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Is Falling In Love Enough?*
Andy Bustanoby
(C) October 22, 2005

     *This presentation was given to a non-church audience and therefore
     is more psychologically oriented than the biblical orientation I
     would give to a church group.

                                    # # #

     I'm not an expert on safety issues, but I will hazard a guess that
     more people are hurt in falls than in any other kind of injury.  And
     the type of fall that I have seen produce the most injuries is
     falling in love!  I offer this as a result of my observations over
     twenty-five years as a marriage and family therapist.

     I want to address this issue by asking the question, Is falling in
     love enough?  Is it enough to keep a marriage going?  According to
     the duet Nat King Cole and his daughter sing, "If I fall in love, it
     will be forever."  Don't kid yourself.  It won't be.  Unless there
     is more to your relationship than falling in love, it won't last

     I can speak as an expert on this.  In addition to my experience as a
     marriage and family therapist, I offer the experience of having been
     married almost fifty-five years.

     Romantic love is the most important interpersonal relationship that
     exists between human beings.  But it is the least understood.

     One reason for this is love songs.  They mystify romantic love and
     raise it to a level that is beyond reason.  In our culture, the
     basis of selecting a mate is based on romantic love, a very strong
     elation in which you feel, This is it!  Though sexual attraction is
     not the only element in romantic love, it is a major one.

     Let me give you a few examples of love songs.   Even though they are
     golden oldies, they still are very popular today.  I checked this
     out on my computer search engine, Google, and brought up the subject
     of love songs.  I wanted to be sure that people are still falling in
     love.  Here are some love songs, still popular today, that
     illustrate my point:

         "Embraceable You."  The lyrics go, "Embrace me, you sweet
     embraceable you."
         Though it is notput as crassly as this, the message is, I want
     to hold you and
         feel your body against mine.

         "Love Me Tonight."  Why tonight?  I'll let your imagination work
     on that.

         "Just The Way You Look Tonight."  The lyrics go, "Lovely, never,
     never change.
         Keep that breathless charm, won't you please arrange it 'cause I
     love you, just
         the way you look tonight."  He's breathless over what he
     sees--the way she looks
         tonight.  I wonder if he's ever seen her in the morning!  This
     is when reality hits
         the marriage.

         "Nobody Does It Better"  Here's one from the James Bond movie,
     "The Spy Who
         Loved Me."  There's no question about what she means by love.
     The lyrics go,
         "Nobody does it better.  Makes me feel sad for the rest.  Nobody
     does it half as
         good as you.  Baby, you're the best."

         There's a strong sexual component involved with falling in
     love.  And obviously
         the woman in that song has been in and out of love so many times
     that she can
         give the opinion that nobody does it half as good as you.

     Psychologist Everett Shostrom, who has made an extensive study of
     male/female love, created an excellent test, which I used many years
     when I was in counseling.  The test is called The Caring
     Relationship Inventory.  He examined five types of love essential to
     a lasting marriage and developed a questionaire and evaluation
     scales to see what kind and how much of these loves exist in any
     given marriage.  The types of love he examines are these:  eros,
     agape, friendship, empathy and self-love.


     The first type of love I have already introduced--romantic love.
     The word psychologists use is eros, which primarily has to do with
     sex.  We get our word, erotic from this.  Erotic love is
     fundamentally sexual love.

     But it really has to do with more than physical appearance--looking
     sexy.  It also has to do with personality, where we see an inner
     beauty.  We often project on this person our ideal of a personality
     that we would like to have in a mate.

     This was very true of the woman I married, Fay.  Actually, her name
     is Faydeen.  Southern girls--she's from Texas--always seemed to have
     double names like Myrtle Mae, Billie Joe or Faydeen.  But everyone
     calls her Fay now.

     When I first saw Fay, I thought, Wow!  She was, and still is, a
     looker.  She was tall, had the body and looks of a professional
     model, and carried herself like a woman.  As a nineteen-year-old, I
     had only dated girls.  But this was a woman, though we were the same

     One of the things I liked about her looks was that she wasn't built
     like my mother--short and busty. Not being like my mother was very
     important, especially as far as her personality.  My father was not
     the head of the house, my mother was.  She controlled him and doted
     on him, and he loved it.  And she would have controlled me that way,
     but I would have none of it.  She may have controlled my father, who
     really needed her, but she wasn't going to control me by making me
     need her.

