Companionate Love reaches the depths of our hearts and has the ability to ignite our passion and calm insecurities with equal measure. There is no like for offering hope, comfort, acceptance, and to be seen and loved for your authentic self. It takes effort, observation, putting your ego in check, and faith. Is the love that you share with your partner companionate? Here are some characteristics of Companionate Love:
1. Enduring Love involves an unselfish commitment to your lover’s happiness.
When you are truly in love with someone, their happiness becomes just as important as your own. When your partner sees you for who you really are and helps you grow by affording you opportunities to meet your needs, then you can return the exchanges and be involved in a deeply fulfilling relationship. From the couple in Teri’s story, Sally and Sammy were not able to put each other’s needs as equal to their own. Sammy focused on his own needs and feelings so his wife was also feeling disconnected.
2. Companionate Love compels you to enjoy what your partner enjoys.
When you like to see your lover truly delighted, you want to be a part of it too! Not to suggest you join in something that your partner loves (like rollercoasters) when you are deathly afraid of them ; but to join his or her passion when you can. You can support her hobbies or interests by asking about them or learn on your own and surprise her! Instead of going upstairs to watch a Lifetime movie on Sunday afternoon, don a cute jersey and hang out with your husband and help support his team! Very few couples that come for counseling share interests naturally, rather they must be developed.
3. People who love each other deeply recognize the importance of three spaces in their relationship- one for him, one for her, and one for them.
Common interests are very important, but equally as important as individual interests. It is important to do things together, but you must also be able to have your time apart. It is healthy that Jane and Jack from our story have separate interest that they can enjoy alone or together. Your spouse may have a hankering for skydiving while you may adore the monster truck rally. You go your separate ways on a Sunday and do your own thing. You may feel refreshed and energized and ready to reconnect with your lover afterward. Can you imagine what an interesting dinner you could have while sharing about your day?
We hope that you and your lover have some of these characteristics of Companionate Love. Look for interests that your partner may have and begin to see where you could join in. Joining in what gives your lover joy can radiate to you and bring you joy as well. Have fun exploring! It is a wonderful way to stay connected. Come back tomorrow as Natalie gives more characteristics of Companionate Love
*Adapted from Finding The Love of Your Life by Neil Clark Warren
Written by Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT
Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Alexa enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Alexa also does play therapy, family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield