Synopsis: Why learn together and a very positive life case starts this mini-love-lesson. What couples are doing around the world; followed by five things you can actually do together to develop your love skills and learn more about healthy, real love; this mini-love-lesson then ends with a ‘make it happen’ challenge; more.
Why Learn Together?Chad was excited! He said, “the thing that helped Sarah and me the most was when we started to learn about love together. Sort of reluctantly, I gave in and let Sarah talk me into reading some new stuff on the Internet about how love can be made to grow in a relationship. Then we got to talking about it, and together we worked on how to apply it to the way we got along with each other. I got a total, new ‘wow’ experience from that. I am a factual kind of guy and what we were reading wasn’t the usual fuzzy, mishmash about love.
It was totally fascinating and fact-based, but also, to us at least, it was an inspirational way to see and deal with our relationship. Best of all it worked, I think mostly because we were doing it together. We both had read some and worked kind of independently trying to learn about how to do our relationship better, and that did help some but by doing it together, well, that made all the difference.”
When a couple learns together a team synergy can be created which is greater than either of them separately.
Experiencing or reading the same material, and talking about it, can create a cross-fertilization of ideas and understanding. When both people are working from the same knowledge-base; acquired together it is much more likely that they will work better in coordination and sort of like ‘be on the same page’ together. Separate learning is much less likely to achieve that easily, although that can be good too. Even better is that learning together helps create better behaving together.
Every team sport or endeavor requires practicing together. Doubles tennis, football, two or more people dancing together, etc. all take practicing together for it to work well. Five good basketball players who never played together are much more likely to lose a game to average players who are really good at teamwork. Individual learning and practicing can add greatly to the team, but adding the ‘as a team together’ component makes a world of difference and can greatly add to the bonding experience a couple is having with one another.
It is sort of like what was once discovered with couples doing joint counseling. Counseling together, and learning about love together, seemed to make it much more likely that a couple would stay together than if they were doing the counseling, or the learning, separately.
As Sarah put it, “It’s been a really fine adventure for us; working on our love skills together has been a lot more fun and a lot more meaningful.”
Around the World
Around the world there are couples experiencing what Chad and Sarah
discovered. Working together to learn the new and better information
about healthy, real love and developing their love skills together is
making a great many love relationships much better relationships. How
do we know this? Well, we know this because at this sites we get
feedback from different people all over the globe. The mini-love-lessons
are being viewed in over 150 countries.
While the feedback we get from individuals is great, we also get some wonderful feedback from couples. Also, there is research going on about what couples are doing to help their relationships, conducted by various universities and sometimes governments. We tap into that too. By the way we would love to hear your input also.
It’s Not Only CouplesIt is not only couples who are learning together about love and developing love skills. Sometimes it is two or more friends who get together in a sort of informal study group. Sometimes it is families, or a parent and a child learning together. Colleges, universities and a wide variety of religious institutions sometimes offer courses and classes, or personal development workgroups for couples focused on learning about love and love improvement.
A fair number of personal growth and retreat centers, as well as Counseling and Therapy clinics do the same thing. In all these the cross communication, interaction and interchanges that occur add to the learning and improve the practicing. Part of that is because love gets done to a large degree by interaction, interchange and cross-communicating. Therefore, it makes sense for love to be learned and practiced in such a way as those actions actually are being done together with one or more others.
What To Do Together
First of all, think about love and share what you think with each
other. Puzzle over what you think and what the other one thinks;
question, imagine, fantasize, reason, suspect, doubt, guess,
hypothesize, posit, remember, dream and share it all with one another.
Second is what you are doing right now, but do it together. Read about love and what can be done to grow and improve love in your life together. Now you are reading one of more than 140 mini-love-lessons (with more on the way) which you can use to make love in your life more real, more complete, more healthy and more wonderful. Read the same mini-love-lessons together, if possible at the same time, and then talk about them a lot. You don’t have to agree with what you read, and you don’t have to stay on the topic.
Sometimes the offshoots and side trails are the most important pathways for your talk to go. Remember to share and show your emotions as well as your thoughts. That often is the most significant and meaningful part. (See mini-love-lessons focused on feelings and emotions in the titles and subjects indexes).
Third, together do the same thing with books and other writings about love. Be sure to include books that are of more than one type. Be careful not to just read books about love problems and what goes wrong in love relationships, or ones that offer no real solutions or ways to improve. Unfortunately, there are quite a few of those. Also be wary of books that have ‘love’ in the title but all they are really about is sex. To me that is like false advertising. Then there are those books that have ‘love’ in the title but there isn’t anything much actually in the book about love. Maybe the publisher just thought it would sell better if love was added to the title.
Most romantic novels are not that much help either. Most just seem to promulgate falsehoods and destructive myths. What works for one does not work for another. Different books click for different people and for some people at certain times but not other times. That makes it hard to recommend but here are four possibilities you might want to consider. All About Love by Bell Hooks, The Anatomy of Love by Dr. Helen Fisher, The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman, and the e-book Kathleen McClaren and I wrote Real Love or False Love.
Fourth, together go to the movies whose reviews seem to indicate they may have something worthwhile and positive to say about how love is best done. Schedule at least an hour after the movie to talk about it. Look for the true and the false messages about love that may be embedded in the movie, and watch out for tear-jerkers that may move you, but not teach you. For many people a really good movie offers a much more complete experience, well worth sharing together.
Fifth, together go to workshops, retreats, classes, courses and talks that have to do with improving love relationships. Some colleges, some religious institutions, a variety of personal growth centers, therapeutic agencies, etc. give worthwhile workshops, classes etc. that have to do with healthy, real love. Especially the kind of workshop that offer an intensive experience over a weekend or even a week, often can provide you with one of life’s best together experiences. There also are some great workshops that combine learning about healthy, real love interwoven with great, healthy sexuality. (Look for workshops that have the word Tantric in the title).
When Not to Learn TogetherIt probably is not a good idea to learn about love together if one of you uses what you are learning to criticize, control, condemn or be condescending to the other. It also probably is not a good idea to try learning together if one of you keeps trying to prove the other one is wrong, playing “I’m more okay than you are”, focusing on what’s wrong more than what can become right, or better, and focusing in the extreme on what has happened in the past more than what can be made to happen in the near future. Remember, the historical, diagnostic analysis of a flat tire doesn’t tell you how to change it, even if the analysis is spot-on and brilliant.
Unless the focus mostly is on how to do, act, behave and put into practice what you are learning together more constructively, productively and healthfully concerning love skills, you may not be using this ‘together’ learning experience in the best way. It is important and okay to think and understand better, more accurately and more fully, anything and everything connected to love but thinking about love without the actions that grow, give and send love will seldom be enough. It also is important that the actions and the thinking lead to improvements in the many wondrous feelings that come with love. If that is not happening sufficiently, then learning together may not be working for you.
Make It HappenNow here is a suggestion. With a spouse, lover, friend or family member, ask them if they would experiment with you in doing some joint-learning about healthy, real love and developing your love skills together. You can start by picking a mini-love-lesson for both of you to read, or reading one of the other actions listed above. You might want to specify a short amount of time for this experiment, and if it is working well you can extend it.
If the person you ask is dubious and reluctant, tell them that is good, and this is only an experiment, so why not try it. If they positively will not do this, well, that is not a very good indicator for developing love, is it? Maybe try asking somebody else. Of course, it’s fine to start on your own, and maybe inviting somebody into the process with you later.
As always – Going and Grow with Love
Dr. J. Richard Cookerly
What do you suppose you might need to ‘unlearn’ about love, because it could be wrong or false?