Does love endure? Or do we endure love?

What�s the secret to making love last?
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The greatest motivation to overcome adversity comes from loving someone and wanting to be the best you can be for them. The perseverance to keep trying when you feel like giving up comes from the love you receive. To love and be loved is not a choice. We are born with an innate need to love and be loved.

What is love?

Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not always … turn out the way you had hoped it would.

Love is … a terribly misunderstood condition. Your knees weaken, your palms sweat, your face flushes, and your heart pounds nearly out of your chest.

Love is … wonderful…ly painful. Love stings when Cupid shoots you with his arrow. Your brain goes numb. You lose your appetite. You lay awake all night, tossing and turning, trying to get that special person out of your head!

Love is … fickle. And sometimes … love withers and dies.

April 1989, Cascade County Courthouse, Great Falls, Montana – The Judge granted my divorce, ending thirteen difficult years of marriage to my high school sweetheart. I married the first time for love. I vowed, “IF I marry a second time, I will marry for money.”

Ah … but …Love is … unpredictable and overpowering. When the love bug bites, you go to extremes to scratch the itch. The first time Larry and I met, we both felt an instant attraction. I fought my feelings. I resisted the temptation. But, we were like two magnets drawn together.

Quoting Pascal, a very influential French mathematician and philosopher who lived in the 1600’s, “The heart has it’s reasons, which reason does not know.” Three months after Larry and I started dating, we eloped to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

In her book, Belly Laughter in Relationships, Enda Junkins, a psychotherapist and one of the world’s leading authorities on “laughter therapy” tells us about the biological love bug, “We find ourselves biologically triggered by another person. Our hormones activate and our five senses launch a love campaign to motivate us to capture the interest and affection of those to whom we are attracted. We begin to feel the most astonishing things.”

Our body produces just the right chemicals in the proper dose at precisely the correct time to create just the right amounts of desire balanced with doses of physical pleasure. Touching triggers our body to release more sophisticated chemicals which produce feelings of warmth and caring and create bonding. And still more chemicals release to enhance our memory so that special person lingers on our mind.

If you have ever questioned why you fell MADLY in love with someone, now you know. You truly were not in your “right” mind, because you were under the influence of your own chemicals.

Enda says, “According to science the natural drug cocktail produced by the body can’t be sustained much longer than two or three years. We actually develop a drug tolerance to our own biological chemicals and no longer have the love buzz.” That’s when the honeymoon ends.

Love … makes the world go round. But what happens to love, when your world spins out of control?

Larry and I were married only 9 months when a huge repair truck crashed into my car and left me with the challenges of living with a brain injury. In one split second, Larry’s attractive, energetic, optimistic, intelligent and talented wife turned into a dazed and confused shell of the woman he had fallen in love with.

Chances that our marriage would survive were slim. I feared Larry would leave me during those really tough first two years, and many times I wondered why he didn’t. Now I know why – he was still drugged!

My “off the wall” therapist saved our new marriage from early destruction. She said, “People survive without intimacy, marriages rarely do. When we are in crisis, whether it be from ‘stressful situations’ or our body healing from an injury (I had both), our body will shut off certain appetites (sex drive) that we can live with out, to preserve the energy it needs for recovery and survival.

Knowing that we were newlyweds of second marriage with blended family challenges ahead of us, part of my on-going therapy was to spend intimate time with my husband twice a week. I actually scheduled it in my planner, to be rested, look pretty, share a nice meal and spend time with my husband doing something recreational. During this time, we were not allowed to discuss any life issues or challenges. Our intention was simply to enjoy each other and our time together. It always ended up “intimately.”

Those first years of my rehabilitation, I didn’t feel like laughing. I felt angry because life cheated me out of my future plans, I felt sad for my loss, frustrated by the difficulty and justified in feeling sorry for myself.

Larry made me laugh when I thought I couldn’t. He made me feel loved. He would kiss my neck and whisper in my ear, “I know something that will make you feel better.” I would snap back at him, “That doesn’t fix everything!” He would smile, shrug his shoulders, give me a puzzled look, and say, “It always works for me?” A smile would break through my stoic face, trigger a giggle, and ripple into laughter …every time.

Larry and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary this past June. It is remarkable considering the number of second marriages that don’t survive blended family issues, let alone survive brain injury.

What’s the secret to make love endure?

If you ask 8 year old Randy, he’ll tell you, “Be a good kisser. It might make your wife forget that you never take the trash out.”

If you ask 8 year old Carolyn, she’ll say, “My mother says to look for a man who is kind. So that’s what I’ll do. I’ll find somebody who’s kinda tall and kinda handsome.”

Enda Junkins will tell you the secret to making love endure is through touch and laughter. She says, “Without the help of our natural “love drugs” to minimize our flaws or to draw us close, we need to find other ways to bond and strengthen our relationships. Both touch and laughter release powerful chemicals that produce positive emotions, reduce pain, and promote closeness.

Enda knows what she is talking about. Larry and I still take a time out every week, from the unpredictable swift pace of life to cuddle and just hang out together. We quickly resolve conflicts because we have learned how to make light of our differences and laugh about them.

That is HOW our love endured the overwhelming obstacles of our past and WHY I am confident we will happily grow old together.

How can your love endure? How can you endure love?

A sense of humor distances you from disappointment and helps you to enjoy the amusement life provides. Laughter is your pressure relieve valve.

So…laugh! Even if you don’t think your situation is funny, and especially when you don’t feel like laughing, look for the humor, and you will find it.

“Nobody says you must laugh, but a sense of humor can help you overlook the unattractive, tolerate the unpleasant, cope with the unexpected and smile through the day.” — Ann Landers

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Lois McElravy, Lessons from Lois, works with individuals and organizations who want to learn how to use the power of humor and the magic of laughter to handle the demands and pressures of work and home, adjust to constant change, deal with difficult people, cope with the unpredictable swift pace of life, product positive outcomes and have more fun.

Learning to laugh and “hangin’ on with humor” rescued Lois from the distress and despair surrounding her daily life, and initiated her recovery from a brain injury. Lois’ keynotes and trainings entertain, inspire and stimulate audiences to examine their own response to challenge and adversity. Hilarious personal stories, “Lessons from Lois” impart life-changing insights and equip participants with humor strategies and practical solutions to overcome the seriousness of their life challenges and feel happy.

Her universal message renews hope and motivates others to consistently do small things so they can achieve amazing results one day at a time.

©2012 Lois McElravy, Lessons from Lois – Permission to reprint or repost this article is granted by including the above byline and Lois’ contact information.