ve done in the last few days, and any help to guide me through the happy balance is greatly appreciated.

Jacob

21 claude August 10, 2011 at 12:11 pm

@ Jason

suicide is NEVER the right answer. No matter how much it feels the world is against you, there are people that love you and care about you and you will hurt them deeply if you take your own life. I lost a brother to suicide. He was nearly 50, lived alone, and had some serious demons. But on top of it all, he felt no one cared about him. If only he could have had a picture of the people who showed up to his services and the emotions they felt, he would have known better.

22 claude August 10, 2011 at 12:16 pm

This is a great article. I’ve been in marital bliss for 16 years and these tips all ring true.

btw, Askmen.com is Cosmo for men. Its pretty superficial and shallow. I visited that site regularly for several months. Its so far from my view of what manliness is, that I started searching for a better source, and that lead me to THIS website. So Im thankful to Askmen.com for pushing me to a real man’s website.

23 Evan M August 10, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Funny that askmen.com would bash AoM when they made it a manly site of the day back in 2009 (http://www.askmen.com/daily/sites/2009_jun/jun24.html).

Keep up the great work AoM.

24 w. adam mandelbaum esq. August 10, 2011 at 12:24 pm

I’ll be the fly in this happy ointment. I have practiced divorce law for thirty years in New York, and while I agree romantic love can last a long time, it seems to require a change of objects quite frequently. I am reminded of what Oscar Wilde said…
“The only difference between a caprice and a lifelong romance is that a caprice lasts a little longer.”
Pick the right woman is the same advice as pick the right stock. Sounds great, now do it. I wonder how many of the comment makers here will be divorced in the next five years, or find out that either they or their spouse has been cheating.

25 claude August 10, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Wow, Madelbaum. Way to live up to the stereotypes of your profession.

Your statements are a little like an auto mechanic saying “don’t buy a car, cause they just break down” isn’t it?

“Pick the right woman is the same advice as pick the right stock”? Someone could read alot into you making a statement like that. Maybe that’s why you have such a poor perception of marriage.

26 Josh August 10, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Great article! I’m still in the “raging fire” of dating, but hopefully she’ll be the right woman, and hopefully I can keep these suggestions in mind.

@ Jacob

I’m in the same boat as you, we were great friends who now find us in the throes of the romantic game, but we’re 5000 miles apart (New York to Alaska), go figure. I think it is different for every relationship, but we keep the flames stoked by smothering each other with messages all day. She’s four hours off of my time, but I make sure that from the time she’s awake to the time that she’s asleep, that she knows how much I love her and how beautiful she is (which also reminds me, even when I can’t see her, how much I love her and how beautiful she is). Sometimes it’s just a text or an IM every couple hours or sometimes it’s chatting at length, and, oh, we also do our best to video chat every day, understanding we’re going to miss a couple days here and there (never more than once a week). Basically, just do your best to spend time with her, just like you would if you were in the same place, you just adjust for the distance.

27 Greg August 10, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Great article! We are coming up on our 20th anniversary this year. We should “major” in our spouses, so I agree that we should be “students” of them and – study, study study. I also agree that if you look for the bad in someone you will surely find it, so we should see each other in the best possible light!
Thanks AoM!

28 CoffeeZombie August 10, 2011 at 3:20 pm

I’m glad to see the point about humor. My wife specifically pointed that one out a while back as something we needed to work on. As she put it, we used to joke around, poke fun at each other, etc. when we were dating, and she missed that.

Also, I remember hearing somewhere that it’s apparently a horrible idea to laugh during sex. Bullshit. I dunno…maybe this was something directed at women (the concern being the dude’s gonna think she’s laughing at him). Still…load of bull.

As far as the Askmen article goes, I actually thought it was a really good article, and it’s worth pointing out that the author rags on Askmen.com as much as he rags on AoM (in fact, he links to an Askmen article as one of the negative examples).

I’d actually really like to see that article posted and discussed on AoM (probably not possible). The author makes some very good points.

29 thechexican August 10, 2011 at 9:30 pm

That was, simply put, an amazing and insightful read.

30 Randy August 11, 2011 at 11:23 am

A very illuminating post indeed. But… It really all boils down to #1 right? PICK THE RIGHT WOMAN! :)

31 Cory B.A., OK August 11, 2011 at 12:21 pm

I am enjoying your articles more and more and have found myself hooked!

To add a little to this conversation, I’ve found there are actually quite a few different words for love in the Greek. For the sake of brievity I’ll only speak of one. ‘Zoe’ refers to the ‘God’ kind of love; this speaks of a love that is unconditional and without limitations. This kind of love has spoken volumes to me as I’ve endeavored to exhibit this type towards my own wife for the past 14 plus years and have experienced immediate and lasting results!

