Author, anthropologist and marriage counselor Gary Chapman has some bitter medicine for couples everywhere: The “in-love” feeling that gives you butterflies at the beginning of a relationship is in fact closer to obsession than love. Worse yet, that obsession tends to expire after about two years. But don’t despair: Chapman softens the blow by offering plenty of practical and reassuring advice for achieving lasting intimacy in his mega-selling book.
Chapman, a Southern Baptist pastor and unlikely love guru, explains that after the initial honeymoon period, partners start to look at each differently. The quirks you once overlooked in your partner, or maybe even found endearing, often start to become irritating, even unbearable. It’s important to note this is a two-way street and your partner is likely experiencing the same shift in perspective.
At this point, you and your partner have three choices. You can resign yourselves to an unhappy life together, you can separate and search for a new euphoric round of “in-love” obsession with someone else, or you can make a genuine attempt to transition from love-like obsession to true and lasting love together. For many, the third option is the clear preference — it’s also hard work.
For readers who are ready to put in the effort, Chapman’s book, which has sold more than 12 million copies, offers a guide to committing thoughtful, intentional acts of love that are custom-tailored to build strong, enduring relationships.