Personal development in recent years has taken up considerable space on bookstore shelves. Not a week without another book dedicated to self-confidence, life coaching and others coming out. On the heart side, the same.
The hunt for a soulmate inspires many writers. Hard to find news as it looks like everything is already written.
Nice surprise with the latest work by Julie Klotz. As a freelance journalist, she managed to push the reflection further across the subject via one “holistic approach to romantic relationships”in his own words.
She tried to dissect what she calls “The couple’s 4 chords“(ed. Fayard, 342 pages, 20 euros), title of his opus, published by Fayard editions, with an eloquent subtitle” how to live happily together “.
Leave the clichés (yes communication is important but it is not enough). She examines in depth the gears that make a pair successful or unsuccessful.
And for this she has collected a wealth of bibliographical references, interviewed specialists in several disciplines and collected testimonies. Meet.
How did you work?
I started from an observation: As a 20-year-old, we all go into a romantic relationship. And as a 40-year-old, we take it up, we take a step back on the grounds that made us invest ourselves with someone. I wondered, I read a lot of writers, exchanged with some of them to come to the conclusion that for the couple to work, there must be an agreement between the two partners on four dimensions: biological, psychological, cultural and spiritual. You do not go without the others.
What are the most obvious pitfalls?
First, we confuse love and passion. At the biological level, you need to know that it is the hormones that control all of this. During the meeting, we receive a shot of dopamine (the famous happiness hormone), which allows us to enter into a relationship. In parallel, our level of serotonin decreases, suggesting our judgment regarding the person. After having sex with her, we bind ourselves under the influence of oxytocin. When we say that love lasts three years, it is actually because the production of these hormones will decrease beyond this period. But that does not mean the end. Anyone can put things in place to keep secreting dopamine and oxytocin, but also serotonin to solidify the couple. In short, if we maintain the relationship, it will last far beyond these famous three years. It involves creating activities, doing things to boost all the hormones that the couple is holding.
Should we therefore create a form of interdependence?
No, on the contrary, there should be no interdependence. It is important to be emotionally independent: the other is not there to fill our gaps, but rather to create added value.
In other words, to encourage and support our development. The pair must give individuals the opportunity to develop and get better. It must be a path to growth, development, fulfillment and self-knowledge. In short, the relationship needs to lift. If it diminishes us, it’s because it does not work.
What about the influence of society on our romantic choices?
Some beliefs die hard. Especially the idea of soulmates, according to which we would only be one half in search of our other half. You need to get away from that. We are not incomplete beings. You must learn to love yourself, otherwise how can you claim that you want to be loved? Moreover, you really have to break away from the idea of being “like everyone else”, of being within a standard. There is not one recipe, but an infinity of pairs to invent.
You also put the story of the marriage in perspective.
We tend to forget that for a very long time the marriage was an alliance between two families with economic, political, etc. goals.
It was not until the 19th century that love marriage developed, including a sexual agreement between the partners. It offers a new conception of love that fuses body and mind, in a whirlwind of sublime emotions. But society, customs, has evolved. For example, infidelity for a long time was not a cause of separation, while today it is the prelude and the main cause of divorce. It shows that things are changing and that we must always keep that in mind. We are no longer divorced because we are unhappy, but because we could be happier.
Culture is important.
Yes, it’s basic. Of course, being from different cultures can be enriching. But it is an illusion to believe that love can triumph over all. When the partners come from backgrounds whose customs and habits are the poles apart, it is to fear that tensions will arise. All this, we have to talk about it together, put things right from the start without hiding the face. It is important for everyone to say how they view life: what they want to share, what they need, also in terms of the fidelity we have just talked about. For some, exchanging text messages for several weeks can be an infidelity that is hard to forgive. The couple is a contract between two, who must each know the terms and accept them.
You mention in your book the equation 1 + 1 = 3.
A pair is actually not an addition of two individuals, there is a third that allows us to say that 1 + 1 = 3. This third is the relationship, the bond, the system created by the couple to from their exchanges. Each relationship is unique. What you have with one person will be different from what you have with another. We create something unique, but above all we move over time. This concept is essential. The pair in the beginning is not fixed. So if we refuse to evolve, we will not be able to be happy, we are going straight into the wall. In addition, it is not enough to love a person, we must also love and appreciate the relationship he offers us and feel that he receives and appreciates the relationship that we offer him.
One mistake we make is to say “in any case you are one way or another”, that is equivalent to limiting the other, but we all have a potential for evolution. The person we are during the meeting is not the same as the one we have become three years, ten years, twenty years later. Both switch, the couple too. But elements remain, such as sharing a spirituality, agreement on values is a strong connecting factor.