A paradox, at least.
Tonight, I have the beginnings of a Big Idea, but given that there are now...21 minutes until the deadline, I will merely introduce to my Big Idea, and leave the Big Idea Posting for another day. (Not tomorrow. Tomorrow's the End of Term Review Post. Woo hoo!!)
Sorry. Back to the Big Idea.
Oprah (source of so many Big Ideas) has in her magazine a small - I mean really small - piece on "the truth about what keeps marriages together." Helen Fisher, the article's author, undertook research to discover what makes romantic love last. They were searching for "people who said they were still wild about their longtime spouse." Eventually they found 17 people who were willing to have their brains scanned whilst they looked at photos of their sweetheart. "Most were in their 50s and married an average of 21 years."
Now, we all have been told that romantic love doesn't last - that marriages are built on "good communication, shared values, a sturdy support system of friends and relatives, happy stable childhoods fair quarreling, and dogged determination." But the results of this study stopped the scientists short:
...the brains of these middle-aged men and women showed much the same activity as those of young lovers, individuals who had been intensely in love an average of only seven months. Indeed, there was just one important difference between the two groups: Among the older lovers, brain regions associated with anxiety were no longer active; instead, there was activity in the areas associated with calmness.
Dr Fisher then quotes a survey by psychologist Marcel Zentner PhD, who in examining 470 different studies on compatibility found "no particular combination of personality traits that leads to sustained romance - with one exception: the ability to sustain your 'positive illusions.' Dr Fisher paraphrases - "Men and women who continue to maintain that their partner is attractive, funny, kind and ideal for them in just about every way remain content with each other."
[It's on page 182 in the December '09 issue, I can't seem to find the link right now.]
Really? It's as simple as focusing on the positive? Wow. I think a bunch of divorce attorneys are in BIG trouble if people start believing this malarkey.
So I want to know: do you guys think this is possible? I have to say, it stopped me short. I live with a man who is able to call out - and believe - the best in me. I can't profess to being as good at that.
More on this soon, I promise. It's got those wheels a'turnin.