Click here for mentoring and coaching.What is this thing called love?

Love Defined

A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.

A feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person with whom one is disposed to make a pair; the emotion of sex and romance.

Sexual passion

Sexual intercourse

A love affair

An intense emotional attachment, as for an appreciated pet or treasured object.

Perhaps, the most important of Divine Laws is the 'law of love.' Put simply, "Love is Law, Law is Love." This amounts to the same thing as "the gift of giving" without the hope of reward or pay, or serving others. When you do the right thing for others you receive gifts in unexpected ways. Paradoxically, those who help you may not be those you help. The help you receive may come from surprisingly distant connections.

Scroll down for:

How We Communicate Love
We Express Love Through the Power of Attraction
Online Dating in Cyberspace
A Woman's Top 5 Ways to Better Intimacy
The Ties That Unbind
Lost that Loving Feeling?
Safety Net
Misery Loves Company: Do the two go hand in hand?
The Characteristics of Healthy Love
When Lovers Part

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A stranger you were once.
Then, with a gentle look you took my hand.

As our lives engaged,
you lit my life and I held both your hands.

Now that decades have passed,
our souls have indeed become one.

How fortunate we are
that we have found the love so true
that everyone dreams about.

by Laura Veronica Merodio

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How We Communicate Love

Why is it that so few couples seem to have found the secret to keeping love alive after the wedding? The problem is that what has been overlooked is one fundamental truth: People speak different love languages.

Your emotional love language and the language of your partner may be as different as Chinese from English. Being sincere is not enough.

Seldom do partners have the same primary love language. We must be willing to learn our partner’s primary love language if we are to be effective communicators of love.

There are basically five emotional love languages. Here are the five ways that people speak and understand emotional love:

Words of Affirmation:
Verbal compliments, or words of appreciation, are powerful communicators of love. They are best expressed in simple, straightforward statements of affirmation.

Quality Time:
Looking at each other and talking, giving your undivided attention. That twenty or more minutes of time will never be had again: we are giving our lives to each other. It is a powerful communicator of love.

Receiving Gifts:
A gift is something you can hold in your hand and say “Look, he was thinking of me,” or “She remembered me”. The gift is a symbol of thought and the thought remains not only in the mind but is expressed in actually securing the gift and giving it as an expression of love.

Acts of Service: Doing things you know your spouse would like you to do. You seek to please her by serving her, to express your love for her by doing things for her. These acts require thought, planning, time, effort, and energy.

Physical Touch:
For some individuals, physical touch is their primary love language. Without it, they feel unloved. With it, their emotional tank is filled, and they feel secure in the love of their spouse. The touch of love may take many forms. Don’t make the mistake that the touch that brings pleasure to you will also bring instant pleasure to her.

When we choose active expressions of love in the primary love language of our spouse, we create an emotional climate where we can deal with our conflicts and failures.

What if the love language of your loved one is something that doesn’t come naturally to you? When an action doesn’t come naturally, it is a greater expression of love.

Source: The Five Languages of Love by Gary Chapman


We Express Love Through the Power of Attraction

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To attract is to cause to draw near or adhere. Here is how the power of attraction works within each of us:

Because human beings remember with neurons (the cells of nerve tissue), we are disposed to see more of what we have already seen, hear anew what we have heard most often, think just what we have always thought.

Within the brain, every mental activity consists of neutrons (electrically neutral subatomic particles) firing in a certain sequence. An "Attractor" is an association of ingrained links that can overwhelm weaker information patterns. If incoming sensory data provoke a quorum of the Attractor's units, they will trigger their teammates, who flare to brilliant life.

An Attractor can overpower other units so thoroughly that the network registers chiefly the incandescence of the Attractor, even though the fading, firefly traces of another pattern initially glimmered there. A network then registers strikingly new sensory information as if it conformed to past experience. In much the same way, our sun's blinding glare washes countless dimmer stars from the midday sky.

The limbic brain (i.e. the emotional brain) contains its emotional Attractors, encoded early in life. Primal bias then forms an integral part of the neural systems that view the emotional world and conduct relationships. If the early experience of a limbic network exemplifies healthy emotional interaction, its Attractors will serve as reliable guides to the world of workable relationships.

No individual can think his way around his own Attractors, since they are embedded in the structure of thought. And in human beings, an Attractor's influence is not confined to its mind of origin. The limbic brain sends an Attractor's sphere of influence exploding outward with the exuberance of a nova's gassy shell. Because limbic resonance and regulation join human minds together in a continuous exchange of influential signals, every brain is part of a local network that shares information--including Attractors.

Limbic Attractors thus exert a distorting force not only within the brain that produces them, but also on the limbic networks of others--calling forth compatible memories, emotional states and styles of relatedness in them. Through the limbic transmission of an Attractor's influence, one person can lure others into his emotional virtuality. All of us, when we engage in relatedness, fall under the gravitational influence of another's emotional mind with ours. Each relationship is a binary star, a burning flux of exchanged force fields, the deep and ancient influences emanating and felt, felt and emanating.

