After 30 years of working with couples and researching how people repaired their relationships, I suddenly realized that we had really reached a pivotal moment; all our studies, stories, and the science had come together, and we were in the midst of a revolution—a new way of truly understanding romantic love. Finally we can grasp the laws of love—and they make sense!
We have cracked the code of love and have found the pathway to the relationships we long for. You can create a fulfilling, safe-haven relationship, restoring the romantic love bond, beginning now:
1. Abandon the out-of-date idea that love is something that just happens to you.
All the new science tells us that romantic love is no longer a mystery. It makes perfect sense. You can learn its laws. You have more control over this riot of emotion than you think! What you understand, you can shape. The first step is to decide to learn about love and the new science of bonding.
2. Every day, try openly reaching out to someone and asking for their attention or affection.
Accept that you are a mammal and that love is an ancient, wired-in survival code. You are happier, healthier, stronger, deal with stress better, and live longer when you foster your bonds with your loved ones. It is OK to need them; they are your greatest resource. We are not designed for self-sufficiency. The strongest among us accept this need for connection and risk reaching for others.
3. The next time you feel uncertain or worried or anxious, try just mentioning this to your partner and taking their hand, or noticing their emotional signals and reaching for their hand.
The bonds of love offer us a safe haven where we can take shelter and regain our emotional balance. The latest study in our lab shows that just holding your loved one’s hand can calm your brain and shut down fear.
4. See if you can notice some times when you find openness hard, and you become defensive or distant or shut down.
We know that emotional openness and responsiveness are the ground on which solid, lasting bonds stand. See if you can take the initiative and share with your partner, helping him/her understand what makes it hard to be open at this time.