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What Makes People Fall in Love? What Makes People Fall in Love?
    by Joe Beam

    Several years ago I developed a model that explains the process of “falling” in and out of love. It’s simple, practical, and extremely valid to the human experience. An amazing serendipity about the model is that when one understands the process of love, the person also learns how to fall in love all over again. We’ve used this model to help people fall in love again even after they had reached a point in their relationship where they were disinterested in each other, tired of each other, didn’t like each other any more, or outright hated each other.

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    I intend to share parts of the model with you over the next several weeks so that no matter how good or bad your relationship, you can be in love with each other again.

    Let’s start where we should, at the beginning of every relationship. In our Love, Sex & Marriage seminar we ask people what first attracts them to another. Men tend to mention certain anatomical features. Interestingly, women do too. They talk about noticing a man’s height, the width of his shoulders, the flatness of his stomach, or the shape of his buttocks. Yes, even in church audiences!

    So what’s my point?

    Simply this: The first thing attracting any human to another is ALWAYS sensual.

    When we first meet another human, we mentally register what we see, hear, or smell and instantly find ourselves attracted, neutral, or repulsed by that person. Since each of us is unique in our tastes, what one person finds alluring, another may find repelling, and another may not register as worthy of notice at all.

    How does what we find physically attractive affect our “falling” in love? The chances of developing or maintaining love decrease proportionately with the degree of unattractiveness we perceive in another. For example, if you perceive a person as very unattractive, you likely aren’t going to be open to pursuing a relationship unless there is something else attracting you more strongly than their appearance is repelling you. That just makes sense doesn’t it?

    When we were single, we accepted that truth. We kept our bodies trim, carefully coifed our hair, and wore only the most fashionable clothes. We knew that the people we met would immediately react either positively or negatively to our fragrance, voice, and appearance. We kept ourselves as attractive to the opposite sex as possible.

    So why should it be any different after marriage?

So why should it be any different after marriage?
    A very common complaint we hear from both husbands and wives is the loss of their desire for a spouse who has forgotten the lure of the sensual. As one man said, “My wife is a beautiful woman when she wants to be. But she seems more focused on enjoying rich foods than being attractive to me. When I say anything about it, she just cries and tells me I don’t love her. I’ve learned to live with the fact that my wife will never be beautiful again because she doesn’t care to be. I guess I’m not as important to her as chocolate cake.”

    I understand his dilemma. I’ve heard people reject loudly the idea that they should continue to be attractive to their spouses. When I probe their anger, I usually discover that the person objecting doesn’t feel attractive any more because of aging or some other factor. Because of that negative personal perception, he or she wants the mate to no longer be affected by physical attractiveness. They say things like, “A spiritual person wouldn’t care what I looked like!”

    Interesting that they didn’t feel that way when they were looking for a mate. I often ask, “Were you spiritual when you first noticed the person you married? Did you question your spirituality when you were attracted by his/her physical beauty and attractiveness?”

    God made us as we are—beings that are both physical and spiritual. We have needs to be fulfilled in both those dimensions of ourselves. He didn’t make all of us gorgeous, but He designed into the human race the ability for us to make ourselves attractive to others.

    Think of it this way. Beauty is made, not born. No one has to match what he or she was during the early 20s. But none of us have the right to say, “Well, you married me. Now you have to blithely accept whatever I want to be like or look like!”

    Whether you like it or not, you will be either attracted or repelled by what your senses register as long as you live. So will your spouse. Do you want your mate to be attracted to you? If so, you cannot demand his or her passion and desire just because you want it to exist. You have to understand the way God made us and make yourself as desirable as you can as long as you live together.

    It’s the most basic step of falling in love. Or falling in love again.


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Previously in the series Love, Sex and Marriage by Joe Beam: How Do I Know if I'm in Love?
See Also...
Related Heartlight Resources:
How Do I Know if I'm in Love?
Hooked on the Feeling
Married but Single
Books by Joe Beam
Related External Pages:
Family Dynamics
Love, Sex & Marriage Seminar
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About the Author...
Joe Beam is a noted author and founder of the Family Dynamics Institute.

 
Title: "What Makes People Fall in Love?"
Author: Joe Beam
Publication Date: April 14, 2000

 

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