Everyone has their own perceptions about how to have lasting love. My grandmother used to tell me that if you weren’t a good cook, you’d never find a husband (awful, right?). Times have changed a bit and luckily for those of us that aren’t as skilled in cooking, there is still hope. It takes more than just good cooking to have a lasting marriage; that much is sure. For a long time, hopeless romantics, shameless realists, and everyone in between, have all been aiming to define exactly what leads to lasting love. Maybe no one will ever know, but there are social scientists working to find a closer definition and recipe for love.
In a recent study from the Journal of Experimental Psychology, Social Psychologists Spike W.S. Lee and Norbert Schwartz discussed the results of years of research on the topic. Their studies have shown some interesting findings.
According to the two researchers, the science of love is not always the romantic kind of love we like to imagine it to be. Rather, there are many complicated processes that take place – ultimately leading to something we have come to define as love.
What Lee and Schwartz discovered is that long lasting love is a lot about mindset (not surprising!). How we look at our relationships can either make or break them. In their study, the two researchers interviewed couples and asked them to describe their relationship as either “meant to be” or “a journey”. For those couples who believed that their love was meant to be, the researchers discovered some dismal findings. Couples who choose the path of fate and leave things in the hands of other worldly forces often times didn’t have the desire to press through times of immense difficulty. This is not to say that couples who believed that they were fate’s doing didn’t succeed, because many did – however their rates of success were less than those of the opposite group.
The group that defined love as “a journey” or “look how far we’ve come” had a higher success rate than their counterparts. Participants with this mindset allowed difficulty to come into their lives and were willing to put more work into it to work through it. Their relationships tended to last longer and be stronger.
Embracing change over the long term enabled couples to bend and grow with each other, as opposed to those couples who were searching for perfection. So that’s it! The secret to love!