Do you ever wonder how people fall in love? Once a decision is made, what holds those two people together? What makes a spouse lose interest and fall into the pit of infidelity?
Joe Beam, best-selling author and internationally recognized marriage expert provides us with a visual in his book, The Art of Falling in Love
Physical- You look at their physical characteristics and decide whether their appearance is attractive to you
Intellectual- You start a conversation, collecting pieces of information about their mind. Is this someone you could have conversations with often? Are they of sound mind? Do they have a good head on their shoulders?
Emotional- Once you’ve had time to assess their mind, you start getting to know their heart. What are they passionate about? What are their gifts?
Spiritual- Finally, you look at their soul. What do they believe that makes them who they are?
Once you have fully assessed the person in question, it’s time to make a decision. Based on your evaluation of them physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually, you decide whether this person is in fact what they say they are or if what you have assessed is all based on feelings.
This decision either leads to an end of the relationship or acceptance of it and you become attached to this person.
Why is it that some end and others continue? In his book, Joe Beam describes love as having three basic components:
- Intimacy – openness and vulnerability to your partner
- Passion– a desire for true oneness with that person
- Commitment- doing what it takes to make the relationship last
Love fails when these components are missing.
So this is how it can go when these components are missing…
A new employee, Wilma, is introduced to the company. Frank, although he has a wife and family at home, can’t help but notice how captivatingly beautiful she is. Frank is teamed up with Wilma on a project and the team works longer hours than normal to meet their deadline. By working closely with Wilma, Frank is already learning about her mind: she’s intelligent, she’s passionate, and she’s a hard worker. Conversations then leads to more personal topics and Frank learns her heart. She’s sensitive, but isn’t afraid to take risks. She fights for justice, etc. He can’t believe what a wonderful woman she is and a late night work session quickly turns into a conversation about relationships and a kiss shared between the two. Frank didn’t mean to let it happen, but he was just consumed by admiration for her.
This feeling of infatuation is what Dr. Helen Fisher, leading researcher and author of Anatomy of Love coins limerence.
She explains that when someone is in limerence they:
- Focus on only that person
- Only sees the positive
- Experience euphoria, energy surges, etc.
- Obsessively think about that person
- Experience emotional dependency on their relationship with that person
- Experiences a powerful sense of empathy toward them
- Reassesses and reorders their priorities
- Feels a sexual desire for them
- Craves emotional union with them
- Feels they cannot control their emotions when it comes to this person
Limerence doesn’t last. In fact, she gives it about 2-3 years. Once these feelings of euphoria end though, it’s intimacy, passion, and commitment that keep the relationship going, especially commitment.
But it’s easy to stay committed when things are going well. You’re either committed to your relationship because you like it and it makes you feel good or you’re committed to it because you want to do everything you can to make it work.
How do people fall in love? They become attracted to the other person’s body, mind, heart, and soul. What connects these two people together? Intimacy, Passion, and Commitment. How does infidelity happen? One spouse or both spouses are not experiencing intimacy and/or passion and are not committed to the relationship.
Have you and your spouse lost your spark? Are you entering a new relationship? Where are you at on the love path? The good news is, if you’re already married, it’s possible to fall in love all over again.
I supposed the point is we should be wise in our choosing, be careful of the schmoozing, and be thoughtful, not confusing.
Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins. – 1 Peter 4:8