Ah, love. It’s like a drug no one is immune to. Once we get a taste of it, addiction is bound to happen ;-)

But love isn’t just doe-eyed romance. There’s a lot more to it, and as Dr. Block says, “the test of love comes over time.” Check out his article below, and you’ll discover a whole new side of being in a relationship. From being open to being yourself, there are significant nuggets of wisdom in there.

Check it out and of course, drop a comment. I want to know how you manage to keep a relationship fiery and filled with love.

The Beginning of Love

Joel Block, Ph.D.

drblock color pictureThe beginning of love is wonderful. It is the subject of songs and the theme of movies; it has created an industry in fiction writing, the romance novel. But the test of love comes over time, the time beyond the courtship and honeymoon phase. It is in the long-term relationship that our capacity to maintain the vitality and energy of love is challenged.

The Challenge

The challenge goes beyond simply getting along. There are lots of couples who get along but whose relationship lacks spark. Some of these couples have excluded anything controversial from their relationship in an effort to keep the peace. It is peace that comes with a price.

Not being genuinely open because it may “stir things up” is precisely the wrong thing to do. The spark comes from being emotionally open in a relationship and allowing the other person to do the same.

Joel D. Block, Ph.D., is an award-winning psychologist practicing couple and sex therapy on Long Island, New York. A Diplomate of the American Board of Professional Psychology, Dr. Block is a senior psychologist on the staff of the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Medical Center and an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Einstein College of Medicine. For 20 years, he was the supervisor of the Sexuality Center at Long Island-Jewish Medical Center. Dr. Block is the author of over 20 books on Love and Sex.

Being Open

Being open requires that we make our feelings known when we talk about things that are important to us and that we stay emotionally connected to our love partner when he or she thinks, feels, and believes differently; we don’t waste our energy trying to change or fix each other.

Yes, creating and maintaining a vibrant love through the process of revealing yourself, warts and all, can be a frightening prospect.

Ditch the Caution

To do otherwise, to play it safe and avoid the risk of being open, or to discourage your partner’s openness because it doesn’t conform to your views is the most significant risk of all. It will, with certainty, drain the relationship and leave it empty. The excitement of the early days will become a distant memory to be mourned. This is so because the liveliness of love relationships, the very core energy of love, is fed by the openness that comes from the heart. Real love involves opening your soul to the person you love.

The Need for Approval

It’s ironic that people who are sharing their lives are often less open with each other than they are with other people who are not as crucial to their lives. And therein lies the rub. It is because a person is important in our life that we become guarded. Their view of us matters more; they are central to our lives, and we want their validation. We want to avoid their disapproval.

We want them to see things our way, especially those things that are dear to us. If one is excited by a movie, he or she wants the other to be excited as well. If one has a painful experience and is upset, and the other is not, that may cause a problem; one or both feel the other is reacting improperly. If one feels like sex and the other doesn’t there is resentment.

The demand is, “feel like me, think like me and behave like me.” But we are each different and may feel differently, think differently and behave differently at times. Demanding otherwise doesn’t work!

Which are You?

When I go into a restaurant and glance at the couples, there’s a palpable difference in energy levels. Some couples are animated; others are staring past each other. Often the energized couples are dating, and the stale couples are married. The married couples have already talked about the kids and gossiped… there’s not much left they’re willing to get into.

They’re playing it safe—and that is the problem. To avoid their partner’s disapproval, they’ve eliminated the energy and passion from the relationship. Playing it safe, their solution, has become the problem!

Reach Out

Does your relationship have that dating energy of the early days, or has it been whittled down to topics that are safe? Not sure? Ask your partner!

Guide to Inspired Life
FinerMinds Team

FinerMinds Team

In our quest to boost your personal growth, we hope to inspire and support you through our content! You can also check us out on Facebook.

10 Comments

  • My challenge to all readers of my article: Getting naked with your lover (taking off your clothes) is easy. Do it the hard way, get figuratively naked! Keep your clothes on and let your lover see your heart by being open and fully real.

    And that is the point of an adult love relationship–having the courage (and privilege) to be your transparent self. As children we are influenced to live up to our parents' vision. As an adult in a love relationship it is time to live up to our own vision and uniqueness.

    Joel Block, Ph.D.

  • My challenge to all readers of my article: Getting naked with your lover (taking off your clothes) is easy. Do it the hard way, get figuratively naked! Keep your clothes on and let your lover see your heart by being open and fully real.

    And that is the point of an adult love relationship–having the courage (and privilege) to be your transparent self. As children we are influenced to live up to our parents' vision. As an adult in a love relationship it is time to live up to our own vision and uniqueness.

    Joel Block, Ph.D.

  • What you say here is true. I am 5 months into a whirlwind relationship that has been the most exciting thing in my life. The challenges have been many and the emotional repercussions almost destroyed what we had. Being open to each other is everything. Sometimes honesty and transparency seem frightening, but if you truly care about your partner and yourself, it is vital that you be yourselves. By letting the other person be himself, you are allowing unconditional love to set the premise for a beautiful, long-lasting and fulfilling relationship.

