In Prince Harming Syndrome , I detail how Gottman's love findings match up with the relationship beliefs of Aristotle. To drill down quickly, Aristotle lists three types of relationships, only one of which brings true happiness. Which one are you in?
  • Relationships of pleasure: Based on sex , drugs and rock 'n roll; primarily focused on the body and ego and therefore, not true love.
  • Relationships of utility: based on using each other for power, money, beauty, status—the prototypical rich guy/trophy girl scenario. Or as I've seen in New York, the rich girl/trophy guy scenario. Either way, it's not true love!
  • Relationships of shared virtue: based on connecting soul to soul, core self to core self, and inspiring, supporting and challenging each other to grow into their best possible selves, therefore leading to true happily-ever-after love.
In other words, if you want to be part of a healthy, loving relationship, you must accept that it will always serve two functions:

1. "Den of Pleasure." For hot sex, fun, companionship and laughter—all these sensory delights which Aristotle absolutely recognized your soul needs to stay thriving and perky!
2. "Laboratory for Growth." The ultimate place for your soul to be inspired, nurtured, supported, and challenged to evolve, which your soul truly needs for ultimate happiness.

Translation: Being in a healthy, loving relationship requires both of these functions. You must accept that you cannot always hang out in the den, and occasionally you have to wander into that laboratory.

Unfortunately, you may only view a relationship as serving up the first function, Den of Pleasure. You may feel once you've found your dream love, that's it. Now, you can sit back and enjoy, and not need to put in any work. However, that's like going on a job search, finding a dream job and thinking you can simply show up, sit at your desk, and do nada.

If you want to live happily ever after, you must accept right here—right now—that there will be stretches of time when you feel as if you're living happily "every other day" after, and that's okay. However, it is essential that during these stretches, you and your partner consciously choose to stretch yourselves and head into that Laboratory for Growth.

Try love-boosting ideas from the lab


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