These practices come from understanding the influences of sex, destiny, heredity, personality, geography, culture, children, money, aging, addiction, lifestyle, illness, religion, law, gender, infidelity, energy and sexual orientation. The book also details where to find a great partner, the usefulness of marriage today, the power of consciousness and communication, a way to judge when love is authentic and the costs and consequences of divorce.
Whether entering a new relationship, working on one, considering leaving one, wondering why one didn't work, pondering why one did work, or just wanting to help a friend or relative, this practical and insightful look at relationships will help you see why things are as they are. Along with those insights, you will discover what might be done to change any condition; specific action derived from new knowledge about the "best practices" in successful partnerships.
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Read an Excerpt
The Odds Your Marriage Won't Survive
By Ronald A. LaJeunesse
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2015 Ronald A. LaJeunesse
All rights reserved.
SO YOU'RE IN LOVE!
"When you're in love it's the most glorious two and a half days of your life."
You met and married for this thing called love. Or perhaps you are searching for that "right" person who will love you unconditionally. Yet like most people, it is likely that you can neither define nor explain what love is. We covet this elusive thing that we don't understand and we refer to it all of the time. Most people will tell you they married for love. They will also tell you that they believe love is essential to a meaningful and lasting relationship.
But what else do we love? We are supposed to "love our neighbor." We love our partner. We love our children. We love our pets. We might say we love our home. Of course we love food and we may love our car. We say we love pretty much anything and anyone. In fact, the word love is probably the most overused word in the English language.
So what does the word love really mean? Interestingly, in spite of the many uses for the word, it's most intense and authentic meaning seems to be understood by children when we say we love them, or by a partner when we say we love them. In fact almost all human beings crave being told they are loved. They also feel compelled to tell those they really care for about their love. Even adult children will describe how important it is to have their aging parents express feelings of love.
But what are we really trying to say when we tell someone we are in love? The ancient Greeks theorized that there were different forms of love and their historical writings described four types: Agape, Philio, Storge and Eros. In it's simplest form, Agape love was described as a general kind of love that we strive to have for all of mankind. A kind of love that sees beyond the superficial dimension to the spiritual person within. Philio love can be described as a strong friendship. A love that is affectionate, warm and tender, but platonic in nature. The third form of love, the Greek's called Storge, the love that parents feel for their children. Storge is a love accompanied by commitment and sacrifice. Finally they described Eros, a passionate and intense love that arouses romantic interest and sexual activity.
Most of us have experienced all of those forms of "love," and perhaps in the absolute, each of them can be described as "true" or "real" love. Maybe they are all "authentic love," a term that is considered by many to be enlightened and progressive because it means "true, real and genuine." Or perhaps they all have the potential to be authentic love - if they contain certain criteria such as an intense feeling of passion, a strong connection, commitment and reciprocal benefit. Love relationships inevitably begin with strong feelings that we might call love, but in reality may just be lust. The feelings are intense and powerful all right, but if we are honest, they are initially based largely on energy and chemistry and they are assuredly mostly sexual in nature.
Psychologists will tell us that it is common for teenagers to confuse love with lust, but many adults do the same. In fact, if we watch contemporary movies or read magazines we will see that love and sex are viewed as one package. And perhaps they are, but there is more to it than that. Perhaps love and lust are not opposites as some authors profess, but rather, related. Perhaps lust is the first stage of love. Not that we might love everyone we have lusted for, but rather lust is the beginning of what could be love. Certainly it is a story that many a young man has told his date.
Poets, authors and spiritual leaders have tried to define love for centuries and now scientists are trying. It is surprising that medical science has taken so long, because it is pretty evident to everyone who has felt the emotions related to love, that there is a strong physical reaction. That racing heart, the flushed cheeks, the unwanted perspiration and the clammy hands. Inside the body, estrogen (women) and testosterone (men and women) runs rampant. Then twice a day sex.
We call it "love struck!" Scientists call it "monoamines," the secretion of extra dopamine, norepinephrine (adrenalin) and serotonin that give the participants a natural high. As relationships grow, additional chemicals play a role. The hypothalamus gland in the brain of both sexes produces oxytocin during orgasm and some scientists believe that it promotes intimacy and bonding. It is also released during childbirth, probably for the same reason, to help cement a bond between mother and child. We may see the following statement as good or bad news, but the theory goes that the more sex a couple has, the deeper their bond becomes.
As we can see, romanticists, authors and poets have tried to convince us that the heart is the center of love, but in reality it is the brain. The supreme emotion of love affects everything we feel, think, do and become, affecting not only our brains, but our bodies too - right to the cellular level. Science also tells us that we are all energy fields, that we are affected by and that we affect those around us through our energy vibrations. We feel the presence the energy - of people and events every day. This theory suggests that we are attracted to those who vibrate at the same frequency as we do, or we may feel rebuffed by those whose energy does not match ours. With all of this vibrating and element release, one could say that at least in the early stages of a relationship we are at the mercy of our body's chemistry, that love is driven by our genetic make-up and its interaction with our environment.