     Fay was, and still is, quiet, and demure.  I saw at once that she
     would never be the kind of woman who was going to try to run my life
     like my mother ran my father's life.  This to me was an inner beauty
     that enhanced her outer beauty.  I didn't find out until after we
     were married that this could present a different kind of problem.
     But I'll have more to say about this as we look at the different
     types of love in marriage.

     In Shostrom's test, he measures eros love with these statements:

         "I want to know the details about the things he/she does."

     Seeing an inner attractiveness in the person makes us want to know
     more.  There is more than physical closeness here.  There is an
     emotional closeness that develops with this person.

         "I seek a great deal of privacy with him/her."

     Though possessiveness can wreck a marriage, there is a proper
     element of what I would call "at oneness" with this person.  There
     is a feeling that we have a soul to soul relationship with this
     person that we have
     with no one else.

     There was a time, back in the 1970's, when any sign of
     possessiveness in marriage was extremely unpopular.  In fact, it was
     so unpopular that a married couple wrote a book extolling the
     virtures of having another sex partner in addition to your own
     spouse.  They both confessed in their book that they each had
     another sexual partner and tried to convince the public that it
     really enlivened their own marriage.

     This also was a time where wife swapping parties became very
     popular.  The wife of each couple would leave her house-key in a
     dish when she came to the party, and when the party broke up, the
     men would pick up a key and go home, for the night, with the woman
     who left the key.

     This craze didn't last long.  The couple who wrote the book
     divorced.  The swapping parties ceased.  Though possessiveness in
     marriage was still a problem,  the words of an old popular song
     regained popularity.  The song,  "You Belong To Me," brought back
     some sanity in marriage.

     Here are some more statements on the test about eros love:

         "I spend a lot of time thinking about him/her."

     Our minds are occupied with what is important to us and brings us
     pleasure.  This person is a pleasure to be with.

         "I have a strong need to be near him/her."

     There is an important physical connection in erotic love.  I will
     say more about this in my presentation next week in dealing with
     sexual problems in marriage.  But physical closeness, though
     important to both men and women, mean different things to both.  For
     men, it's usually sex.  For women, they distinguish between their
     need for sex and their need just to be cuddled.

         "I like to express my caring for him/her by caressing him/her a
     great deal."

     Body contact, once again, is important.  Though it may not always
     have a strong sexual component, it is a form of expression that
     helps strengthen this part of the relationship.  Every night when we
     go to bed, Fay and I kiss goodnight.  And even though at age
     seventy-five, it doesn't have the same erotic impact on me as it did
     over fifty-five years ago, those lips are as soft and sweet as ever.

     Fay and I did fall in love.  We had romantic love in our marriage
     from the start.  But something happens to that excitement as a
     couple settles down to marriage.  When they don't understand why
     they are starting to lose that romantic attachment, and they don't
     understand that there must be more than romance to make the marriage
     work, they are in serious trouble.

                             Falling Out of Love

     In our next session I'll deal with sexual problems in marriage in
     more detail.  But I want to briefly address the problem of losing
     the romantic attachment or falling out of love.  I see two
     fundamental reasons for falling out of love.  First, a good sexual
     relationship is never developed.  Second, even if there is a good
     sexual relationship, other necessary types of love are not
     developed.   Women, usually more than men in a dying marriage, would
     tell me in marriage counseling, "We have good sex.  But that's all
     we have."  And to the man who thinks that sex is all that marriage
     is about, I have to say, Buddy, you're in trouble.

         1)  First, have you achieved a good sexual relationship?  In
     many marriages, the sexual relationship never does develop into what
     the man and woman fantasized what it would be.  And this is even
     more problematic with those who have had previous sexual relations
     with which to compare the present one.   I think I would be turned
     off if my wife told me, Nobody does it half as good as you.

