The Discipline of Love


Anyone who has fallen in love knows that it is a wonderful experience like no other.

You find yourself thinking about your new love constantly.  Spending time together is exciting, fun, and full of pleasant surprises.

Sex and physical intimacy are great.

If you have fallen in love, you also know that at some point infatuation and passion eventually give way to the realities of being in a committed relationship.

Today’s post will:

  • Briefly explain the stages of romantic love.
  • Provide some ideas and actionable steps that will help you to build more deeply satisfying romantic relationships.

Conscious, mutually empowering relationships just don’t magically happen; we must create them.

Before proceeding, I will briefly review the stages of romantic love.

The four stages of romantic love are:

  1. Romantic Feelings
  2. Physical Attraction
  3. Emotional Attachment
  4. Unconditional Acceptance and Long Term Commitment

Understanding the stages of romantic love can help you to make more mutually empowering choices.

Romantic Feelings

The first stage of romantic love is largely dominated by our biologically.  We are instinctively driven to find a partner and procreate.

You naturally tend to see your new partner as perfect, ideal, custom made for you: the sky is the limit.

You feel exhilarated and even “high”.

This stage of love can best be summed up as infatuation.

Physical Attraction

During the second stage of romantic love your experience continues to be largely shaped by your biology.

You begin to see the possibility of a new life with your new love and therefore try to exercise some control over their actions.

“Power struggles” begin to emerge as you try and shape your new partner into your ideal love.

The idea of “mutual commitment” begins to form as your infatuation begins to wear off and you become more present to the both the possibilities and the challenges of your deepening relationship.

Emotional Attachment

This is the stage where things become progressively more practical and focused on the long term.

It is in this stage of romantic love that you begin to seriously explore commitment, partnership, and may even discuss the possibility of having children together or combining families if you already have children.

You become acutely aware of your partner’s positive and negative qualities.

Fear of intimacy and, ultimately, fear of rejection often prevents many folks from both sexes from becoming more deeply connected and committed.

Arguments, confrontation, and more frequent power struggles often occur in this stage.

This is the phase where folks often ‘bail” and either consciously or unconsciously sabotage the relationship.

This is also the stage of romantic love where folks either consciously or unconsciously begin to move toward a committed, long-term relationship.

Unconditional Acceptance and Long Term Commitment

This stage represents the beginnings of a consciously formed, mutually empowering relationship.

In this stage you have both come to truly see each other much more accurately and have made the conscious choice to build a committed partnership together.

The above discussion is intended to provide a general framework from which to understand the process of ‘falling in love’ and how mutually empowering relationships begin to form.

Now on to the Discipline of Love

I will begin by sharing a favorite quote.

“The art of love is largely the art of persistence.”

Source: unknown

From one perspective love is a choice.

People who have managed to make long-term romantic relationships work have consistently told me, “Things were not always easy”.

When I ask them, “Was it worth it”, almost all of them reply with an enthusiastic “Yes”.

Many couples go on to tell me about their struggles and how deeply fulfilling it is to have stayed the course.

Once you make a deep commitment to another human being, the universe conspires to assist you.

Put another way, “A deep commitment enlists the unwavering support of universe.” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe).

Deep commitment awakens unseen forces within us and gives us access to our deepest, most adaptive resources.

This is because a deep, unwavering commitment unifies our consciousness.

“The light of the body is the eye; if therefore thy eye be made single, thy whole body shall be filled with light”.

Matthew 6:22 King James version, attributed to Christ Jesus

This is the power of consciously chosen, unwavering commitment.

Some Actionable Steps:

Keep the lines of communication open

When something is ‘bugging’ you, find the right time and just ‘spill the beans’.

It is the things that we don’t share with our partners that come back and bite us.

The truth is that people, especially women, are very, very intuitive and almost always know, at some level, that something is not being disclosed.

As one famous actor once said, “They always find out any … save yourself a lot of trouble and just tell the truth!”

Open communication invites and supports more open communication.

Conscious deception creates both internal conflict and sets the stage for a never ending ‘tit for tat’, blame based culture that only leads to more deception and injury.

The Power of Apology

It is never too late to take full ownership of a mistake and simply say that you are sorry.

A sincere, heart felt apology generally opens the door for forgiveness.  If you know that you really screwed up- fully own your mistake and say that you are sorry.

The Power of True Forgiveness

Naturally, the other side of the coin is being willing to completely forgive and forget.

Mature people don’t keep score.  What’s the point, No one really ever wins.

The only real winners in the game of love are those who can humbly own their mistakes, genuinely ask their partners for forgiveness and respond in kind when they are asked to do the same.

I sincerely hope that you found this post inspiring and useful.

I invite you to support our community by posting a comment or question on my blog.

I am here if you need me.

See you next week.

Live, connect, love and prosper

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1 Comment »

Comment by williamtrimpi
April 22, 2014 @ 6:42 am

Thank you Ron–it’s nice to read an over view of a large part of my
physical, mental, and emotional existence in the past 18 years with a partner.—Rainbows—Bill

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