Have you ever been in love?
Falling in love is one of the easiest things in the world. The difficult part often comes later, when you’re trying to stay in love. It has been estimated that nearly half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. As it turns out, failing in love is just as easy as falling in love.
With so many stories of “happily ever after” inundating our culture, many of us have accepted the idea—from a very young age—that our primary goal in life is to find our perfect partner or soulmate, with our very own fairy-tale ending guaranteed to follow.
The value we place on idealized lifelong relationships permeates our society and creates expectations that a good start is all we need for a fulfilling relationship. But think about it: In other important life ventures such as our career or health and fitness, we understand that to succeed, we must continue to put in the time and effort over the long term. We seek further education, find mentors and trainers, and buy gym memberships. Why do we think that building a lasting, loving relationship is any different?
In Building Love That Lasts, you will access a treasure trove of secrets to sustaining healthy relationships in 12 inspirational lessons led by a married couple who specialize in positive psychology. Suzann Pileggi Pawelski is a writer, consultant, and positive psychology expert. Her husband, Professor James Pawelski, is the cofounder and director of the world’s first degree program in positive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. And while their focus is on romantic relationships, the research Suzie and James share is applicable to relationships of all kinds—including with family, friends, and work colleagues.
Visit the Relationship Gym
This course will take you through a series of visits to what our experts dub the Relationship Gym.™ This gym is for everyone, regardless of where you are in your relationship journey.
Just like building a healthy body at a fitness gym, a Relationship Gym requires four key factors to provide you with full benefits:
- Effort: Being willing to put in the work.
- Consistency: Showing up every day over the long term.
- Novelty: Getting out of ruts and trying new things.
- Expert Guidance: Having trainers help you get the most benefit from all of the above.
Throughout the course, our experts introduce healthy relationship concepts rooted equally in ancient wisdom, modern scientific research, and evidence-based practice. They then give you concrete exercises that you can do with or without your partner to apply what you have learned.
The Aristotelian Lovers Concept
Over 2,400 years ago, the Greek philosopher Aristotle had plenty to say about relationships that remains relevant and important for us today.
Our experts begin by sharing two very different perspectives on love from popular culture illustrated in famous movie scenes from Academy Award®-nominated and Academy Award®-winning films:
“You complete me.” Versus “You make me want to be a better man.”
The first perspective focuses on the concept of soulmates—looking for the one person who can make you whole. This is a fatalistic view, as it does not involve choice; you are just sitting around waiting for your Prince (or Princess) Charming to appear magically on your doorstep. Additionally, this idea promotes co-dependency and is not sustainable in the long run.
The second perspective brings us to Aristotle. He says that humans love three categories of things and that there is a kind of friendship that belongs to each category:
- Love of What Is Useful: Leads to friendships based on utility, where each person brings something to the table and looks to see what they can get out of it.
- Love of What Is Pleasurable: Leads to friendships based on pleasure and fun. Because pleasure does not last forever, though, these friendships are often unstable.
- Love of What Is Good: Leads to the ideal type of friendship, which is based on mutual admiration and respect for each other’s goodness and character. This type of friendship can often inspire us to want to be better people ourselves.
A Tale of Two Superheroes
Imagine two superheroes: One wears a red cape and the other wears a green cape. The difference between them is that the red-cape superhero looks to eradicate evil, whereas the green-cape superhero focuses on promoting good. Both superheroes do great work for humanity but they have completely different perspectives and goals.
What do superheroes and capes have to do with psychology and love? A lot, it turns out. While neither the red cape nor the green cape is inherently wrong, many of us go through life overusing the red cape. We wait for problems to pop up, and when they do, we pour our energies into tackling them to make them disappear.
Through a focus on positive psychology, this course will help you explore the importance of using the green cape more frequently and effectively to look for opportunities to grow the good things in your life.
Applying Positive Psychology to Love
Throughout this course, our experts take a deep dive into four specific areas of scientific research associated with helping to build love that lasts:
- Passion: Learn about harmonious passion vs. obsessive passion. It is not the amount of passion that matters most. Rather, having the right kind is vital for individual and relational well-being.
- Positive Emotions: Seeking positivity is not just the result of good outcomes but also a cause of them. This is not the same thing as seeking pleasure.
- Savoring: The perfect companion to positive emotions, this is the art of appreciating and attending to positive experiences with your partner.
- Character Strengths: Identify your strengths and use your innate best qualities to enhance your relationship, then learn how to enable and facilitate your partner’s best qualities.
Become an Aristotelian Lover
We all know about the “Golden Rule”: “Treat others as you would wish to be treated.” But did you know that there are two other rules to consider when it comes to relationships?
First, we have the “Platinum Rule”: “Treat others as they would wish to be treated.” But perhaps the highest of all of these is the Aristotelian approach, what Suzie and James call the “Diamond Rule”: “Treat others as their best selves would want us to treat them.” In other words, treat them in a way that would support the development of the goodness of their character.
Whether you are looking to start a relationship off on the right foot, weather difficult times, reignite the passion, or transform a good duo into a great one, Building Love That Lasts is the relationship course that will offer you a healthy view of human connection and give you science-based tools to approach your relationships in a new way.