I came across the results of a survey in Scientific American online ~ the study sampled 274 couples who'd been married ten years or more, on the state of their love life. When the couples were asked "How in love are you with your partner?" (on a scale of 1 being not at all in love, to 7 being very intensely in love), 46% of women and 49% of men answered "Very intensely in love." The researchers were surprised at the large number who remain passionately in love, and wanted to understand what qualities in a relationship might contribute to long term devotion. Please click on the link above for a more thorough description ~ here is a brief summary of those qualities.
- Physical affection. Hugging, kissing, and making love elevate the levels of the hormone oxytocin, enhancing long-term bonding. Less physical affection correlated with less emotional attachment.
- Thinking positively about one's partner. It is easy to take a loved one for granted over the course of time. "By focusing on what we appreciate and admire in our partner and being grateful for the value and gifts our partner brings into our lives, we cannot but think positively and may feel more intense love as a consequence."
- Shared experiences. "Some of the greatest moments of intimacy in a relationship come from the simple joys of cooking or exercising together, exchanging intellectual ideas over common readings, learning a new and challenging skill .... and going on travel adventures", creating a shared thread of live experience and memories.
- Taking care of your own happiness. We are all individuals, with singular needs and interests. The more fulfilled we feel, the more capacity and caring we bring to our partner.
It all makes perfect sense, in my experience. In some situations, the second factor can be difficult to maintain ~ or the third, or the fourth. But the difficulty is a clear signal that something important needs to be thought about, talked about, and if need be counseled about. It is a mistake to do one's thinking in isolation, and to make unilateral decisions which may hinder or even terminate the relationship. True love (both loving one's partner and loving oneself) requires open and easy communication, and mutual understanding.
Complete non sequitur ~ have you ever seen a cloud tsunami? Not likely, unless you live on a semi-tropical beach like coastal Florida. The phrase is colloquial only, and is not used by meteorologists. The photo above (click to enlarge) shows what happens when cool air offshore absorbs all the water vapor it can hold ~ its saturation point. Adding more moisture yields a cloud, which we call fog if it lies on the surface. Daytime heating of land draws the fog to shore, and if the airflow is strong enough and encounters a tall obstacle like a high-rise building, the illusion of a tsunami is created. You can see more photos here.