stages, you feel so euphoric and excited when love synergistically
combines with sex. It is probably life's greatest emotional "high" for us
romantics. Love is so universal, it must be biological. We need to be
close and affectionate; we need to share our experiences and feelings;
we need the security of being cared for; we enjoy caring for others;
we need to be reassured that we matter; we need to be touched,
stroked, and kissed; we need sincere affection and passionate sex.
To get the acceptance and love we need, we should understand
love relationships. They are complex, sometimes starting with
infatuation and sometimes with friendship. After several months, the
relationship may evolve into secure, comfortable, warm attachment.
Later, love may keep or loose its passion, may gain or loose
commitment, may retain its positive intimacy, fade away, or become a
hotbed of smoldering resentment. Love is also paradoxical. Like most
things that give us great joy, love can also cause us great pain. Thus,
we are excited but scared to ask for a date; we are crushed when a
boy/girlfriend leaves us; almost 50% of marriages end in painful
divorce, other marriages are "empty;" we are disappointed when
passionate love turns to boredom; we are flooded with anger and an
awesome sense of loss when a spouse is unfaithful; we may feel
sexually inadequate even with our spouse; our greatest frustrations
and resentments are often with our lover; the death of a loved one is
our worst moment. We often hurt the people we love. And, although
the threat of pain shouldn't stop us from loving, it does sometimes.
Considering the current emphasis on sex, sexually transmitted
diseases, postponing marriage, materialism, marital problems, the
divorce rate, and being successful in a career, one might suppose that
"love is dead." Not true! Although only 1 in 3 high school seniors
believe people are happier and have fuller lives if they marry, 9 out of
10 say marriage and family are important to them. In fact, more of us
marry today than ever before in history, well over 90% of us. And,
indeed, even if we marry and suffer through a divorce, 80% of us will
get married again. "Hope springs eternal" in most human hearts.
Remarriage is the triumph of hope over experience.
We value marriage but marriages in the U.S. are changing--thirty
or forty years ago it was mom, dad, and three or four kids. Now it is
often mom, step-dad, one child, and one or two kids (full-time or part-
time) from a former marriage. More than half of all children live with a
step or a single parent. Not only are the actors different, but the roles
have changed in the last 30 years too. We have fewer children, so
mom and dad's relationship with each other is more important and