     One reason why a sexual relation never develops is that there is an
     ignorance about how sexual fulfillment is achieved, both for the man
     and the woman.  When I married I had no prior sexual experience.
     And my knowledge was limited.  I didn't even know that a woman had a
     clitoris and the important part it plays in the sexual fulfillment
     of a woman.

     But sexual savy and knowing how the anatomy works is but a small
     part of sexual fulfillment.  The psychology of sex in both the male
     and female is all important.  How each feels about the sexual
     relationship and how those feelings impact sexual desire is all

     Many times, sex in marriage becomes boring.  Sometimes we begin to
     see a side of our mate's personality that we had not seen before
     marriage.  The body may look good.  But the personality doesn't.
     It's a turnoff.  On the part of the husband, he may come across as
     demanding and not caring about how his wife feels about sex.  As one
     wife described her husband it was "wham, bam, thank you mamm."  On
     the other hand, the husband may see the wife as not really caring
     about his sexual needs, and is always putting him off when he wants
     sex or having an attitude about sex or about him that puts him off.

     When sex is ho-hum or not frequent enough, it can lead to real
     danger.  I remember a case where a man was feeling very unfulfilled
     sexually by his wife.  In fact, she really didn't act like she found
     him attractive any more.

     He told me that he often would get looks from women who gave him the
     message that they found him attractive.  At work, he was even
     propositioned.  He told me that he found it very flattering, but he
     couldn't be unfaithful to his wife.  But his anger toward her sexual
     indifference almost made him angry enough to cheat on her.

     Over twenty-five years of dealing with this kind of problem I came
     to the conclusion that infidelity doesn't occur simply out of lust
     or the availability of other partners.  It most often is prompted by
     an anger that wants to get even.

         2)  Second, is sex the only thing you have going for your
     marriage?  Here's where we need to take a look at Dr. Shostrom's
     Caring Relationship Inventory.  For a husband and wife to feel true
     caring that makes a marriage last, they must understand the other
     types of love that must be expressed.

     I often tell couples who have fallen out of love that romantic love,
     eros, is the hook that gets us into marriage.  And unless they
     develop the other types of love necessary to marriage, the
     excitement of falling in love wears off and there is nothing to
     replace it.

     Falling out of love is mainly due to the fact that being in love is
     largely a fantasy about the other person.  After marriage, the
     fantasy is shattered.  Someone once said, Love is blind, but
     marriage is an eye-opener.

                                 Agape Love

     Let's look at some of these other forms of love that are important
     to marriage.  The first one I want to look at is agape love.  Agape
     is an ancient Greek word that describes what they believed to be the
     ultimate expression of love.  Shostrom says that agape is "a
     helping, nurturing form of love.  It involves unconditional giving
     and acceptance of the kind that characterizes the love of a parent
     for a child or of man by God."  We are loved in spite of our faults.

     Agape has nothing to do with the lovability or attractiveness of the
     person loved.  It is a choice, a decision, a committment to love.

     Early in our marriage, as Fay and I got to know each other better,
     we began to irritate each other because we didn't realize how
     extreme our personalities really were.  Every personality has an
     adaptive, or balanced expression, and a maladaptive, or unbalanced
     expression.  We are opposites, and though opposites attract, we
     didn't realize how much we differed from each other, and how
     maladaptive we
     both were in our own way.

     I saw her the opposite of my mother.  My mother was dominant,
     verbal, and had a need to be right.  Fay, however, was not dominant,
     verbal and was a people pleaser and would quickly make peace by
     declaring herself wrong.  Her wants and wishes were not important to
     her.  Avoiding problems by pleasing people was important to her

     About eight months after we married, I started college.  Finances
     were very tight.  Fay was a good homemaker, so I left it up to her
     to do the shopping--for groceries and almost everything else.
     Though we had the same outlook on spending, I noticed that sometimes
     when she bought something that was defective or for some reason she
     couldn't use, she wouldn't return it for a refund.

