Imagine that you have a car that you have had forever. It’s got many thousands of miles on it. It’s reliable & dependable. You have taken it on many trips through all kinds of terrain, all kinds of weather, and with all kinds of people. You often think if this car could talk, it could tell the world some of my deepest darkest secrets. One day you begin to notice that your car is starting to develop rust on its body. It gradually is in need of more and more repair, some more expensive than it justifies. Your rationale is “I love that car, I want to keep it forever”. The car keeps running but the pattern of running and repair continues. On a rainy and disgusting day, you have an important meeting to attend and are running a little late. You hop into your reliable and dependable car to take you to this meeting. Unfortunately, it dies. You are stranded, the car doesn’t work and you need to be towed to the service station. The new pattern with your beloved car is that it works, but it keeps breaking down. One day you out of total frustration you say “I love this car, but not in love with it anymore”
To make this point clearer, listen to this song by Pure Prairie League entitled “Amie”. You have to wait unit 3:47 into the song to hear it. So since I’ve told you where to look, pay careful attention.
Here are the lyrics for the last part:
I keep falling in and out of love with you. Falling in and out of love with you. Don’t know what I’m gonna do . I keep falling in and out of love with you, ooh…
The last line “falling in and out of love with you” is the one we want because the word IN is the homerun– I love you, but am I “in” love with you? That 2 letter word “in” is so potent in relationships. Most people who have been in long term relationships can easily say I love him or her, but struggle to say that they are in love with that person.
How does that change? In many relationships the “in” is eroded by problems in the marriage. These may be the “big ticket” items–addiction, abuse, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, etc. or may be the day to day— we stopped talking, our lives are too busy, the kids came, the job took over etc. In either case, in order to get the “in” back, we have lots of work to do. Clearly the communication skills that we have been talking about (last 3 blog entries) will be of great assistance here since clearly we need to begin to discuss the problems in a healthier way. If we have the big ticket items version those issues have to be dealt with first. It’s amazing to me how many people come for couple’s counseling in order to fix their partner’s issues. (Look for a more in-depth discussion in the blog entitled “she’s got issues” coming to a blog near you) Those major issues are the first part of any type of treatment with the relationship a distant third. If the person with the major issues fixes their problem, and the partner fixes their issues, then the relationship has a chance for not only repair, but rebirth as it finds that “in love” place. Ironically, it’s the couples with the day to day erosion that have the harder time getting the “in” back. The structure of the relationship, whether caused by kids, work, or distance, has created the problems. The structure of the relationship? has gotten stuck over time. It has to be changed to produce a new relationship with good communication, good intimacy, and a good partnership. If that sounds as hard to you as it does to me, than you know we have a lot of work ahead of us. To get this “in” back, we’re going to need some in-depth, in-siteful, and in-tense work in order to produce change. Its very doable work, but work none the less. When all is said and done, we want the song lyric to be “I keep falling in love with you”