dr-jane-rosen-grandon-small.jpThere’s a part of the poem, No Loser, No Weeper in which Maya Angelou begins with the line, “I hate to lose something” and ends with, “…I mean I really hate to lose something”. In the poem, Dr. Angelou wrote of losing her doll, her wristwatch, and then, of losing love. In my work, I see people who have found love, lost love, abused love, and confused love. Here are a few thoughts on the matter.

  • Sometimes parents and children lose their love for each other. Love between parents and children carries very high expectations. Parents and children alike are guilty of wanting to redesign each other’s personalities and increase each others’ strengths. Therein lies the loss. Instead, we must be willing to truly love each other as we are… imperfect beings who have some wonderful qualities that should be highlighted.
  • Sometimes husbands and wives lose their love for each other. While dating, people tend to spend a lot of energy on being attractive to each other. The feeling of being in love is the incredible high that everybody seems to want. However, for some reason, after the wedding, some people stop making the effort to be attractive life companions to each other. Usually love relationships require a great deal of daily nurturance. So when love gets taken for granted, the people in the relationship become lonely. It takes continuous effort to keep a relationship synchronized, alive, fun and exciting.
  • Emotional distancers prevent closeness in relationships. Things that are distancers come in all forms: they can be hiding places, activities, or substances. For example, the smoker who is confined to a certain part of the house may choose to spend a lot of time there alone. Some people like to hide inside their computers. Being an alcoholic is like having a love affair with the bottle. When this occurs, the intoxicated person is never really available to get to know others. Frequently, secret drug or food addictions cause people to withdraw from intimate relationships. It is easy for spouses to live parallel and separate lives when their work schedules conflict or they spend most of their time at home in different rooms. In the words of my best friend and husband, “If you’re not together, you’re not together.”
  • Emotional losses occur when things become more important than people. Part of any relationship is a mutual process of sharing. Unfortunately, too many people are nonassertive “at the time” but carry away an unspoken grudge. Without the skills to communicate and solve problems, misunderstandings often lead to the demise of relationships between siblings, friends, and whole families. Sadly, lifelong relationships often end over money, opinions, or possessions.
  • Being successful at marriage and family requires new skills. Today’s couples must learn communication skills, develop problem-solving routines, and learn how to work toward compatible lifestyles. When problems occur, we usually want to handle them in the same way that our parents handled their problems, but we also recognize that life and some of its rules have changed. We are not born with computer skills but most of us recognize the need to develop them. Similarly, relationship skill training is becoming more and more necessary in order to combat the more than 50% divorce rate.

Marriage and family relationships are terrible things to lose. Not far in the future, I anticipate there will be gift certificates for premarital and marriage counseling sessions, and prescheduled counseling sessions twice yearly to prevent relationship problems. As with dental care, only you can prevent relationship decay.