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Relational Reflections: Yes, another blog, and this one’s from Dr. Nadine and Dr. Zan at True Heights

Falling in Love

Thoughts from Dr. Zan:

Do you remember the first time you fell in love? I will never forget it. I was nine years old, and I became an aunt for the very first time. In my head I knew that I would feel a bond with this little person when I met her, but I had no idea how my heart would respond--how consuming and glorious the feeling of falling in love would be. Since that point in time, I have been fortunate to fall in love many times, in a variety of relationships. That beautiful feeling just never gets old. However, once you settle into, or as some of my colleagues would say, habituate to the feelings associated with being in love, some of the brightness can fade as the real work of relating begins and persists.

Yet, I have to wonder what it would look like if we reminded ourselves of this feeling and experience of falling in love a bit more often. It would probably look a lot like the vulnerability that Brene’ Brown promotes in her recent book “Daring Greatly,” which currently sits prominently on my night stand. Making ourselves vulnerable to others can feel daunting, and yet, when it comes to offering love, isn’t it really better to put it all out on the table? As has often been my conversation with the young people who have lived in my own home, I would argue that you save yourself no heartache by withholding your love. You merely increase the likelihood that the relationship will not blossom to its full potential.

So today I offer the challenge to find ways and places to fall in love, perhaps all over again or to fall in love anew. Fall in love with your partner, with your children, with your friends, with your work, with your passions, and dare I say--with yourself!

Reflections from Dr. Nadine:

It’s very early in the morning, and I’m watching the dawn break over the Chesapeake Bay.  It’s cloudy and the wind is fierce. The masts of the boats in dry dock are slightly swaying and their canvas covers appear to be gyrating out of control.  The grasses are dancing, spinning and bending, while the water’s surface is rough and ragged, moving fast as the wind presses it toward the shore.

I’m sitting in my hotel room, from where I can see this intense picture unfolding.  It actually looks a bit scary, as I see nature’s force in its dramatic expression. But as I look more closely and carefully, I can see little shore birds dotting the shallows around the small island offshore.  They seem undaunted by the howling gale. Other birds are taking flight, soaring and dipping, using the swirling air to propel them upward.

It occurs to me that this is very much like falling in love.  The dawn breaks on the day of your new relationship, yet it’s still too early to see what it will be as it develops.  In the morning of the relationship, it becomes brighter, and its newness is exciting. It holds unlimited potential, and you revel in the happiness and pleasure it brings.  Your imagination about its future is fueled by the freshness it bestows on your life.

As the day (the relationship) progresses, the novelty begins to fade.  The clouds roll in, covering the sunny quality you’ve previously relished.  In fact, the gale-force winds may begin to blow, driving you to run for cover.

And then, you see the shore birds.  They are out there, reminding you that the storms and difficulties around you are just part of the day.  This is just another part of being in a relationship. Sometimes it will be shiny, sometimes dull, sometimes difficult, sometimes easy.  The important part is to persist through the wind. Sometimes the moving air twists you when you encounter something unexpected in the relationship.  But making yourself vulnerable to the air flow, spreading your arms bravely and catching the wind currents can help you soar to new heights with your loved ones.

You know the sun will come out again.

True Heights