The limbic transmission of Attractors renders personal identity partially malleable---the specific people to whom we are attached provoke a portion of our everyday neural activity. Ongoing exposure to one person's Attractors does not merely activate neural patterns in another--it also strengthens them. Long-standing togetherness writes permanent changes into a brain's open book.

In a relationship, one mind revises another; one heart changes its partner. This astounding legacy of our combined status as mammals and neural beings is limbic revision: the power to remodel the emotional parts of the people we love, as our Attractors activate certain limbic pathways, and the brain's inexorable memory mechanism reinforces them.

Who we are and who we become depends, in part, on whom we love.

---Source: A General Theory of Love by Thomas Lewis, M.D., Fari Amini, M.D., Richard Lannon, M.D.

By all means, marry. If you get a good wife,

you'll become happy; if you get a bad one, you'll

become a philosopher.

- Socrates


What is the law of reciprocity? Yahoo! Personals - Give Fate a Nudge The Virtual Dating Game

While many people think of dating services as just that---an easy way to find a date---online dating has established itself as a legitimate relationship maker. Increasingly, singles are using the Internet to seek out that special someone for the long-term. For those who shun singles bars and the dating scene, meeting someone virtually can forgo much of the uncomfortable aspects of dating.

According to a survey conducted at the 8-million member, the nation's largest dating site, a half-million new members register each month.

Source: Jason Williams in Psychology Today, February 2003

Online Dating in Cyberspace

Online dating services are attracting roughly one-fifth of all singles by searching for good matches based upon any number of criteria selected by the single seeker.

Dr. Alvin Cooper, the director of the San Jose Marital Services and Sexuality Centre and a staff psychologist at Stanford University, says that because online interaction tends to downplay proximity, physical attraction and face-to-face interaction, people are more likely to take risks and disclose significant things about themselves. The result is that they attain a higher level of psychological and emotional intimacy than if they dated right away or hopped in the sack.

Online dating represents a return to what University of Chicago Humanities Professor Amy Kass calls the "distanced nearness" of old-style courtship, an intimate and protected (cyber)space that encourages self-revelation while maintaining personal boundaries.

An online dater has a much higher likelihood of finding "the one" due to the computer's capacity to sort through thousands of potential mates. "That's what computers are all about--efficiency and sorting," says Cooper, who believes that online dating has the potential to lower the nation's 50 percent divorce rate.

Why does this sound a little less than inspiring?

For many people, the Internet can efficiently facilitate love and help to nudge fate along. But, for the diehard romantic who trusts love's mystery, coincidence and fate, the cyber-solution to love lacks instant gratification. "To the romantic," observes English writer Blake Morrison in The Guardian, "every marriage is an arranged marriage--arranged by fate, that is, which gives us no choice."

--Source: Utne, May-June 2003

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A Woman's Top 5 Ways to Better Intimacy

1. Ever try slow-motion sex? "However long it takes him to perform the usual
titillating tasks, tell him you want it take a loooong time," says Lisa Sussman, author
of Satisfaction Guaranteed: 350 Best Sex Tips Ever (Carlton, 2003). "Give all your moves the same treatment -- make it take a good half-a-minute or longer to
do what usually takes an instant or two." The result? You'll suddenly discover loads of nerve-endings you never noticed before.

2. Try a new position. Don't give up if you can't make a new position work! "If at
first you don't succeed, try, try again," says Sussman. "Give it three attempts before you give up on something new. Remember, sex is a skill, and sometimes you need practice!"

3. Set a goal. Make short-term goals for a long-term improvement in lovemaking. "If, as a two-person team, you decide, 'Let's try one new position a week!' or 'Let's double our lovemaking!', you'll find yourself inspired," says Sussman.

4. Stay connected. Sexually, that is. Don't let "I'm not in the mood" turn into "getaway from me." Your sexual connection is important. Obviously, sometimes you can let yourself be off the hook, but "you should take care of him in some other way whenever possible," says Logan Levkoff, a sexologist and sexuality educator in New York City. "Remembering your partner's needs, even when you feel overwhelmed, will help you resist resentment and keep the sexual current between you even through the hard times."

5. Develop a sexual language. "Some people can't talk dirty," says Levkoff. " And that's okay. You should try to find a new way to let your partner know what feels great in a way that's comfortable for you." It might be words, it might be moans, but figure out how to let him know you're loving every minute of it -- or at least which minutes you're loving.

The Ties That Unbind

Our cultural vocabulary indicates that marriages move one way--downhill.

The "honeymoon period" implies post-honeymoon strife; the "seven-year itch" suggests that we tire of our mate at year seven.

Now, Wright State University psychology professor Lawrence Kurdek, Ph.D., confirms that our lexicon is accurate. His surveys of over 500 couples have revealed that most married couples experience a gradual but steady decline in marital quality over the four-year period after they tie the knot. Newlyweds tend to wear rose-colored glasses at first, says Kurdek, but reality kicks in after they see their partner drink from the milk carton or forget to take out the trash one too many times.