But spiritual leaders see love from a somewhat different perspective. They will tell us that they know both from the scriptures and intuitively, that attaining love is a major purpose for living and that a strong loving connection with others is essential to all that we find meaningful. Some argue that without love, we cannot even survive as a species.
Millions look to religion for guidance on how to live in a loving relationship and although churches vary in their structure and portrayal of their beliefs, if we look below the surface, there are many similarities. They all articulate beliefs that should support a strong marriage or partnership. They all profess to bring comfort and happiness to their people, they all have initiatives to reduce suffering, they all teach moral rules and they hold "love" to be the ideal state.
But religions often don't help, because what they say and do are quite different. They don't demonstrate unconditional love when their God meets out harsh punishment when "He" is offended. All of the world's religions were founded on a concept of unifying people in a caring environment, but most of them have at some time promoted their supremacy, using fear and violence to urge others to see the world "their way." That is hardly a wholesome example for people searching for ways to build a lasting relationship on a foundation of love.
So if religion and science don't have all of the answers, where do we look for a demonstration of what love really is? A love that must be "authentic love" and not the love of a hamburger. Perhaps the answer is within our own experience. If we think about the early stages of what we thought was a real love relationship - assuming we have had one - or perhaps we have observed one, or simply imagined what one should be like, there was or would be much more than a physical attraction. There is that physical attraction to be sure, where we, or they, as the case may be, had trouble staying out of bed. But as the relationship grows, there is an intense caring. Loving partners want nothing more than to make the other person happy. There is usually a desire to surrender the whole self to a person who is trusted and expected to return the caring in equal portions.
In this form of love there is a vested interest in one another's happiness. People in love say they can be more of who they truly are and they describe a greater serenity when in their loving partners company. Love is not about jealousy, competition, impressing or changing the other person. And it is certainly not about manipulation, control or violence. Nor is it about being perfect. People in love may have as many conflicts as those who are not in love, but the difference will be in the caring they have for one another and therefore how they resolve the conflict. For example, jealousy will be fleeting and replaced by trust. Disagreements will not include hurtful personal attacks and will usually be solved quickly.
Although there are many definitions and many uses for the word love, the true meaning seems to be quite understood within a close relationship, perhaps because of the emotion and energy that accompanies the declaration. The love feeling is not necessarily logical or rational, but it is compelling. It is also wise therefore, as a relationship begins to develop, to give some sober second thought as to whether one is feeling lust, love or something else entirely. So what are the essential pieces of authentic love? How will I know if what I am feeling is indeed authentic love? The answer is within three other "a" words. Authentic love contains the components of attraction, attachment and assurance.
The first reaction in most continuing relationships is attraction. Some people say their attraction was as simple as scent, but whatever the medium, the result is the stimulation of strong feelings. Without the chemistry, without the compatible energy, without a catalyst for greater sharing of who the parties are, it is rare that any couple will want to invest the time and energy necessary for the relationship to move to the next level.
In authentic love, attraction is followed by an attachment, not unlike a parent-child attachment. If an attachment doesn't materialize, the attraction that was thought to be love, can be branded as lust. Attachment comes with wanting more for the other human being than we wish for ourselves. In this case though, our partner feels the same way and the relationship is not about sacrifice as it is with a child. As we support, care and share the details of who we are within an accepting and understanding environment, the self-revealing behavior, when reciprocated, forms a stronger emotional bond and people grow closer and closer together. This movement towards intimacy is a crucial component of all relationships if they are to grow stronger and deeper.
As the attachment becomes more robust, the couple moves to a stage where they feel a certain security or "assurance" about the depth of the relationship. This third component reflects the knowledge that a partner cares for us intensely and will support us no matter what the circumstances. In summary, attraction, attachment and assurance are the underlying factors of truly authentic love, the substance of the instruments within the love toolbox of partnership practices.
Love and partnership practice
People who are strongly committed to one another will see the positive in each other, will want the best for their partner and will act accordingly, resulting in the building of a strong trusting relationship. The couple will then feel an intimacy reflective of authentic love.
Partnership practice 1.1: Assess the depth of feelings in your relationship against the criteria of authentic love - attraction, attachment and assurance.
Attraction, attachment and assurance, like our formal early education, these "A's" will help us get to where we want to go. They don't however guarantee long term success in a partnership, just as some "A" students never do excel. The "A's" can though, give us a better start. "Living happily ever after" is a myth; a misleading message about expecting the universe to give us the best without any need for us to work at it. While there are never guarantees, our opportunities will be much better with an "A" foundation than if we had built that base on three "D's" - deceit, dishonesty and distrust. Those that have "d's" in their initial experience can never expect much better from the relationship than a "c," corrections and consequences.CHAPTER 2
THE GREAT MOTIVATOR
"Among men, sex sometimes results in intimacy; among women, intimacy sometimes results in sex."
