Companionate Love is such a wonderful thing. Many couples think if two people love each other that this should come naturally. This is a myth. This type of love takes a lot of work and consideration of each other. Sometimes it might feel like it would be easier to just "be roommates" and not work on things. But once you experience this type of love, it's very hard to live otherwise and not work on it. Here are 4 more characteristics of Companionate Love: 4. People who love each other in a mature and enduring way seem to recognize the importance of finding individual wholeness, and they know this usually comes during periods of quietness and solitude.
These couples understand that it is important to get quiet, keep balance, and ground yourself. They eliminate distractions, both when they are together and when they have some time alone. In the story of Jane and Jack, he understood the importance of her running. He knew this created her "solitude" and helped her feel better both physically and mentally. So he supported it. This is a characteristic of Companioniate Love.
5. Genuine love provides the freedom to share your real, authentic self with your partner.
This is sharing on a deeper level. Sometimes we have couples who say, "yeah, we talk everyday", but it's about schedules, activities, kids etc.- nothing meaningful. To be able to share how things effect you and what you feel will truly connect you on a deeper level. The less shallow you are, the deeper connected you will feel.
6. Companionate Love requires trust- and trust requires trustworthiness.
Trust needs to happen on 3 levels in a healthy relationship- 1. We must trust our partner will keep us safe emotionally and physically. 2. We must trust our partner will keep their word- whether it be to take out the trash or that they won't cheat. 3. We must trust our partner loves us unconditionally. When these 3 levels of trust occur, Companionate Love can happen.
7. People who love each other well have shared dreams and plans for reaching them. I love how Jane and Jack were talking about a shared dream while doing the dishes. Now I know realistically there are kids screaming in the background and you are in a hurry for homework and bedtimes. But do you ever save the dishes for some quiet time together later, after the kids are in bed? This can be an excellent time to talk about dream vacations, dream businesses to start together, or just for laughing at each other! Talk about where you want to be in 5, 10, and 15 years. Where do you want to retire? So many dreams, so little time- share them together!
Do you recognize you and your partner in any of these characteristics? We hope so. If not, pick one and start focusing on that first. Then you can add others as you master that one. It's so worth the time and investment.
Tomorrow Joleen will share ways to develop Companionate Love. Thank you for reading and have a great week!
*Adapted from Finding The Love of Your Life by Neil Clark Warren
Written by Natalie Chandler
Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville