Express Love – Don’t Profess It

Some partners complain that their mate professes to love them but they do not feel it. Others lament that their partner’s behaviors contradict their protestations of love. How can couples deliver and receive verbal, behavioral and emotional messages of love that can authentically resonate with their partner’s feelings?

Studies about infant development show that mimicking gestures between a mother and her baby as well as playing, cooing, and facial expressions create an emotional resonance of love and bonding.

In “ Modern Attachment Theory: The Central Role of Affect Regulation in Development and Treatment,” Judith and Allen Shore state, “The essential task of the first year of human life is the creation of a secure attachment bond and emotional communication between the infant and the primary caregiver. The mother must be psychologically attuned to the dynamic shifts in the infant’s bodily-based internal states of central and autonomic arousal.”

In “Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affect Everything We Feel, Think, Do and Become” Psychologist Barbara Fredrickson of The University of North Carolina discovered that all humans can create the “Micro-moment of positivity resonance” and share these experiences of love with a child, close friend or a romantic partner. She dispels the “love myth” that descends upon us and advocates for our capacity to volitionally create deep and satisfying emotional connectedness and loving experiences with others.

Researchers Sandra Pipp and Robert Harmon explain, “It may be that… we are biologically connected to those with whom we have a close relationship.”

It stands to reason that when adults are in love and state that they are “into each other” they describe the adult version of the mother/baby attunement that produces the “amazing loving feelings” that lovers describe.

Since mutual attunement, staring in each other’s eyes, sincere curiosity and an expression of admiration and awe are elements of connection and mutual validation, adults can volitionally will themselves to maintain their interest, curiosity and emotional attentiveness to their mate even after the glow of the early infatuation has faded.

We all know how validated we feel when a stranger compliments us or shares a story that resonates with our past or present experience. We also know how rewarding and bonding it is to be “seen”, “heard” and viewed favorably by others. Being liked is uplifting, heartwarming and bonding.

If positive interpersonal validations help us feel seen, heard and liked, as they boost our self-esteem and happiness and bond us to others, we can surely will ourselves to provide these types of human attentiveness to our beloved.

Become truly loving:

  • Understand that being “madly in love” is only one version of love and not the sole source of a rewarding connection.
  • Express your love through personal attentiveness, validation, admiration, adoration and sharing.
  • Will yourself to be sincerely attuned with your mate. Be curious and match your affect to resonate with your partner’s emotions.
  • Help your mate feel your mutual resonance, deep understanding and he/she will feel your life-long love.

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About Author

Offra Gerstein, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in clinical practice in Santa Cruz, California for over 25 years, and specializes in relationship issues for couples and individuals for improved quality of life. Her work includes: mate selection, marriage, long term relationships, gay and lesbian couples, work relationships, parenting issues, family interactions, friendships, and conflict resolutions. Offra has lectured extensively to various groups, conducted support groups for several organizations, and has been writing a weekly column "Relationship Matters" for the Santa Cruz Sentinel since 2001.

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