  • Sandra says:

    What you have said is so true,it made so much sense to me. I've been married for 21 years,and I have been "playing it safe",I usually try to avoid confrontations. I've been doing this for 20 and a half years. I've been trying to get on with life and keep peace and while I've been doing this I feel a part of me has been slowly dieing. My husband is used to me as I have always been,I get the cold treatment if I try to push forward a need or a belief,is it too late to try what you suggest?

  • Sandra says:

    What you have said is so true,it made so much sense to me. I've been married for 21 years,and I have been “playing it safe”,I usually try to avoid confrontations. I've been doing this for 20 and a half years. I've been trying to get on with life and keep peace and while I've been doing this I feel a part of me has been slowly dieing. My husband is used to me as I have always been,I get the cold treatment if I try to push forward a need or a belief,is it too late to try what you suggest?

  • Sandra, in my view if there is life there is possibility. Okay, you are not going to transform your relationship overnight, and you may not even fully transform it, but…if you become the model of openness that you want–and your delivery is sensitive to your husband's feelings, that's a great start.

    If you need encouragement go to <a href="http://www.DrBlock.com” target=”_blank”>www.DrBlock.com and click on the Personal Statement (left navigation bar). My love life had plenty of obstacles–practically all of which I brought! Yet persistence and learning helped me overcome.

    Best wishes to you and your effort!

    Dr. B.

  • Sandra, in my view if there is life there is possibility. Okay, you are not going to transform your relationship overnight, and you may not even fully transform it, but…if you become the model of openness that you want–and your delivery is sensitive to your husband's feelings, that's a great start.

    If you need encouragement go to ” target=”_blank”>http://www.DrBlock.com and click on the Personal Statement (left navigation bar). My love life had plenty of obstacles–practically all of which I brought! Yet persistence and learning helped me overcome.

    Best wishes to you and your effort!

    Dr. B.

  • Joshua says:

    “We can speak to you of the Creator’s Unconditional Love, but we cannot fathom the immensity of that Love, which the Father of All bestows upon each of us. The true immensity of His Love can only be guessed at, imagined perhaps, only to some degree experienced for now, and it must await our future progress for it to become clearer in our minds, fully soul-felt and realized, absorbed, thrived upon, and spread around in its never-depleting supply.

    “We all, who clamber upwards from the very dust of this earth, however, have been given the means to, in time, arrive at making it our own to at last fully comprehend that it is Love that makes the world go round, the time-space universes the oldest single curriculum learning institutions of the realm. We are at a loss to fully understand the grandeur of His Love, but we do have the stepping stones laid out upon our terrestrial paths to begin to comprehend.

    “We all, diverse personalities, disparate in motivation, have the task of truly getting to understand each other, although not necessarily getting onto the same page. Without such understanding of ‘the other’ there can be no respect for the personality — no more for that than for his or her goals. Without respect for same can there be no admiration for the other person’s dreams, and without admiration for such dreams of achievement and striving can there be no lasting love.

    “To be sure, at all times the Father’s Love is so abundant as to provide for a temporary respite from these Universal Laws that give rise to mere intrigue and infatuation, a need to care and be cared for, a feeling of safety with the other, familiarity, comfort, yes, pity, and more. This hierarchy of understanding, respect, admiration, and love must be sustained and grow, and only your misunderstandings, disrespect, and disapprovals will destroy the love in you.

    “Nurture forever your ability to progressively ‘ascend towards’ Unconditional Love in pure veneration reserved for the Master Creator of All. My love goes to all who will imprint this simple lesson upon their hearts.

  • Joshua says:

    “We can speak to you of the Creator’s Unconditional Love, but we cannot fathom the immensity of that Love, which the Father of All bestows upon each of us. The true immensity of His Love can only be guessed at, imagined perhaps, only to some degree experienced for now, and it must await our future progress for it to become clearer in our minds, fully soul-felt and realized, absorbed, thrived upon, and spread around in its never-depleting supply.

    “We all, who clamber upwards from the very dust of this earth, however, have been given the means to, in time, arrive at making it our own to at last fully comprehend that it is Love that makes the world go round, the time-space universes the oldest single curriculum learning institutions of the realm. We are at a loss to fully understand the grandeur of His Love, but we do have the stepping stones laid out upon our terrestrial paths to begin to comprehend.

    “We all, diverse personalities, disparate in motivation, have the task of truly getting to understand each other, although not necessarily getting onto the same page. Without such understanding of ‘the other’ there can be no respect for the personality — no more for that than for his or her goals. Without respect for same can there be no admiration for the other person’s dreams, and without admiration for such dreams of achievement and striving can there be no lasting love.

    “To be sure, at all times the Father’s Love is so abundant as to provide for a temporary respite from these Universal Laws that give rise to mere intrigue and infatuation, a need to care and be cared for, a feeling of safety with the other, familiarity, comfort, yes, pity, and more. This hierarchy of understanding, respect, admiration, and love must be sustained and grow, and only your misunderstandings, disrespect, and disapprovals will destroy the love in you.

    “Nurture forever your ability to progressively ‘ascend towards’ Unconditional Love in pure veneration reserved for the Master Creator of All. My love goes to all who will imprint this simple lesson upon their hearts.

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