Watched a fascinating special on PBS about marriages and how they survive. For example, the importance of talking, touching and appreciating each other daily, which seems basic but is easily forgotten. It also looked at the ways in which individuals were raised, how that caused them to deal with stress in everyday life and within a relationship. Most interestingly to me, it looked at the ways couples look at each other.
When your happy and satisfied with your significant other they look more attractive to you; when you’re upset, they look slightly less attractive. Furthermore, when you fall in love the brain actually reacts in ways that would seem counter-intuitive: it both rewards you and makes you more stupid.
People in love, while looking at pictures of their significant others, actually increase blood flow to the rewards center of the brain- you’re rewarded when you see the face of the person you love, hence you want to be with them as much as possible. Beyond that though, the brain actually limits blood flow to the social centers of the brain, decreasing what could best be described as common sense. Love endorses actions that do not benefit the person in their natural environment.
Apparently these feelings exist thanks to the process of evolution. Stay with your partner, love your children, regardless of situation etc. However, the show also mentioned that “love” tends to fade after two or three years, so I have a hard time seeing the evolutionary benefit. And what’s more, I don’t believe it. Show me a mother who loves her child less after two or three years. What then makes couples fall out of love? Or should the question be are we really supposed to be in love for more than two or three years?
Obviously we can be in love for more than two or three years- my parents have been married for more than 25 years. So to maximize the chance of a successful marriage, should everyone date for three years before they get married or have kids, just to see if they fall out of love?
Obviously I have no idea- I haven’t any kind of expertise, only general interest. For what it’s worth, I think finding basic compatibility and working hard at the relationship are all you can do. So that’s my plan. No doubt I’ll read this in 5 years after my first divorce and have nothing but derisive laughter at my current naivete. Ah well. At least I’ll get some on the honeymoon.