Popular culture is filled with tales of finding a soul mate and falling in love. As children, we hear stories of princesses riding off into the sunset with their knights in shining armor, finding happily ever after. As we age, movies replace these princesses with average people who experience love at first sight. Their spouses are always perfect, marriages are effortless, and any disagreements are quickly resolved. But are these fairytales and fantasies skewing our collective belief on love and hurting our relationships?
As Dr. Jay Kent-Ferraro explains in a recent Huffington Post article:
“Real love is never about ‘falling’ into anything, has nothing to do with ‘finding a soul mate’… Relationships fail because we don’t know what love is or what is required to actually love someone. Most see the main problem of love as that of ‘being loved’, that is finding the ‘right’ person, missing completely the real problem, namely, our capacity to love another which is no small task, not just find the person who will love us as we deem necessary.”
The real act of love requires commitment, work, and continuous growth, both individually and as a couple. It is not simply about finding the “right” person; it is also about being the “right” person. By working with a marital mediator, couples have the opportunity to explore what it means to be in love and married. This involves examining the strengths of the marriage and each other. Both spouses can examine their relationship expectations; decide whether those expectations are realistic; and if they are, explore whether the relationship meets those expectations. When there are personal or relationship shortcomings, marital mediation provides the ideal environment for spouses to discover what they can do to improve themselves and their marriage.