Celebrating the Magic of Love
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
In Dare to Lead, author and researcher Brené Brown writes, “To love is to be vulnerable” and she adds, “Vulnerability is the cornerstone of courage-building.” When we open up to love, we risk heartbreak and pain in exchange for connection and joy. However, accessing the magic of love has not been easy for the past couple of years due to the global pandemic.
You are not alone if your heart felt heavy trying to navigate the ever-changing terrain of relationships in a COVID-19 stricken world.
Nevertheless, if there is anything the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, it is that we need each other to not just weather the storms but to enjoy life to the fullest. We have a basic human need to feel emotionally connected to those we deeply care about. Emotional connection is not only good for our mental health but it also reduces stress, lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk for heart disease.
No doubt, the pandemic drastically changed the way we interact with friends, loved ones and family. Sometimes, however, it is disconnection that brings us closer to what we value the most.
Why should we care about having great relationships? World renowned relationship expert and scientist Dr. John Gottman poses this question in one of his TEDx Talks, “The Science of Love.” You might have a hunch as to why relationships are important in our lives but let’s explore the scientific perspective first.
Evidence suggests that great love relationships lead to greater health, wealth, resilience, faster recovery from illness, longevity and more successful children. It turns out that this is the magic of love.
The proof is in the pudding
It is no secret that science is fueled by rigorous research. Since 1986, Dr. Gottman and colleagues have been studying couples to find out what makes love so magical. The studies they have done over the past 40 years show that the magical formula centers around three key factors: physiological calm, trust and commitment.
In their “love lab,” Dr. Gottman and colleagues found that couples who were physiologically calm; those who had lower heart rates, sweated less when they were together had, in fact, great relationships. These couples also treated one another with kindness. Moreover, Dr. Gottman explains in his TEDx talk that when couples feel calm, they not only listen better but they are also more empathetic towards each other.
Trust is another ingredient in the magical formula of love. Dr. Gottman describes trust as the ability of a couple to see the world through the perspective of their partner. He suggests that this shift in perspective helps couples build trust and act in ways that benefit both of them. In essence, balancing “we” and “I” is critical in creating trust in a relationship to ignite the magic of love.
Last but not least, Dr. Gottman suggests that commitment creates a safe space where both partners are pulled into the magic of love. The magic is activated when each partner is able to cherish one another and feel gratitude for the love that is shared between them.
Now it is your turn! Do you think there is magic in love? How can you create calm, trust and commitment in your own relationships?
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- 4. Brown, B. (2018). Dare to Lead Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. Vermilion.