Synopsis: Examples of how reducing love ignorance solved some real-life love problems starts our mini-love-lesson; and ideas about being on the trail of new love knowledge and less love ignorance; more.
Solutions From Love KnowledgePonder these three brief statements from people who solved their love relationship problems by discovering and reducing their basic love ignorance and how love really works.
Is Love Ignorance The Problem?Andrea: “I so wanted to believe love was all made and managed in heaven, and when it was right it would all be just right and that would be all there was to it. I guess I believed it was magic. Thinking that way led me into excruciating romantic failure after failure. It was not until a friend cajoled me into reluctantly going to a workshop on ‘love skills’ that I woke up to the truth. There I discovered I knew precious little about how love gets given and received. That knowledge about ‘how love requires actions’ started me on the path to having a love life that actually works.”
Brock: “It was in college, when I had to write a paper on Rumi – the great Islamic love poet, that I was introduced to thinking about love and how it gets lived. Then my girlfriend got me to really study Paul’s great message in the Christian New Testament about what love is and is not. There I was surprised to learn a whole lot about what to do and not to do when you love someone. After that I went with a buddy to a Buddhist study group and learned the incredible truths of compassionate love. Now I’m into Hindu teachings about love and then I’m going to start on what modern science is saying about love. It’s amazing. There’s so much great and useful knowledge about love and every time I learn some of it my life gets better as well as all my relationships.”
Colette: “Dagan, my lover, and I were having all sorts of trouble getting along. It was getting so we fought every day. Our sex life had taken a nosedive. Jealousy and possessiveness were making us miserable all the time. We were a total dysfunctional mess and about to breakup. We tried working with two different counselors but we don’t think they knew what to do with couples because they kept wanting to see us individually, and that just made things worse. Then we found an AAMFT* therapist who did know what to do with us as a couple.
“Our new therapist mostly saw us together, had us interact with each other more than with him, and used a form of therapy that focused on our ‘love languages’ and ‘love giving behaviors’. He also had us learn about recent research discoveries into what makes successful love relationships. Now we are getting along so much better. We always felt love for each other but we sure didn’t know how to ‘Do’ love. Learning the ‘do’ part has made all the difference.”
Love Someone Who Is Too Love Ignorant?Since you are reading this mini-love-lesson, we can assume you have at least started on reducing your love ignorance and becoming more love knowledgeable. But what about the important other people in your life? So much of love is best done by two or more people in teamwork with each other. To do good teamwork the team members have to share similar, functional knowledge plus interaction knowledge. The teams called ‘couples’ and ‘families’ and also friendship and comrade networks do better when they operate from similar love knowledge.
Note that Colette and Dagan learned about love and how to be love successful in teamwork with each other. That is one of the best but not the only way to become love knowledgeable. They got to practice what they were learning with each other and that tends to speed up the improvement process considerably. So, one question is “do you have someone learning about love with you?” Will your main love interest join with you in reducing love ignorance? Perhaps you would like them to read this mini-love-lesson and then talk it over together.
What’s In The Way?When it comes to love, a lot of people are all for staying love ignorant. That can be seen in comments like “I don’t want to learn about love that might spoil the magic”, “there’s nothing to learn about love, it’s just fairytale stuff” and “isn’t love just a big mishmash of a whole bunch of different things, mainly sex?”
There are other mindsets in the way. For instance, the idea that love is something women take care of and the corollary idea that it is not manly to be concerned with love. Then there is the widely accepted idea that love is just something that happens or doesn’t happen and there is nothing you can do about it. Notice historically, that is the same idea that used to prevail concerning getting sick and still does in some very primitive places.
So, you might want to ask yourself what kind of mindset has gotten in your head concerning love, and maybe consider where it might have come from? Could it be a mindset that is diminishing your ability to succeed at love as much as you could? Could it be one that actually sabotages your chances of having lots of healthy, real love?