     Living on a very tight income, this was a waste I didn't
     understand.  I often would chide her for not returning the
     merchandise.  She would make excuses, or she would jump on me for
     making a big deal out of something that was not that important.  We
     would get into terrible arguments, and I always turned out to be the
     bad guy because I didn't understand that it wasn't nice to return
     merchandise and hurt the feelings of the returns clerk.

     Indeed, I didn't understand her--until she began to open up about
     her relationship with her mother when she was growing up.  Though
     her mother was very critical of Fay, it was extremely important that
     Fay  always please other people no matter what it cost her.  What
     people thought of her was all important.

     Then it started to come out about returning merchandise.  We had a
     costly item that really needed to be returned.  Because I was busy
     with fulltime college and a job, I expected her to return it.

     Fay began to cry.  I forget exactly what she said, but it sounded
     like, What will the returns clerk think of me when I bring this
     back?  Then it dawned on me how her mother had crippled her with
     fear of what others would think.

     I realized also that this was one reason why she married me.  Though
     she criticized me for being indifferent to the opinions of others,
     she married me because she knew that I had no problem with things
     like returning merchandise.

     Still, fifty-five years later, she is working on the problem.  She's
     a recovering people pleaser.  She's much better than she used to
     be.  But every so often she falls back into her old ways and gets
     angry with herself.  Not long ago I remember her weeping and saying,
     "All my life I've tried to please people, and where has it gotten
     me?  It doesn't work, and I hate myself for doing it.  But I still
     do it."

     Her honesty about herself has resulted in the development of my
     agape love for her.  Every so often she will get testy with me
     because she sees me as not caring what other people think and not
     wanting to please people.  This attitude hurts, yet I see it coming
     from this baggage she brought into the marriage.  Her desperate need
     to be a people pleaser makes me look like the bad guy because my
     personality is so different from hers.

     I say that it is agape love that overcomes the hurt that comes from
     this.  I choose to love her.  I am committed to loving her.  What
     does that mean?  Though I feel that I'm being treated unfairly, I
     won't accuse her.  Though I want to lash back at her and tell her
     that the issue we're dealing with is her people pleasing problem, I
     will not say it.

     Please don't think she is the only one who has had a need for
     change.  She has had to deal with a husband who had a difficult time
     coming to terms with a maladaptive narcissistic-competitive
     personality.  Just as she found security in submissiveness, I found
     security in dominance.  Our cultural differences played a part in
     this too.  I was raised in Northern New Jersey, in the New York City
     metropolitan area.  The people in North Jersey and New York City are
     all the same kind of "in your face personalities."  Though a friend
     was just kidding, he said to me, "Are you just naturally rude or do
     you come from New York."

     The point I'm making is that one of the things that has made our
     marriage work is the development of agape love--the choice to love.
     This is what the committment of marriage is all about.  Fay and I
     both have learned that we both brought some heavy baggage into the
     marriage, and even after all these years, we're still unpacking.

     Before I move on, I want to say one more thing about agape love as
     it relates to marriage.  There are some people whose philosophy of
     love is that if you fall in love, don't get married.  Just live
     together and see if it works.

     Do you see the insanity of this?  There's no committment to make it
     work.  If Fay and I had done this, we would have walked away within
     six months.

     Marriage is a committment to make the relationship work.  This is
     why my next session is going to be, "Marriage Is What You Make It."
     There I will take up typical problems in
     marriage where committment is essential to facing and solving the
     problems.  I'm talking about problems like sex, child rearing, money
     and inlaws, just to name a few.

     So then, agape is essential.  You get started by falling in love.
     Then you must choose to love--and this is the most noble of all of
     the loves.  Agape love is a major factor that saves couples who are
     falling out of love.


     Friendship in marriage is another type of love that rescues couples
     who are falling out of love.  Friendship in marriage requires that
     we understand at least two principles.

         1)  First, friendship is about something besides each other.  In
     the romantic phase of the marriage, all we can do is look dreamily
     into each others eyes.  Eros is a face to face relationship.
     Friendship, however, is a shoulder to shoulder relationship where we
     are looking at something else.

     One of the statements Shostrom uses in his Caring Relationship
     Inventory is, "I feel that we 'stand together' against the views of
     outsiders."  Shoulder to shoulder friends tend to see things the
     same way and stand together.  This is one of the reasons why they
     are friends.

