There are many kinds of loving relationships. This chapter will help you to clarify your views and values about love
Discuss Love is essential for both physical and psychological wellbeing. Do you agree or disagree with this quote? Why?
Love There is evidence that people who do not have love in their lives are at a higher risk for a range of illnesses.
Exercise Although we treat the issues of love, sexuality, and intimacy in three different chapters, these topics cannot be completely separated. You will make connections between these 3 topics, and, hopefully, apply them to yourself. This personal inventory should help get you started. Answer these questions as they actually apply to you now.
Exercise Take this same inventory again, and give the responses that indicate how youd like to be.
Discuss How are love, sex, and intimacy related, in your view?
Group Exercise In a group, make a list of all the conscious reasons you have, or have had in the past, for not allowing yourself to love others or receive love from them
Group Exercise What do you imagine it would be like to have a loving relationship with YOU? Share your fantasy of the good things you could do for the other person, the risks of the relationship for the other person, and how he or she might feel about loving you.
Group Exercise What are some ways you could change so that you would be more lovable?
Group Exercise Where did you learn how to love? What standards do you have for how to love? What model have you followed?
Group Exercise What stages or patterns do you see in your significant relationships? What initial assumptions do you make as you enter a relationship?
Discuss What are the meanings love has for you? Discuss in specific terms what it means to love another person.
Exercise It has been said that we cannot love others if we cannot love ourselves. However, sometimes loving ourselves can be difficult. Make a list of what you like about yourself. Imagine that your best friend was here. How would they describe you? What would they say are your best qualities?
Discuss Read your list to someone else. How comfortable/uncomfortable is it to read this list?
The Art of Loving, by Fromm Self-love [is] respect for our own integrity and uniqueness and... It cannot be separated from love and understanding of others.
Ingredients of a Long-Term Love Relationship Self-acceptance Acceptance by ones partner Appreciation of one another Effective communication Commitment Realistic expectations Common interests Collaborative decision making Ability to deal with conflict effectively
Meanings of Authentic Love – A Personal Perspective LOVE MEANS Knowing the person Caring about the person & demonstrating caring for them Having a responsibility toward the person (not for them) Having respect and dignity for the person Accepting imperfection Growth for both people in the relationship Having trust for them and yourself Being vulnerable Allowing for imperfections
Characteristics of Inauthentic Love Pseudo-love may look like authentic love, but it stifles growth One whose love is inauthentic Attaches strings to loving and loves conditionally Is possessive Depends on the other person to fill a void in life Needs to be in charge and make decisions for the other person Lacks commitment Puts little trust in the relationship Has rigid, unrealistic expectations
Discuss The question is raised in this chapterIs it worth it to love? What are your reactions to this question?
Exercise Think of someone that you love. What specifically do you love about them? What are some of the ways that you fail to demonstrate love for that person? What specific steps can you take to demonstrate your love for others more?
Barriers to Loving and Being Loved MYTHS AND MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT LOVE Love is eternal Love implies constant closeness (the Prophet) We fall in and out of love Love is exclusive True love is selfless Love and anger are incompatible
Fears of Loving and Being Loved What are common fears associated with loving others and being loved? Fear of isolation Fear of being discovered Uncertainty of love There are NO guarantees
Discuss In what ways do you think you can nurture the love and caring you have for the significant people in your life? What can you do to express to these people the degree of your caring?
Discuss Discuss the issue of how lovable you see yourself as being. Why would another person want to love you? What do you have to offer? What characteristics do you have that are attractive? How could you become more lovable?
Homework Please answer the Time to Reflect questions on pages 187 – 188 for your homework assignment.