Source: Aaron Dalton in Psychology Today, January 2000

Lost that Loving Feeling?

"Emotional blunting" is the result of popular antidepressants increasing the level of the brain chemical, serotonin, and "hijacking" dopamine, a brain chemical connected with movement, emotion, motivation and feelings of pleasure.

Studying the connection between depression, love, sex and antidepressant treatment is difficult. However, any spouse or significant other whose partner suffers from depression and is on antidepressants knows the relationship has lost that loving feeling. The drugs used to treat depression are known to cause side effects that can interfere with relationships, including lack of desire and arousal problems, inability to achieve orgasm, delayed ejaculation and erectile dysfunction.

"These drugs blunt emotions and reduce obsessive-compulsive thinking, but those are also two main characteristics of romantic love, says Dr. Helen Fisher, a Rutgers University anthropologist who conducted brain studies of love. "You are tampering with the mechanisms that can help sustain feelings of romantic love and deep feelings of attachment."

One solution for couples is to take an antidepressant that can be stopped intermittently for "drug holidays" without losing effectiveness. Forest Pharmaceutical's Lexapro sometimes can be stopped on a Friday and resumed on a Monday, which increases the patient's sexual interest on the weekends. Some doctors give patients bupropion, sold under the brand Wellbutrin by Glaxo, which has been shown to have a lower rate of sexual side effects and is sometimes used as a treatment for sexual dysfunction. For menopausal women, sometimes estrogen and testosterone drugs, such as Solvay Pharmaceutical's Estratest, are prescribed.
If you are taking an antidepressant and develop marital or romance problems, "don't immediately assume it's you or the relationship," Dr. Andy Thomson, staff psychiatrist at the University of Virginia student health services, says, "because it may be the drug."

Source: The Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2006

Safety Net

You are my safety net.
When I fall
Your arms
Like thick protective ropes
Catch and envelope me
Before sending me

And next month
When you leave
For good
I will have to learn
To never fall…
Or to land well.

Not walking
The treacherous
Tight rope
That is Life
Is not an option.

Perhaps I can
Wear big skirts
That billow out
Like a parachute
When I fall.

Then the trick
Is to kick and
Coax the air
To propel me

by Sara Hinnant

Misery Loves Company: Do the two go hand in hand?

Does misery love company or does misery make company equally miserable? Psychologists have long pondered whether couples and close friends are depressed in tandem because one person's mood poisons the well, or because people gravitate towards significant others with the same traits.

In the first longitudinal comparison of mood in romantic partners and roommates, Chris Segrin, Ph.D, a professor of psychology and communications at the University of Arizona at Tucson, found that emotional tone is set at the starting gate.

Segrin surveyed 153 dating couples and 170 pairs of roommates for three months. He concluded that women's emotional states positive or negative were unrelated to changes in their boyfriends' moods and vice versa. Moreover, couples that had been dating longer were no more likely to mirror each other's emotional states than were newly minted partners.

Source: Kaja Perina in Psychology Today, January 2003

The Characteristics of Healthy Love

People in healthy relationships have the following characteristics.

1. They allow for individuality.
2. They experience both oneness with and separateness from another.
3. They bring out the best qualities in self and another.
4. They accept endings.
5. They experience openness to change and exploration.
6. They invite growth in the other person.
7. They experience true intimacy.
8. They feel the freedom to ask honestly for what is wanted.
9. They experience giving and receiving in the same way.
10. They do not attempt to change or control the other.
11. They encourage self-sufficiency of partners.
12. They accept limitations of self and other.
13. They do not seek unconditional love.
14. They accept and respect commitment.
15. They have a high self-esteem.
16. They trust the memory of the beloved; they enjoy solitude.
They express feelings spontaneously.
18. They welcome closeness; risk vulnerability.
19. They care with detachment.
20. They affirm equality and personal power of self and other.

by Dr. Brenda Schaeffer, licensed psychologist, certified addiction specialist and author of "Love’s Way: The Union of Body, Ego, Soul and Spirit" and "Is It Love Or Is It Addiction?" available at your local bookstore, at or by calling 888-987-6129.

When Lovers Part

The intuition of love had told him. It could never be deceived. Tears came into her eyes. But I am glad that I will be the one to go first, she thought. You are strong, but I am weak. You will bear this as you have borne other tragedies, but I could not have borne your dying. For that, if nothing else, I thank God. All our lives are a giving up, one by one, of the things we love and enjoy, and finally there is the last abandonment and we are empty.

But the memory of our love which I will take with me, if I may, for you are the only joy I have ever known, the only contentment and delight. And so, I am rich after all, richer than most. Others live lives of no color or vitality, and their existence is like nursery porridge, and as bland.

But I have known all the heights that can be possible for a woman, all the raptures and the faith and the trust, all the excitements and the wonders, and even grief was bearable in your presence, my darling. I must not be greedy and try to cling to what I have had--for it is all fulfilled, full and overflowing. Nothing can be added. Nothing taken away.

From: "Captains and the Kings" by Taylor Caldwell (Doubleday & Company, Inc) 1972

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