Each of us, as individual people, lovers, and parents, are wired for love! This article will summarize two excellent books that are a must read for people who want to become better lovers: Martin Rovers, Healing the Wounds in Couple Relationships (Kindle Books), and Stan Tatkin, Wired for Love. When we work hard to understand our own and our partner’s attachment style and emotional wiring for love, we can become more mindful of, and healing for love in our life.
Rovers tells us that there are five stages of love. Love begins within our family of origin school in which each of us learned love, for better or for worse. Parents are the luck of the draw, and if we have healthy parents who taught us good love, lucky you. If our parents were a touch more dysfunctional, sorry to hear that, but it was not our fault. And so, we each have a wound or two … perhaps unfinished business from childhood, or an attachment injury, like an insecure attachment style, or some irrational schema like “I am not good enough.” These wounds are quite deeply ingrained in our psychological unconscious ways of loving others: family, friends, and especially partners. The quality of our attachment in childhood to primary caregivers becomes the internal working model which we will repeat in our attachment to partner in adulthood. The wounds of childhood dance in couple relationships. This is easy to observe as partners repeat the “damn same old ways” to try to be loved better by the other.
It is time to change the couple dance. Therefore, healing needs to take place at two levels: re-creating the emotional connection with our partners, and thus, doing the work of love with each other, AND re-creating our relationships with our parents to reflect adult to adult communication, respect and love. Love relationships take emotional and conversational work, or else they only function badly! The aim of couple work, be that reading one of these good books together, or couple therapy, is to re-visit “stuck” or insufficiently understood attachment wounds in the ‘there and then’ of one’s childhood development; and to re-create more positive biological and psychological functioning in the ‘here and now’ of our love relationships.
Tatkin presents different ways in which couples can learn the art of making love, and not war! Tatkin talks about the couple bubble, as a way you can keep each other safe and secure. He suggests that each of us have chosen the right partner, unconsciously, and we need to learn to keep a safe environment around us to protect each other. Love demands that we need to know our partner: to learn how does he or she really works, and becoming accepting of our own and our partner’s wounds from childhood. When we appreciate each other’s wounds, we can find the “repair” words and actions that our partner needs from us. We need to practice what really makes your partner feel good. Each partner has an attachment style: one is an Island (avoidant) while the other will be a Wave (preoccupied). We choose the gifts of these attachment styles when we fell in love with our partner: now we also need to learn to heal and sooth our partner in this very woundedness.
Two last thoughts:
- First, talk nice to each other and listen well
- And secondly, hug a lot: practice the 20 second non-erotic, soothing, ‘I love you” hug at least once a day
– Martin Rovers, Marriage and Family Therapist
Serenity Renewal for Families