Sunday, September 5, 2010

Relationship Basics: It Feels Like Home

When we find someone who seems to be on the same page as us, communication seems to flow more easily. You don’t have to explain yourself because that person just “knows.” They are coming from the same place. You have a similar vision of the world. This is an intrinsic part of the often talked about chemistry.

In The Psychology of Romantic Love, What Love Is, Why Love Is Born, Why It Sometimes Grows, Why It Sometimes Dies, Dr. Nathaniel Branden states, “When we encounter a person who thinks as we do, who notices what we notice, who values the things we value, who tends to respond to different situations as we do, not only do we experience a strong sense of affinity with such a person but also we can experience our self through our perception of that person. All the forms of interaction and communication among people — spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and physical -- combine to give us the perceptual evidence of our visibility in one respect or another."

"A friend, says Aristotle, is another self. This is precisely what lovers experience to the most intense degree. In loving you, I encounter myself. A lover, ideally reacts to us as, in effect, how we would react to our self in the person of another. Thus, we perceive our self through our lover’s reaction.”

It’s this inherent knowing – the same sense of life – that seems to make us feel comfortable right away with one person and not another.

Branden says, “At its core, romantic love entails a profound and shared sense of life. A sense of life is the emotional form in which we experience our deepest view of existence and our relationship to existence. It is, in effect, the emotional corollary of a personal metaphysics reflecting the subconsciously held sum of our broadest and deepest attitudes and conclusions concerning the world, life and ourselves. ... (We feel connected to another) when we ... sense how (an) individual experiences him or herself, the joyfulness, or fearfulness, or defensiveness of his or her approach to life. We sense the level of excitement or the level of deadness and our body and emotions respond faster than thought can take shape in words."

Friendship, like love, flourishes with the shared sense of life about which Branden speaks. At the foundation of all good romantic relationships, I believe you will find a rock solid friendship. Here are some of my thoughts.

A Friend First and Always

To me every relationship is built on friendship,
so I want to like you before I love you.

You find that people are so accommodating to their friends
... they go out of their way so not to annoy them
... they want to spend time with them
... they confide in them
... they share good news and bad news
... they can be themselves without any pretenses

You are my best friend, and I can be all those things with you.
Wherever I am, whatever I am doing, whatever decisions I am making --
I always paint you into the landscape of my life.

We are linked together through our common goals and we strive to reach the finish line together, rather than with one of us winning and one of us losing.

Our friendship has grown into a magnificent love affair built on
mutual respect, caring and a similar vision of the world.

I value you as a person, as well as love you as and partner, and together we must nurture our relationship and always remember to see the positive aspects of the other.

Next up ... Complete Me or Complement Me?

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