What is Love?

So happy to find another piece of yours. I LOVE your writing. What is it about the words you choose to string together about any subject that makes your writing so compelling??I’ve been trying to figure it out because I believe you are a truly gifted writer.

And the love thing. I met a Dimitri at age 18, started dating him at age 21, and married him at 23. I truly believe once you’ve hit 35ish, it’s really hard to logically decide to get married or fully commit. Marriage is a kind of a crazy, illogical idea when you get right down it! My Dimitri and I found each other in that sweet spot of youthful naivety when we had enough lack of life experience to trust in the Happily Ever After.

We also had the fireworks, can’t eat, can’t sleep kind of love in which we tumbled head over heels just like in the movies. We were in bliss. But as the comedian, Dylan Moran says,“Then the cage came down.”

About year 3 of our blissful marriage my husband and I started what would be a 25-year descent into misery. By year 3 we had one child and a second on the way. Soon we would have a 3rd.

By the time we raised them to the ages of 10, 12, and 14 and had enough money and flexibility to divorce, we had the briefest detente and somehow I managed to get pregnant. Our 4th little baby had Down syndrome.

Having taught special education, I realized what was ahead of me. I loved my little girl with everything in me, but knew I would have no freedom for a good many years as she would need more time and attention than my other three put together.

So, my husband and I endured for ten more years.

The weird thing was, the whole 25 years of unhappiness as a couple, we did everything on planet earth to try to get along. No matter how terrible our fights were or how often we intensely hated one another, we could not stop loving each other.

And no matter how ugly we fought, he never stopped being an amazingly loving and involved father. He was and is generous to a fault with both our extended families and with all people. He is a hard, earnest worker, kind, caring, etc. etc….And handsome, very handsome. What was wrong with me I continually wondered, that I couldn’t get along with this very nearly perfect man?

We dabbled in every form of traditional, alternative, and totally woo woo form of therapy, workshop, healing, and research available on planet earth to try and figure out why we could not get along despite loving each other so much. We never lost our attraction to one another, but we fought too much to act on it. We pushed each other away constantly.

Finally, my little girl turned ten. I had a good job. He had a good job. We could afford two households. The children were mostly raised. At this point we gave up on ever finding a solution on how to be happily married. The only thing in our lives more desperately sad, miserable, and grief producing than our long marriage was our decision to finally divorce.

We were that classic couple who could not survive without each other but could not get along. It was a terrible situation that never made sense to either of us.

What I now know is we framed everything about our existence and our marriage using the words, definitions, concepts, ideas, theories, and practices of psychology, a field riddled with deficit thinking. We had nowhere to go but to see ourselves and each other as riddled with deficits. We had no other language and therefore no other concepts with which to understand ourselves and each other. We kept trying to fix our deficits believing they were the cause of all our problems.

The day after we had both called divorce lawyers, I had an aha moment while observing my student with special needs. I realized somehow in a single moment after watching my student problem solve that the way in which psychology had taught me to understand my students, myself, and all people gave me only deficit based options with which to understand thoughts, internal sensations, responses, and behaviors.

In that aha moment, everything in my field of vision shattered like a mirror and fell to the ground. What was left around me was literally a different world. I had stepped into a different world simply by changing my concepts of how to understand my humanity. Not just one concept changed, but all concepts I had formed involving self and other changed. My paradigm for how to understand human thought, sensation, and behavior shifted in real time you might say.

I have spent the last 4 years reframing how to understand the human brain and body and am writing a book with a neuroscientist about how to teach children so they can optimize brain health and mental health.

This reframing allowed me, within 48 hours, to reconcile with my Dimitri. By hour 49 we were transported back to age 21 when we were still head over heels in love. We figured out exactly what was preventing us from fully engaging in our love for one another. It took us a year to practice our new way of understanding self and other, but after year one, we have never fought. We went from horrible, terrible, ugly fighting every 2 weeks like clockwork, to zero fighting.

Step one was erasing everything we had ever learned from authorities of ideologies, even nice authorities and nice ideologies, be they religious, yoga affiliated, spiritual based, psychologically based, or even philosophically based. We rebuilt our understanding of how the human brain integrates with the human body from scratch. What we now know is every single human is making sense of information in the way that makes sense to him or her. From this foundation, minus the deficit based language of psychology, we rebuilt our own personal lives and our lives as a couple.

Not sure if this will resonate with you. Regardless, I appreciate all your writing and hope you continue!! You are clearly an amazing person in all ways with a truly stunning gift for expressing yourself in writing. You write prose like a poet writes verse.