In a nutshell, love isn’t just a feeling, goosebump, or some romantic notion likened to the images found in a DeBeers diamond commercial; but, rather a purposeful, intensive, unwavering, passionate desire to bless someone else’s life regardless of how much they’ve reciprocated. To love on purpose, if you will.;)

32 Dave Dauphinais August 11, 2011 at 5:53 pm

After 14 years of marriage, we’ve moved to France for a year. You mention keeping things fresh. That’s what we’re striving for. It is also a chance for a “shared adventure”. Something John Eldridge (Wild at Heart) would be proud of. Great post and spot on.

33 Kevin Dupree August 11, 2011 at 10:38 pm

it’s not enough just to pick the right partner. you must yourself be the right person, as well. a man can pick the most beautiful, understanding, affectionate partner humanly possible, but if he has his own demons to wrestle with, it’s not going to work out. finding the right partner begins with being the right partner.

34 Katie August 12, 2011 at 4:09 pm

I stumbled upon this article, and find that it definitely (even as a female) resonates well with me. I’m unlucky in love, but I like the prospect of feeling the romance and passion way past the “honeymoon period”. I’ll start with #1 (which is probably the biggest struggle of all), and work my way from there.

35 John J Jakubczyk August 12, 2011 at 5:11 pm

A great rebuttal to all the naysayers who argue love can’t last. What was as good as the article are most of the comments that affirm the principles set forth therein.

Just to highlight what Kevin mentions, it is not enough to pick the right person. We must strive to be the best person we can be and to improve our virtues as men. Not only does it help in the marriage but it provides the example our children need in order for them to find the right spouse.

Steve’s reminder to affirm is so true. And I definitely liked Darren’s comments about what the kid’s say.

My own contribution to the conversation is this. Gratitude. Be thankful for who she is, what you have and all you have shared. Look at your children (if you have been so blessed) and appreciate that she gave birth to them. Consider the blessing she has been to you and do not begrudge a genuine – thank you for marrying me – for her ears to hear.

My beloved and I have 28+ years under our belt, 11 children and 4 grandchildren (so far). As I tell my children and most everybody who will listen, it only gets better.

P.S. And as for Mandlebaum the cynic, as a lawyer for over 30 years, I have seen a lot of disasters, a lot of failures, a lot of garbage, a lot of criminals. It is a world that does not seek the grace of God but attempts to run under its own control. Sooner or later a man who tries to live without the grace of the Creator will wear out. Heck, its tough even with His grace. I cannot imagine life without Him in my life. But there are many of us who will stick with that promise we made. I look at my parents who just celebrated 60 years. I know many like them. I can be done. It is all the time.

36 Patrick Fisher August 12, 2011 at 8:57 pm

I just started, and I’m about to finish, “Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find – and Keep – Love” by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller. I highly recommend it. It deals with the three different attachment types: anxious, avoidant, and secure; and how these attachment types interact with one another.

It’s definitely worth reading for anyone who has ever had relationship woes.

http://www.amazon.com/Attached-Science-Attachment-Find%C2%97-Keep%C2%97Love/dp/1585428485/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1313196887&sr=8-1

37 MH August 15, 2011 at 3:02 am

Have been with my wife for 13 years last April. I love her more now than the first year we were together. For those wanting to find the right woman, look for a lady with true compassion. Looks fade, youth ages, smart is great but it’s not enough. A kind heart is forever.

38 Alice Clare August 16, 2011 at 10:53 am

This post resonates with me. So much wisdom. Thanks for sharing.

39 Robert Weedall August 17, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Fredrick the Great would disagree with you there. The only reason he seemed to remain king was a sense of “duty”, he seems to have despised every stuffing bit of it, and as the “The Great” moniker supposes it didn’t exactly leave him bereft of historical significance.

40 M August 23, 2011 at 8:17 pm

I absolutely loved this article!
Why would we ever accept the nonsense that romantic love couldn’t last a life time given it’s with the right person?
I think it’s the sweetest thing in the world that Brett and Kate can still say “you’re perfect” to each other! And I truly believe that having, and keeping, a sense of humor is extremely important in a loving relationship.

41 Liane September 6, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Many valuable points – wisdom, I think.

42 Mike October 3, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Yes, great points. Pick someone you want to be with most of the time, will make all the other obstacles less difficult to overcome.

43 Nick December 17, 2012 at 9:26 am

It gives hope for a young person like me and also gives me somthing to look foward to!!

44 eric little February 8, 2013 at 7:11 am

my wife and i are going on 18 yrs married, 25 together – since she was 16 and she just turned 40. we both have always known we are the one for each other. i still get excited to see her when shes been out or away, i still get heart flutters when i look at her, i have never even considered being with another girl and ive had the opps. i feel so blessed to have found her and had children with her and experience this awesome ride called life with her. i feel sad for those people who never find what we have. i only wish time would slow down – life is moving way too fast.

45 Diana December 23, 2013 at 5:29 pm

What a wonderfully encouraging article. Loved the comments. Sometimes the idea of marriage can be so intimidating because it is made to sound so scary. Basically what the younger generation is being raised to believe is that the goodness of marriage ony lasts for so long. It’s really encouraging to hear that the love two people have for one another CAN last and only gets better!

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