     Another statement in Shostrom's CRI is, "My relationship with
     him/her is characterized by trust."  Though we may have different
     personalities and different interests, we tend to look at things the
     same way--whether it's raising children or how to spend money.  On
     political issues, we look at things the same way.  We trust each
     other because we are confident that we understand each other's
     outlook on life.

     If you've been married any length of time, you have discovered that
     the dreamy face to face experience of romance fades because of
     desensitization.  That is to say, when we repeatedly do something
     that feels good, it begins to lose it's kick.  Friendship takes a
     break from looking at each other to looking at those things that we
     both have in common.  Instead of face to face, we are shoulder to
     shoulder, enjoying something together besides our attraction to each

     But this can be a problem, particularly when the personality and
     interests of the man and woman are very different.  It is a truism
     that opposites attract.  We often see in the other person qualities
     we don't have and find desirable in marriage.  But this also may
     indicate a difference in interests.

     Fay and I have had this problem.  Her interest in reading and in
     television is fiction.  Mine is non-fiction.  I watch the History
     Channel on TV.  Fay likes to watch soaps.

     But there is something that we have in common.  Because of my love
     for music, I love to watch old movies, particularly the old musicals
     where there were large orchestras and
     beautifully costumed dancers. Because the stories are usually
     fictional and offer the fantasy that Fay finds in fiction, she
     enjoys it too.

     An exception to Fay's interest in fiction is her deep interest in
     the Bible.  Because I have a theological education, we will spend
     hours discussing what she has been reading and my answering
     questions about it.  Often her excellent questions will spur me on
     to further research to get the answer.  This common interest brings
     joy to me in study and conversation with her.

     Another difference is our attraction to water and water sports.  We
     live on the water and Fay loves to watch the boating and activity on
     the water.  But because she almost drowned when she was a teenager,
     she has a fear of being in or on the water.

      We own a boat, but she rarely goes out on it with me.  But she
     loves to watch when I, my sons and grandkids go out tubing and
     skiing.  At the ocean, she'll sit on the beach under an umbrella and
     watch us body surf.

     What I'm saying is that we can be very different, and have different
     interests, but we respect each other's differentness and permit each
     other the freedom to be different.

         2)  Second, freedom to be different is important.  Eros doesn't
     allow for freedom.  There is a strong element of possessiveness in

     Though we are not free to have romantic interests outside of
     marriage, we are free to be different from each other.  Yes, our
     differentness has created problems, but in the process of becoming
     friends, we have learned how to be different without creating
     problems for each other.

     Fay is a winter person.  She loves to be in the house and see it
     snowing outside.  I am a summer person and love to be outside where
     it is hot.  Fay will watch boating but she doesn't want to go boating.
     I, on the other hand, love boating.  I like to spend time living on
     the boat; Fay prefers the comfort of home.

     I love taking my boat to the Florida Keys and spending the month of
     January living on the boat.  I can cruise the Keys and enjoy the
     warm air, the warm water and snorkling.  One year, in the interest
     of developing out common interest, our shoulder to shoulder
     friendship, Fay agreed to go to Florida with me.  It just was not
     fun for her.  After a couple of weeks we came home.

     The next year as winter approached, she came to me rather timidly
     and asked if I was
     planning another Florida trip in January.  I told her I was.  She
     asked, with pleading in her voice, Would you mind if I don't go with

     I was so relieved!  The previous trip hadn't been fun for me because
     I knew she was just toughing it out for my sake.  We were sharing
     misery, not fun.

     We decided I'd go, and she'd stay home.  It worked beautifully.  I
     was able to do my thing--warm weather, water, boating and
     snorkling.  She was able to be warm and cozy in the house and watch
     the snow fall, watch TV and read.  In fact, she went out and bought
     a new TV.  I was happy to see her do it because it was something she
     enjoyed, and she spent a lot less money on her fun at home than I
     did in Florida.

