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Love
From Euphoric Love to Rising Love
By Paul Mauchline
You have found the one for you, and are experiencing euphoric love: deep passion, romance, and hot steamy sex. Perhaps you feel like you are "falling in love." Now I ask the question, "How can we reach the next level of loving?" In my opinion, mature love is about rising, not falling. Falling is something out of our control, whereas rising is a conscious growing process. So how do we continue rising in love? How do we graduate from euphoric love to mature love and intimacy?
 
What you have at the beginning of your relationship is a tiny seed: the start of something, the beginning. The initial stage of love, with its intensity, passion, and physical closeness feels deceptively like the seed of love has matured overnight into a flourishing tree. I hate to disillusion you -- I love fantasy like the next person -- but during this stage of love, your relationship is still that itty-bitty seed. When you plant a seed, it germinates; it begins to grow and develop. At the euphoric stage of love, you and your partner are like the seed.
 
Your love is only starting to grow. You might feel 40 feet high, but you are still 6 inches in the soil. Just as the planted seed requires nourishment and care to grow, so too does love. Planting your seed in good quality soil, giving it the right amounts of nutrients, water, and sunlight will produce a strong, resilient, healthy sapling that has a chance to mature into a full grown tree. If neglected during any stage of growth, it will weaken and deteriorate, and if completely neglected, it will die. The same can be said about a loving relationship.
 
Love is a living, growing, dynamic thing. It grows in stages that require sustenance and careful attention to flourish. Without the proper care, love will eventually fade. Lets look at the first ingredient for growing a seed: the soil. The soil is you and your partner, as individuals. The soil conditions must have all the right elements to stimulate growth. Self-love is the foundation for fertile soil. For love to grow, both you and your partner need to be happy, self-fulfilled, and content within yourselves. Many of us look to our partner to save or complete us, to make us happy. However, looking to another to make you feel loved, without first looking to yourself, will never work. Remember, it all starts with you. If you do not love yourself, you are not going to be able to love another individual. Neither will you be able to attract an individual who ultimately makes you feel happy and fulfilled. Before you enter into mature love, you, as an individual, have to know who you are, what you need, and what you want out of life. You have to do all of the work on yourself, first. If you are angry or hurt, and have not dealt with past emotional baggage, you are not ready for mature love. Your soil is not healthy enough to nurture and support the growth of something larger than yourself. You are not ready for any kind of solid, lasting, loving relationship. You have to be honest with yourself to know if you are ready to commit to mature love.
 
If you find yourself ending relationships once the euphoric stage has ended, you need to go back and work on yourself. Other people are not the problem-- it's you. We find it so easy today to blame others or outside circumstances for our difficulties, especially when it comes to affairs of the heart. Be truthful with yourself. We are all human: We are not perfect; we all have flaws. If you find yourself moving from one abusive relationship to another, you have to ask yourself, "What is it about me that makes me attracted to this type of person? Why do I choose to be a victim? Why do I choose to repeat this pattern?" If several past partners have left you, complaining that you smother them, maybe you need to ask yourself why you feel so insecure. If you have had relationships in which you have given up your dreams and goals, your individuality, for another person, maybe you need to ask yourself, "Why do I need to live my life vicariously through my partners?" or "Why do I sacrifice myself for others?" When you have examined yourself and are comfortable with who you are, when you are honestly able to love yourself, you are ready to commit to mature love.
 
What does it take to cultivate mature love? What does it take to rise in love? How do you take that little seed and grow it to that forty-foot high, mature tree? It does not happen overnight. A forty-foot tree does not grow in a year; it takes a lifetime. So does mature love. It's a lifelong commitment that requires patience, confidence, discipline, concentration, faith, and practice daily. Mature love does not happen on Valentine's Day, Christmas, New Years, birthdays, or vacations; it happens every day of your life. If you only put forth the effort at certain times of the year, your relationships will wilt and eventually disappear. Daily efforts are required to maintain your relationships, whether they are with your partner, children, or coworkers.
 
Rising in mature love requires patience. You need to get to know your partner as well as you know yourself, which takes a great deal of time. The biggest complaint I hear is, "I do not have the time." Mature love requires time: it has to be a priority. Do not get me wrong: I am not saying that you need to spend every available minute of every day with your partner. It's not the quantity, but the quality of time spent, and the patience and discipline to do it daily. The only way that you are going to get to know your partner, inside out and backwards, is by communicating every day. There may be many days when you are stressed out from your job and preoccupied with other things that are happening, but you need to have the discipline to spend the time with your partner in meaningful conversation.
 
Every day in the workplace, you have conversations and communicate with others. In many cases, you are doing so to gather information to perform your work. Throughout the world each day, our entire population is gathering information. As we have seen the computer age explode around us, we can recognize the importance of information gathering. Your relationships are no different. Take the time to look at old photographs, movies, and videos of each other's lives. This is a wonderful opportunity to share experiences that each of you had growing up. Letting your partner in on your childhood experiences allows him or her to see the person that has developed into the adult that you are. It takes a lot of courage to open up and share who you really are; this is intimacy building at its very best. You are not only sharing your past with you are loved one; you are giving yourself an opportunity to go back and explore your memories and feelings.
 
Sharing time like this brings out our true emotions and selves. Revisiting old neighborhoods, schools, and favorite hangouts allows us to share ourselves with our partner. You have to expose yourself totally, with honesty and truth. That's what is going to create the foundation; that's what is going to make your seed grow. At the beginning of a relationship, this is easy, but as time goes on it requires more concentration and discipline to share yourselves with each other. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to make time for one another. Regular date nights, evening or afternoon strolls, even grocery shopping together allows you intimate time with one another. This time together will allow you to share your thoughts and daily experiences.
 
Do not forget the little things. Remember all the things that you did for one another during the euphoric stage. The cards, the flowers, notes, love letters, gifts, and most importantly, the time that you freely gave. Just remember all the little things you used to do. This does not have to stop, and in fact, it should not stop. All those little things are the nutrients that are required to stimulate the growth of your love for each other. For your seed of love to grow and mature, you must practice the art of loving in your daily life.
 
No one has ever said that life is easy; as you and your partner grow together, you are going to experience turbulence. Everything is not going to be perfect all the time: life does have its ups and downs, and so, too, will your relationship. You need to have the patience to ride out the stormy weather… and faith that going through bad times together will strengthen your love. It is the experiencing of life-- both its good and bad parts-- that makes a love relationship rich and unique. You get out of your relationship what you put into it. So when life is difficult, it is an opportunity for you and your partner, together, to build and strengthen the mature love you have for one another. It is essential to view stressful life events as an "us-against-the-world" experience. It's such a shame that so many couples allow the difficulties of life to come between them, when these times provide such wonderful opportunities for them to unite.
 
It's all in your attitude and in the perspective you choose to have. Mature love comes from two people consciously growing together as one. It does not happen by accident. It takes both of you working together to realize mature love and the kind of relationship that you seek. Helen Reddy sang, "We are one. We are invincible." When togetherness is a given in your relationship, no problem is insurmountable. In order to achieve mature love together, you must be patient, have confidence and faith in your relationship, be disciplined enough to make time for one another, concentrate on the positives, and face the negatives as one. Practice all of this daily, practice the art of loving, and you both will experience the magic, the indescribable feelings, of mature love together.
 
Copyright 2000-2001. All rights reserved. Paul Mauchline
 
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