This Valentine’s Day week, we have a series of posts dedicated to love, marriage, and sex. This series is brought to you by our partners at A New You Counseling.
This time of year, during a holiday intended to celebrate a St. Valentine, our thoughts drift towards romance, hearts, cupids, flowers, and, of course, love. But what exactly is love?
The feeling of “love” has been the catalyst for countless actions, poems, stories, songs, and even tragedy since the beginning of time. Love is one of the most basic of human emotions. And just about everyone on Earth has experienced it. Love is described by the dictionary as “an intense feeling of deep affection” and “a deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone.” Love is described in the Bible as “patient, kind, without envy, without pride, – love does not delight in evil and rejoices in the truth.” Shakespeare writes many times about love. He mainly describes love as ideally eternal and perfect, only to be tainted with the human condition that ultimately creates tragedies for love.
People who have felt love may say that love can hold feelings of lust, joy, giddiness, bliss, attraction, jealousy, insecurity, anger, and even pain. No one can really prove that they feel love inside of them. Most people just know when they feel it. And when they don’t. Love is a very complicated emotion that is hard to fully comprehend. Until recently, scientists couldn’t fully explain what love is and hadn’t cracked the code of how people can continue to feel secure levels of love throughout their lifetime.
Love is finally coming to be understood as something deep inside of us, a vital life-line between people that can be fine tuned by acute interactions between those most precious to us.
We are starting to understand that love isn’t just something we “fall in and out of.” Love is more than chemical reactions. It’s more than just fleeting feelings. Love is an ingrained and instinctual need formed to keep those that we depend on the most, close to us. Attachment and love create safety in our unknown paths in life.
Love is now understood to basically be the bond required to ensure our human survival.
In my 16 years as a full-time relationship, marital, and couples therapist, I see firsthand that the human bond of love is the most essential of all emotional needs. The attachment that people crave and require goes far beyond just desire. It is actually vital to survival, as well as necessary for long term feelings of happiness, safety, health, and security. Unfortunately, by the time couples are in my office, they are struggling with these love bonds. And their happiness and security have been shaken.
As a couples therapist, I try my best to provide tools, educate, and create an environment where couples feel heard, validated, and valued, where their individual issues, gripes, and miscommunications can be addressed. But the real underlying reason why couples have become disillusioned is because there is genuine damage to their essential attachment and connection.
They are in my office with hopes of repairing that much needed bond, so that they can go back to feeling love as it should be felt. My job isn’t an easy one! I am a guide down a path that may be scary for so many who fear more pain, more rejection, more unmet needs. However, I always try to show them that there is always hope!
I say, “Did you know that it is possible to deliberately shape the type of attachment and bonding that you crave–the special type of emotional connection that all of our brains accept as vital to survival? Did you also know that it is possible to rewire human emotional responsiveness and teach you how to reshape your disconnected relationship into bonds that take you from insecure to secure?”
This is usually exciting and hopeful news for so many couples who have felt that their only choice may be to end their relationship and either face life alone. Or they may eventually start up a new relationship. But might continue to try to fill the empty holes of attachment that they so desperately need. The need cycle continues and the driving force inside of them all, inside all of us really, to feel bonded and safely loved starts over.
The work done in counseling, when couples come in trying to get their needs met, trying to reconnect in those vital ways can feel like a roller coaster, with some ups and some downs. It’s often a frightening ride of vulnerability and hope mixed with re-connection and rejection. The work is painful and difficult but it is also necessary and rewarding. It’s why I do what I do as a couples therapist. I feel that everyone deserves to be loved, and everyone can be taught how to love and be loved!
To all couples who want to feel that strong sense of love and attachment, I say, the ride is worth it! Love is healing and exhilarating. It is life giving and necessary. Love really is “All you need,” in the emotional sense. Love is a million things to millions of people. It is an emotion bigger than we realize, that touches us every single day, in so many different ways.
The bonding power of love and connection sustains human life and fuels our deepest of all basic instincts.
This Valentine’s Day, I challenge each couple to look beyond the commercial aspects of the holiday, and look deeper into defining what love is. I encourage couples to try and understand the driving force of connection and love. Look at the reasons why love is so difficult and also so rewarding. Take some time to consider how to better love those around you. Even seek out professional help if you need it. Understand that love isn’t just about everything that the songs, poems, and scriptures tell us. Love is also a human right, it’s a bonding security blanket and a necessary component for our very existence. Try and think about this when you say “I love you” this February 14th to those that you hold the most dear.
Meet our Guest Blogger, Couples Therapist, Nikki Delaney
Nikki has been a therapist for 16 years and in private practice at A New You Counseling for the past 6 years. Nikki is the only Rio Rancho therapist specializing exclusively in couples counseling. She has chosen to specialize in marital and couples counseling due to a severe lack of specialists in this arena and due to her passion in helping couples achieve the type the love and security that they deserve in their relationships.
Nikki has created a solution-focused relationship enhancing program in her private practice that she has entitled “Roommates to Romance,” which has helped countless couples improve the quality of their marriages and relationships. Nikki works with all types of monogamous relationships including dating, engaged, newlyweds, married, blended-family, same sex, and mature.
She is the creator of a local “Date Night Club” for couples to learn about date ideas around town. She has been trained in several Couple’s Counseling modalities, she was instrumental in the creation of the “Languages of Love” Marital Retreat held in Durango, Colorado, as well as “Couples Improvement Workshops” covering topics on ADHD in relationships, The 5 Love Languages and Relationship Toolbox Building.
Nikki is a member of the group NMCCS (New Mexico Couples Counseling Specialists), and is a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) and a Certified Relationship Specialist (CRS). She wrote an advice column entitled “Love Letters” for The Rio Rancho Observer for two years. Nikki was interviewed for the Podcast “Back to Life: Visions of Love” in 2019. Also, she has been awarded “The Best of Rio Rancho” for the past 3 years. She maintains a 5 start rating on Google. And she was featured in Albuquerque The Magazine’s “Super Women Issue” in October of 2018.
Nikki writes a monthly newsletter for the public and her clients which is full of tips, articles, links, ideas and research for couples. She enjoys helping couples reach their full potential and focuses much of her work, training, education, and services on couples and their relationship needs.
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4061 Ridge Rock Road Suite C, Rio Rancho NM 87124 (505) 933-5149
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