     When I got home, we spent days telling each other of our adventures
     while apart--she in Virginia and I in Florida.  And we got an
     unexpected dividend from a friendship that respects
     differentness--the feeling of freedom.  That may sound strange for a
     couple married almost fifty-five years.  But even though you're
     married, you don't lose your individuality, with your own unique
     preferences, way of doing things and enjoyments, and a need for your
     own space.

     We each have our own space and separate beds.  I have converted half
     my garage into an office and study and have a foldout couch bed that
     I sleep on at night.  I can leave my place as messy as I want, and
     it doesn't bother her a bit.  She recognizes it as my space.  When
     I'm in the house, her space, I am very careful to respect how neat
     and clean she keeps it.  And she appreciates it, because neat and
     tidy is important to her self image.

     Shostrom, again, taps into this in the CRI with the statement, "I am
     able to expose my weaknesses to him/her easily."   Because of our
     trust in each other because we tend to look at things the same way
     and because we understand and respect each other's differentness, we
     are able to sharpen that understanding of each other by freely
     exposing to each other our weaknesses that give us problems.

     Fay has often spoken about how she often gets down on herself and
     explains what makes her do it.  I have had trouble all of my life
     with being driving and driven, and often it provokes impatience.
     I'm able to tell her when I'm having a problem with this because she
     knows me as a recovering driving/driven person.

     I've spoken about our different interests.  You may ask if we spend
     time together.  Yes, lots of time--just sitting and talking about
     what's going on in the world, in politics, about the Bible, our
     church, and most of all, our family and memories.  We have four
     sons, ten grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

     Yes, we have a lot in common to share, in spite of our
     differentness.  Our time together as friends is not face to face but
     shoulder to shoulder.  We have easy chairs in the family room, side
     by side.  There, we look out over the water remembering over a half
     a century together.


     The fourth type of love we must build into marriage is empathy.
     Though we often use sympathy and empathy synonymously, they are not
     the same.  Sympathy means that we have felt that way before.
     Empathy is the ability to enter into what the other person is
     feeling and feel it with them. It is a vicarious experience.  It is
     an emotional bonding with that other person.

     Shostrom captures empathy in his CRI with the statement, "I can tell
     what he/she is
     feeling even though nothing is said."  It is the developed ability
     to read the non-verbals.  Can you read your mate and know when
     something is wrong or something is troubling him or her just by the
     tone in the voice, body language or an expression on the face?
     Sometimes asking, Is everything all right, will let your husband or
     wife know that you're in tune with his or her mood.  This can be a
     very strong element in emotional bonding.

     You know the feeling of bonding in a sexual relationship.  Does your
     mate know the feeling of bonding with you when he or she is
     hurting--the bonding of empathy?

     Over the years I have had a lot of professional training and
     experience in working with people who are emotionally devastated.
     Sometimes the situation is so tragic and the pain is so unbearable,
     words sound cheap.  Don't say, "I know how you feel," and then
     to tell the grieving person your war story.  Sometimes, the only
     thing that helps is to put your arms around that other person and
     weep too.  Men, do you know how to weep with those who hurt?

     One of the significant differences between men and women comes into
     play here.  Men tend to be problem solvers.  They are head
     oriented.  Tell me the problem, and I'll tell you
     how to fix it.  Women tend to be heart oriented, or feeling

     Often, when a wife expresses a problem to her husband, she isn't
     telling him so he can solve it.  She wants him to listen and
     understand how she is feeling.  Many times, for women, just talking
     about a problem is the solution.  Women often realize after talking
     it out that it's not the problem she thought it was.  And by having
     someone to tell it to is far more effective than just thinking about
     it.  And when the problem is not solvable, the experience of talking
     it out, often with many tears, brings a catharsis--a relief--that
     could not be achieved otherwise.

     I often had clients with unresolved problems with deceased parents
     or others whom they were unable to talk to, and I used this as a way
     to help them get rid of this baggage.  I had them imagine that the
     significant other person was in the room in a separate, empty chair,
     and had them talk to that person as though he or she were there.
     Sometimes, I would play the role of the significant other.

