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"The downs can be really low ― and when you're in one, you have three choices: Leave, stay in a loveless marriage, or choose to love your spouse." Dr.Jill Murray (author of writes that if someone mistreats you while professing to love you, remember: "Love is a behavior." A relationship thrives when partners are committed to behaving lovingly through continual, unconditional giving ― not only saying, "I love you," but showing it.

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The second is responsibility, responding to his or her expressed and unexpressed needs (particularly, in an adult relationship, emotional needs).The third is respect, "the ability to see a person as he [or she] is, to be aware of his [or her] unique individuality," and, consequently, wanting that person to "grow and unfold as he [or she] is." These three components all depend upon the fourth, knowledge. And just as easily, it can spontaneously degenerate when the magic "just isn't there" anymore. Love is the attachment that results from deeply appreciating another's goodness. After all, most love stories don't feature a couple enraptured with each other's ethics. God created us to see ourselves as good (hence our need to either rationalize or regret our wrongdoings). Nice looks, an engaging personality, intelligence, and talent (all of which count for something) may attract you, but goodness is what moves you to love. Just focus on the good in another person (and everyone has some). I was once at an intimate concert in which the performer, a deeply spiritual person, gazed warmly at his audience and said, "I want you to know, I love you all." I smiled tolerantly and thought, "Sure." Looking back, though, I realize my cynicism was misplaced. Erich Fromm, in his famous treatise "The Art of Loving," noted the sad consequence of this misconception: "There is hardly any activity, any enterprise, which is started with such tremendous hopes and expectations, and yet, which fails so regularly, as love." (That was back in 1956 ― chances are he'd be even more pessimistic today.) So what is love ― real, lasting love? What we value most in ourselves, we value most in others.On another occasion I read something she'd written and offered feedback and praise. Because deep, intimate love emanates from knowledge and giving, it comes not overnight but over time ― which nearly always means after marriage.

The intensity many couples feel before marrying is usually great affection boosted by commonality, chemistry, and anticipation.

First as a kid, now as an “adult.” Everyone is still asking why. Despite the harshness of the current reality, against all odds, they maintain some special sort of reason for going on (See the Stockdale Paradox) They maintain a “why” beyond just “staying alive” that keeps them going. As his body was slowly whittling away and as thousands of people died around him he was deeply pondering the state of his life.

Survivors of all types of accidents or horrendous living conditions often share eerily similar stories. He was a victim of the Nazi regime and spent several years in the Auschwitz concentration camp while his entire family and both parents passed away.

You can care for, respond to, and respect another only as deeply as you know him or her.

The effect of genuine, other-oriented giving is profound.

Reprinted with permission from "HEAD TO HEART" by Gila Manolson.