The Sunday Review section of the New York Times has an article which is titled “New Love: A Short Shelf Live”. The article goes on to say that the thrill of falling in love has a “short shelf life” and fades after two years. “Then the joy wears off.” “We are in the throws of what researchers call passionate love, a state of intense longing, desire, and attraction.” The hope is that the early passion can then develop into a more mature love with the goal of being able to plan a life together. Too often, however, this does not happen. What seems to happen instead is that passionate love is followed by disillusionment. The couple either then breaks up or they stay together feeling disappointed and discontented. The question we have to ask is how do we as clinicians help young couples sustain the period of disillusionment and help them work through the conflicts so that the marriage grows stronger.
Many couples come into PARC when the blush of love has worn off. The realities of day to day life with the pressures that come with planning a family, money issues, demands of time and work, meeting each other’s emotional needs and the demands of parents and in-laws all impinge upon a marriage. The blush of LOVE has worn off and the couple is horrified to find that they are repeating in their own marriage the patterns from their parents’ marriage that they have sworn to get away from. On the positive side, this is the perfect time to enter into couple’s therapy. The problems are still fresh, and the desire to have a good life together out weigh both the negative feelings and the pull to repeat negative patterns from the past.
Got thoughts or opinions on this topic? A helpful anecdote you want to share? Feel free to leave a comment.