In the past, most people would have agreed with Ms. Cartland, claiming that men believed sex was much more important than intimacy. However, recent polls indicate that while there may be a hint of truth to the claim, what matters most to both genders is that the couple shares the same degree of feeling and sexual interest. While it may be unlikely that two people will have identical motivations and completely agree on sexual values, there does need to be a high degree of compatibility. Things will vary over time of course, such as during the hormonal cycles of either partner where increased or decreased interest may fluctuate. Interest also tends to diminish as people age.
To some degree today, but certainly in past generations, men were taught that sexual prowess was highly desirable; while women were taught that sexual modesty was preferable. Any degree of sexual prowess made women "slutty" and unappealing. These societal attitudes were then likely to influence the frequency and importance of sex in a marriage. For example, men might have felt slighted if their advances weren't responded to, while women might have felt pressured to have more sex than they were comfortable with.
Young women were often counseled to use sex as a source of reward, or as a weapon in order to influence their partner's behavior. Conversely men were taught that women should "honor and obey" and that meant, "sex on demand." To be turned down was a direct challenge to the man's masculinity and male ego, resulting in either feelings of being inadequate, or being a victim who wasn't receiving his due. In combination with these attitudes, talking about sex was taboo, so how were couples ever to resolve their differences?
In recent years the discussion of sexual issues and concerns has become more prominent and explicit in books, movies and within the home. In addition most young women are far less restrained and young men are finding that their "feminine side" is more socially acceptable. The positive side of this new openness is an improved willingness for partners to talk about their desires and differences and there are often many of them early in a relationship. Differences that come from various sources like religious values, life teachings, life experiences, trauma, genetics and even gender. Women for example may demand more physical affection that may have nothing to do with wanting more sex.
While many men have similar needs, they are less likely to admit them openly. Men are also more likely to interpret affection as an encouragement to have sex. And it might be. But it might also not be. There are also biological differences such as the time it takes to achieve orgasm. On average, a man will take four to ten minutes while the woman may take up to 13 minutes. There are of course techniques and even commercial products to help equalize those differences, but open communication is critical to having them work.
So how important is sex to a relationship? The answer is quite individual and comes down to a number of personal and spiritual beliefs. Notwithstanding this truism, sex for most is a vital part of a meaningful relationship. Sex can be casual and superficial, but within an authentic relationship it requires a deep level of communication where couples are more inclined to talk to each other about intimate emotional issues, including lovemaking preferences. To be intimate and divulging requires couples to be vulnerable, which in turn leads to a deeper level of acceptance and trust. This unique connection that lovers enjoy creates a vibrancy and passion that probably can't be created in any other way.
As a general rule a "low sex" marriage is frequently a recipe for problems, particularly if the individuals have different values and needs. If one spouse is yearning for more touch, physical closeness and more sex and their partner has no interest, a major "disconnect" occurs and intimacy at all levels is likely to diminish. When intimacy disappears, feelings of being unloved, unwanted and unappreciated are likely to fill the void. It will then be inevitable that less time will be spent together, fewer opportunities for fun will emerge and the relationship will be at risk for dissolution.
So if sex is important to a healthy relationship, how much of it should we experience? Statistically, a number of studies have concluded that on average, taking all ages into account, married couples in North America have sex twice a week, more than double that of the single person, but less than their European counterparts. If twice a week is the norm, is twice a week also the ideal? Actually it probably doesn't matter because frequency doesn't necessarily indicate a healthy relationship at all. Sex in a relationship is only as important as it is to the individuals in that relationship and in truth, frequency is not as important as quality, because quality requires mutual respect, trust and open and honest communication. It is therefore arguable that for most people, sex is an essential part of a healthy relationship; particularly in the early years. It is true that over time, many couples fall into a place of mutual comfort, where sex no longer plays a major role in their lives. Conversely, some couples keep the "magic" alive well into their seventies and beyond. They know and appreciate that sexual expression is an inherent and pleasurable experience with many benefits. The healthy sex life is quite simply a part of living, loving and growing together.
Excerpted from 50/50 by Ronald A. LaJeunesse. Copyright © 2015 Ronald A. LaJeunesse. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
ContentsPrologue: Lies, Damn Lies &, xi,
Section 1: Why Marriage?,
1. Love, 3,
2. Sex, 12,
3. Obsolescence, 21,
Section 2: Societal Reflections,
4. Gender, 31,
5. Geography, 38,
6. Culture, 43,
7. Religion, 50,
8. Laws, 57,
9. Homosexuality, 66,
Section 3: Finding a Partner,
10. Searching, 81,
11. Personality, 85,
12. Heredity, 98,
Section 4: Potential Hardships,
13. Money, 109,
14. Infidelity, 120,
15. Addiction, 128,
16. Illness, 142,
17. Aging, 149,
Section 5: Together or Apart,
18. Bedlam, 159,
19. Children, 165,
Section 6: Self Care,
20. Communication, 177,
21. Energy, 185,
22. Consciousness, 193,
23. Destiny, 204,
Epilogue Preparing a Recipe, 211,
Appendix Summary of Practices, 217,
THE AUTHOR, 235,