Love works! Just as we learned to read, write, or even swim, we must learn to relate. To be in a relationship. For this, a skill is needed: the intelligence of love. Here’s how to grow it.
“Love is not enough!” Says Florentine d’Aulnois Wang, couple therapist, in a soft voice. According to the specialist, it is not love that holds a couple together, but the quality of the relationship. Love intelligence is thus a skill to be developed, to become muscle, just like emotional intelligence! To be in pairs, “to be relational is learned, it’s basic”.
The challenge? Cultivate the couple’s space, weave a way of being in a relationship that makes it possible to welcome and overcome crises. “The tighter and tighter this couple’s room is, the easier and more delicious it will be to live together!” exclaims the therapist. Amorous intelligence does not consist of a miracle recipe to make your couple last. But in “small steps to great results, in small attention and gestures that turn lead into gold. Florentine Aulnois Wang proclaims it loud and clear:” To love is an action verb! »
Learn to stop arguing
First axis to develop your love intelligence: learn not to overreact. We have all been disappointed one day, anger at our spouse. We all got carried away, we shouted, said things we immediately regretted, slammed a door, annoyed. Maybe you’re even surprised to tell yourself that you’re freaking out. “We need to strengthen our love intelligence to prevent our defense system – led by our reptilian brain – from taking the relationship hostage,” says Florentine Aulnois Wang. This defense system the therapist calls it Brutus. Very useful in enabling us to survive (it is responsible for our main functions – eating, breathing, drinking … – and triggering the production of stress hormones when we are in danger), this is also what takes control when our partner looks askance at us, blames us, annoys us, annoys us because he does or does not do such and such a thing. It then breaks off contact with our rational brain, goes into survival mode and floods us with combat hormones. We then see our partner as an enemy. Which in turn tips over into confrontation.
Being aware of what is going on in our brain allows us to do that do not turn our emotions into reactions. This is the whole point of loving intelligence: “Skiping our neural system to allow us to remain ourselves, to breathe in our emotions. It’s not a matter of ignoring it, but of making it something other than porridge! Between spouses, we allow ourselves relational things that we would not allow ourselves with others.It is not normal to knock on a door because one feels offended.
The good news? Thanks to the plasticity of the brain, we can work on our emotional reactions. By forbidding us in particular criticism, reproaches that wear out the couple … “Criticism and negativity are the enemies of love and must be banished. We will always make mistakes in life, we always arrive late. The other is not a terrible thing to banish!
5 tips to take control of your emotional reactions
– Breathe in order not to overreact.
– Do you feel like your world? Stop! Leave the room. “Not to escape the subject, but to protect the connection. MRI research shows that it takes 22 minutes without stimulation to leave Brutus state”.
– Relax. Everyone has their own way of achieving this. Go for a walk, go out in nature, meditate, listen to music, sports …
– Joint decision on a “red code”which means Brutus is grabbing one or the other of you, and it’s better to put the discussion on hold, postpone it.
– Of course, decide nothing under the influence of transient emotions : the decision will not be intelligent!
Understand the couple’s mission
It is filled with our history that we become a couple, that we develop together on a daily basis. Loaded with this more or less happy and joyful childhood that we lived. “We are tied up in our history,” analyzes the therapist. On the occasion of the second, we will be immersed in it again, and we will tell a story, and it is this that makes us react ”. Pulling socks is never a story of pulling socks! They talk about something else: about our “psychiatrists,” as the therapist calls them, those childhood bruises that the other sometimes presses. “Every criticism, every reproach, every change of mood is a detour from our heart to express a deep need.”
It’s left to learn to say it differently, correctly. For Florentine d’Aulnois Wang, this is the couple’s mission: to grow and heal from our childhood. “We want to turn to the perfectly designed partner to do this job. That’s why there are no two like him to put us in all our states. Recruiting in love is magical: we want to look for someone who will challenge us where we will be able to grow. When you are aware of what you are bringing, even in the hard, it is of an incomparable force. ”
– Try listening to the stories you tell yourself: when your partner arrives late, when he has not taken the bread, when you have the feeling that it is always you who runs the house … All the little things that can be turned off on a daily basis. “How are you feeling?” How are you feeling ? Lost, abandoned, as a negligible amount? And share it with the other, but not hot ”.
– Ask for help. “So many couples wait until they’re done doing it. Yet there is so much joy and weeks or even years of pain that can be saved by seeking help,” said the therapist. But often we do not dare, we do not think over it, convinced that we have to get out of it on our own, or that love will be enough to overcome problems. Result: “we hurt each other. We do not know that we must learn to relate , but still we know we have to learn to swim! Being in a relationship can be learned, love can be learned.We start the couple, in parenting, sexuality without a guide, and we make so many mistakes because no one teaches us precisely.We manage in loneliness, taboos and incredible shame.This work must be done on oneself, and above all, together, to share one’s vulnerabilities together.You have probably noticed: in a couple, it is always the same arguments that pop up, “the same themes that put us in the wall, and yet we go back there!” A third party can help pe you to listen to yourself better, understand yourself better and “change your dances!” »
The couple’s place, Florentine d’Aulnois Wang’s podcast, a dose of Love Intelligence, every other Sunday in your ears, to prevent our duets from becoming duels …
Love intelligence: 3 rituals to adopt
In the beginning of your relationship, you probably spent a lot of time looking each other in the eye and enjoying the pleasure of being with each other. But over time, these moments often become less frequent, captured in our daily race with time. ‘What kills the couple is the lack of presence. We can be together, but not face to face, says Florentine d’Aulnois Wang. Without presence, it is dying of hunger and thirst for the other ”. Without presence, without listening, without sharing, the couple’s space is gradually reduced to a drip. How is one really there with the other? By developing a way to really listen, by setting up rituals, by multiplying the attention, the gesture, the moments of love. “We get a lot out of control in quarrels and tensions. The idea is, with rituals, to put good things on our side from a physiological point of view ”.
– For more presence: Slow down, take time to sit down and find yourself. Breathing. As in the early days of your relationship, sit down and look at each other for a long time, for 4 minutes while holding hands. “It evokes very beneficial things in the nervous system, in the heartbeat”.
– Connecting to yourself and to others: morning routines.
For a gentle awakening and above all, in presence, in the morning, instead of jumping on your smartphone, your cup of coffee or pressing the snooze button on your alarm clock, take the time to start your day with a body exercise as meditation or breathing. “It is a way to open up your body and your heart, to connect with yourself and with others. It is a matter of grasping this transitional phase between sleep and awakening to create a ritual, to set an intention for the couple. The idea is to give direction in our lives to what we want to happen. This soothes the emotions and allows you to regain energy. To be performed individually or together, 10 minutes a day.
– Kiss each other … at least 6 seconds!
According to American psychologist John Gottman, kissing your partner for at least 6 seconds improves the health of your relationship. A long kiss releases dopamine and triggers the production of oxytocin, the happiness hormone. It invites you to focus on your partner, makes you feel close to each other and transforms your relationship. “Twice 6 seconds, once in the morning when traveling, once in the evening when returning, who says better?”
The term to consider
“Love is not just an emotion; it is an art. And like all art, inspiration is not enough, it also requires a lot of work”, Paolo Coelho
Read : The keys to the intelligence of love, 13 rituals to take care of your couple, by Florentine d’Aulnois Wang (Larousse).
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