One might argue that it’s actually love, not money, that makes the world go ‘round. If you really think about it, almost everything we do can somehow be associated with our innate drive to find a mate – including our drive to accrue more money. Most men want the good job, the nice car, and the big house, to demonstrate maturity, success, and stability. This success will surely procure them a mate who is young, beautiful, and healthy. Most women spend inordinate amounts of time, emotion, and energy, for most of their productive lives, investing in beauty products that will make their hair look fuller, lips look redder, skin look younger, and waists look thinner – all indications of greater fertility. This might ensure that they find a mate with plenty of resources and a presumed capacity for high paternal investment that would be necessary (or at least helpful) in raising their offspring.

All of that evolutionary psychology aside, the issue of how to succeed in a relationship once you believe you are in one, still remains. If only it were so simple that our knowledge of what the opposite sex wants from us might be enough to guarantee longevity, fidelity, and happiness in our established relationships. Unfortunately, it is not. We have sufficiently proven that we are much more complex beings, with needs that far surpass the material and physical. We all want to know the key to a successful relationship and marriage. If only we could unlock the mysteries of love and discover that there were actually one key to attaining long-lasting love, and perhaps more importantly one panacea to all love-related ailments. Alas, not so simple.

We are going to take a journey through the land of love. Throughout the years there have been numerous theories of love that have been promulgated by psychologists and philosophers, as researchers from a variety of schools of thought have attempted to define and understand the phenomenon of love. For example, major theories of love include but are not limited to Robert Sternberg’s triangular theory of love, Zick Rubin’s scales of liking and loving, John Lee’s three primary styles of love, Elaine Hatfield et al.’s passionate versus compassionate love, and David Knox’s romantic versus realistic love. Perhaps, though, it is the poets who throughout the history of mankind have best captured the obscure entity of love. Let us begin our journey of love with the thoughts of one such well-known poet, who said:

On Love

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep,
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.
Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire,
that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart,
and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing floor,
Into the season-less world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.

Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say,
‘God is in my heart,’ but rather,
‘I am in the heart of God.’
And think not you can direct the course of love,
for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night,
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

Kahlil Gibran
1923 (The Prophet)

To conclude, on our journey through the land of love, I will share ideas that derive from many decades of research in social, developmental, and evolutionary psychology, and we will also discuss the nuts and bolts of dating. We will talk about the basics, such as why it is so important to know ourselves, how we can properly interpret cues, do’s and don’ts of dating, dating strategies, safe dating for the 21st century, and most importantly healthy communication. In addition, I will also gladly write about any topics that you (our readers) may request in the future as this is a series of articles whose primary aim is to bring people together, and my role in that mission is to facilitate personal growth and understanding.

Okay…so please sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride…

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