Where Knowledge Leads
In just about every area of human endeavor, becoming knowledgeable
leads to improvement, better than anything else. The path is often
erratic, full of wrong turns and pitfalls but eventually improvements
result. Why should love be any different?
What is called the scientific method, turns out to be the most consistent and reliable source of factual truth. Indeed, in what some have started to call “loveology” the scientific method is leading to practical and highly useful improvements in many people’s love relationships. But this is not the only source of knowledge. Becoming knowledgeable can be derived from and involved in wisdom, insight, creativity, sagacity, enlightenment and experience.
Historically, the wise have known this all along. Socrates and Plato held forth on love (not just sexual love) in the late 300s BC. Ovid in the years 1 and 2 AD wrote his famous books on love skills which are only partly about sex. Paul, Rumi and Buddha have already been mentioned. Some Jewish love teachings go back about 3000 years. There are also Hindu love teachings and ancient Egyptian teachings about love that may go back more than 4000 years. Much of that archaic love understanding correlates well with what the sciences are discovering today concerning love. Therefore, when considering love, I urge you to be open to all sources.
How They Did ItNote that Andrea had to give up, or ‘unlearn’, how she first viewed and understood love. Notice too, Andrea’s original reluctance to going where there might be a different understanding of love. So many people are so strongly attached to a toxic and destructive fairytale understanding of love that, even though they keep experiencing “excruciating” pain, they hold on to the old ways. That lead her repeatedly to failure and pain. Usually it helps a lot when people find out that real and healthy love knowledge is available and it is even more wondrous than the fairytales, as it was for Andrea.
In the above examples, notice what Brock, a student of love, became. Though his first sources of knowledge about love were ancient, they were good ones for him. Until rather recently in human history, religions were and still are to this day for millions, a major way to learn about love. Brock was able to open himself to those sources and see past the misleading myths of our medieval, romantic notions. To search for, find and use good sources of love knowledge is not so easy but it can be done.
In the past 75 years or so, many research fields have begun looking into and discovering truly wonderful things about love and its dynamics. Slowly, more and more people are availing themselves of this knowledge and with it moving forward into bigger, better and more lasting love experiences and relationships. Like Brock, you may have to do a fair bit of study but it is worth every bit of effort.
Now, let’s pay some attention to Colette and Dagan’s story. One thing they did right is not playing ‘strike one, they’re out when they went to a counselor who didn’t help them. Sadly, it is true that a great many therapists who are pretty good with individuals are not good with couples or family counseling, and they too are often quite ignorant about love and the many recent discoveries concerning it. Another thing that Colette and Dagan did right was to really work at applying their new understandings of love and how to make it work in their lives. Woefully, so many couples do not avail them selves of these new understandings. They are like ‘the proverbial people who keep trying to invent the wheel’, not realizing it already has been invented and available for their use.
On The Trail Of Love KnowledgeYou can never know enough about love but you sure can know a whole lot more than what the average person seems to know. Since you are reading this mini-love-lesson and maybe others at this site, congratulate yourself because you are already on the trail of becoming more love knowledgeable.
On this trail, be careful about mis-knowledge or mis-information. There is a great deal of mis-knowledge, mis-understandings and ideas about love that are just flat out wrong but readily available in the world. It pays to be discerning. Many books with the word love in the title have absolutely nothing in them about real love. Many love stories or self-help case examples are not about love at all but about some form of false love. Then too, there is a great deal we just do not yet know about love. The good news is lots of research into love is starting to happen. The more we learn the more important and fantastic love is turning out to be.
Amazing discoveries are being made, marvelous and delightfully surprising good things are being revealed, and with a little work you can find out about them all. Getting on the trail of becoming evermore love knowledgeable is not only immensely practical, it also can be quite intoxicating and a whole lot of fun.
* AAMFT (The American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy)
As always – Go and Grow with Love
Dr. J. Richard Cookerly
What is your latest or newest idea or understanding about love, and where do you suppose your next understanding about love will come from?