     In short, our ability to love with empathy in marriage produces a
     bonding experience between husband and wife that we experience with
     no other kind of love.  I have actually seen a couple, whose
     marriage is in trouble, experience this bonding experience through
     the loss of a child.  It's almost as though they feel the child has
     died so their marriage might live.

     Your life together will give you many opportunities to develop
     empathy.   When problems arise, don't get out the calculator and try
     to solve the problem.  First, put your arms around each other and
     cry together.  Then, after you have no more tears to cry, talk about
     the problem, and see if there's a solution.  Just caring and talking
     about it may be the solution.


     The fifth and last love I want to talk about is self-love.  It may
     seem strange that I talk about self-love in the context of a
     husband/wife relationship.  Aren't we supposed to love others
     instead of ourselves?

     The answer to that is this.  We can't begin to love others unless we
     are fully functional persons ourselves.  We must understand that
     unless we have a healthy view of our own wants, wishes and needs,
     we're not going to have a healthy view of the wants, wishes and
     needs of our mate.

     You may be surprised that the Bible, that book about loving others,
     has a couple of important things to say about self-love.  When Eve
     was created from Adam's rib, Adam and Eve were called "one flesh."
     For this reason man was to leave mother and father and cleave to his
     wife as one flesh.

     This one flesh concept is repeated in the New Testament where the
     husband is to love his wife as his own body.  It says, "No man ever
     hated his own flesh but nourishes and cherishes it."  A healthy
     self-love enables us to love our mate in the same way we love

     Though I have been critical of my mother in this paper, I will say
     this for her.  She loved me and made me feel like a worthwhile
     person.  She enabled me to accept both my strengths and weaknesses,
     and because I am able to do this with myself, I am able to love my
     wife the same way--accept her with both her strengths and
     weaknesses.  I expect her to show self-love, to love herself,  in
     accepting her own strengths and weaknesses.

     Psychologist Eric Fromm once said, "Love of self and love of others
     are not alternatives, but run parallel."  A self-loving person is
     able to have a "nourishing" relationship with husband or wife
     because there is a sense of that one-flesh relationship.

     It may seem strange, but some people find their security in avoiding
     self-love.  It's called a masochistic personality.  Its major
     symptom is self-effacement--I am a worm; I am a nothing; I deserve
     all the bad things that happen to me.

     This person is usually the product of a home where the dominant
     parent sends the message, You are a nothing, a loser.  The child
     eventually figures out that when this message is accepted, the
     badgering is less intense.  As this person grows up, the strategy
     for survival is decision that goes like this:  Nobody will threaten
     or hurt me if I appear to be harmless, if I act like a nobody.  If I
     can convince others that I think very little of myself, nobody will
     try to hurt me.  I do a good job of that all by myself.

     This is the opposite of the dominant personality that says, You
     can't hurt me because I'm to strong and confident.

     The masochistic or self-effacing personality finds self-love a very
     threatening idea.  If other people get the idea that I think I'm an
     okay person, they just may be mean enough to show me that I'm not
     okay and that they can abuse me at will.

     The person who has grown up with constant humiliation by the
     dominant parent may well develop a self-effacing personality.  This
     can be a serious problem in marriage because the well-adjusted
     spouse may be burdened with unsuccessfully trying to assure the
     emotionally crippled  partner that he or she is worthwhile.  It can
     get discouraging and burdensome after a while.

     The other side of this problem is that the partner who has a healthy
     self-love may be criticized by the emotionally wounded mate for
     thinking to much of self and not thinking enough of other people.
     But because the wounded partner has such a warped view of life,
     normal self-love in the other partner is seen as thinking too much
     of self.


     The absence of any of these five loves, eros, agape, friendship,
     empathy and self-love, can create a dangerous void in the marriage
     that may hasten the process of falling out of love.  Competent
     counseling can go a long way to developing these qualities in a

     In my practice, I used the Caring Relationship Inventory as one of
     the tools to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the
     marriage.  I hope, that by describing these loves to you, and giving
     you some practical illustrations of how they work, I may put you on
     the road to assessing the strengths and weaknesses of your own

     Is falling in love enough?  No, it isn't!

                                    # # #

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