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Relationships

3 Essentials for Staying in Love

Is new love the truest form of love?

Key points

  • Researchers have found that the most positive feeling that reduces inflammatory and disease-causing chemicals in the body is the state of awe.
  • Feelings of awe appear to be a component of first love.
  • Being in love requires practicing intimacy. When people are mutually intimate, research shows they have longer and healthier lives.

How many people wish the initial rush of “being in love” could last? While some may dismiss these feelings as infatuation or human evolution’s way of baiting people to procreate and perpetuate the species, others suggest that the first stages of love might represent its truest expression. Bruce Lipton, author of The Biology of Belief and The Honeymoon Effect, maintains that the initial feelings of falling in love yank people from their self-obsessive autopilot-driven thoughts and behaviors and drop them into the beautiful, magic moment.

A person newly in love sees the other as flawless, and all of their idiosyncrasies as precious and adorable. Empathy, compassion, communication, and understanding are at an all-time high. Moreover, the love gets transferred onto other areas of life, so the world seems brighter; sunsets are more radiant, and the wind feels like magic pixie dust connecting every living organism.

While the modern world tends to dismiss the first blush of love as comparable to a drug-induced high that cannot be trusted, Lipton believes that new love may be the more authentic love as it serves as a wakeup call to the genuine experience of the world—and falling out of love means a person is falling back into their unconscious conditioned habits that are largely filled with negative perceptions. Thus, the beloved who was once charming becomes annoying and the dancing butterfly that once seemed to perform a ballet in synchronization to a divinely orchestrated symphony of nature sounds now appears like a pesky pest, if it's noticed at all.

Interestingly, researchers have found that the most positive feeling that reduces inflammatory and disease-causing chemicals in the body is the state of awe—and awe feelings appear to be a component of first love. For people in love, and in a state of awe, awe can feel like gratitude on steroids—but without the drugs. In fact, drugs and mind-altering chemicals like alcohol actually get in the way of experiencing awe states. So do distractions like the internet and cell phones. Perhaps that’s why new love feels so freeing: It rescues the person from a self-imprisoned mundane existence that is not fully conscious. Love brings a person back to life, like breathing into the lungs does after the rescue of a drowning person.

How does one sustain love?

1. Try to keep seeing the person with new eyes. Be mindful when you are projecting your feelings onto a partner—like being critical of them when, in reality, it’s your own self-critic that beats you up and is now beating on them. Seeing the person with new eyes can help one to be a better listener and to appreciate that everything about that person is special.

2. Being in love means practicing intimacy. Intimacy has been described as “into-me-see” and can feel sacred between people. When people are mutually intimate, research shows they have better quality of life, longer and healthier lives, increased immune functioning, improved memory, heightened creativity—and more experience of awe states. Intimacy means listening fully to someone’s heart and deepest feelings and sharing your heart and deepest feelings. Intimacy means trying to listen and understand when someone is hurt, and working through conflict with each other in ways that honor and respect the relationship. Intimacy means hanging in there and building mutual trust, safety, and heart-to-heart resonance. Intimacy means having self-awareness and decreased defensiveness. Intimacy does not seek to harm, punish, blame, attack, condemn or criticize. It is not abusive; it is therapeutic.

3. Being in love means keeping the adventure alive. Working together to give to and uplift others is an important form of being in love. Many couples have children and grandchildren and tend to see the fruits of their love as something larger than themselves. Being in love means a loss of selfishness, pride, and ego. It seeks to make the world a little better and brighter for others. Being in love is humble and, temporally, exists in the right here, right now. Being in love is a state of mind that can include a specific beloved or become a state of living you can adopt in every moment.

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