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Laurie Sanders, Relationship Counselor

A person's "heart withers if it does not answer another heart." Pearl S. Buck

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What is lasting love?
July 8, 2011
I see couples every week who are wondering whether they can make their love last. When I watch the video of John Hiatt singing "Have a Little Faith In Me" I think about what it is that leads couples to not trust that their partner will be there for them. What is it? How does that faith get lost? If we can know why a person doesn't trust the person they've vowed to live with and love forever, maybe we can transform that mistrust back to having faith. (It is a goal I have in my life--to help distressed couples regain that feeling of faith that one's partner will always be there to give love and support.) John Hiatt's song expresses what I see every single person I've ever seen in counseling feels about their partner: "I want so much to be your anchor, your support, the one you turn to when you need comfort or understanding or a feeling of safety in this sometimes-scary world." What I believe is that fear gets in the way. One person fears asking the other for comfort or support, then the other doesn't feel needed, emotional connection stops, and a feeling of mistrust rears up. Or one hears the other asking for support but fears he or she can't give adequate support and thus shys away, leaving the other person feeling alone, possibly even abandoned. In both of these cases, there is a desire to be there for the other, but fear gets in the way and then each feels unvalued or unaccepted. I don't think love can last unless we face our fears and learn how to share our fears with our partner. This is emotional connection--sharing our vulnerable feelings--and it's scary but completely necessary for love to last. So, I guess I am suggesting that a couples counselor can help you get back to that feeling of having faith in your partner. Your counselor can help you take the risks that can be frightening or even terrifying, so that you both feel that safe emotional connection or "safe haven" that will enable you to weather any storm.