Home Couples & Family Psychology Developmental Love Lingers Here: Intimate Enduring Relationships–V. Exploring the Founding Story

Love Lingers Here: Intimate Enduring Relationships–V. Exploring the Founding Story

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George noted that he had actually seen Betty earlier and had been very attracted to her (perhaps meaning that Betty didn’t have to scoot over to get his attention on the bus):

I had seen her in the physics class. It was in an amphitheater. She sat down near the front on the left. I still remember. She wore a white dress and had blue rimmed glasses. I knew that’s the gal for me. Hadn’t met her, but I knew. I suspected she must have been a Williams because I knew Dennis [Betty’s brother]. Burt [George and Betty’s classmate] saw me always watching her and asked me if I wanted to meet her.

The interviewer then asked: “What did you say?” George: “I said yes.” Betty went on to note that she thought George was the “most handsome person I’d ever seen . . . I’ve ever seen. You’re still very handsome, dear.” As they were relating their founding story, both Betty and George were blushing and laughing. They each seemed to delight in letting the other know how very attracted they were to each other—how much they had “fallen head over heels.”

What a remarkable gift Betty and George were given as a couple! They can still taste and feel the wonderful quality of this remarkable defining moment in both of their lives. Like many intimate, enduring couples, George and Betty can relish these early, passionate images of their partner as perfect in every way, as the epitome of what each partner needs to fill his or her life with hope and meaning. Anyone who is fortunate enough to have created and now live in such a relationship can return to these memories and stories again and again during their life, and will always find them to be deeply satisfying and renewing. The continuing vitality of the ever-present founding story is often particularly important during periods of conflict and transition (remarriage) in the life of a couple. The story provides continuity while also demonstrating dramatically and emotionally the reason why we got together in the first place, and the reason why we should keep investing ourselves in the renewal of this important relationship.

As two sexagenarians, Betty and George, continue their story, the expression of attraction and passion further intensified. Their interviewer asked: “When did you fall in love?” George answered first: “at the fraternity party. It was art initiation dance.” Betty then added: “Daddy didn’t know how to dance very well.” George: “That’s right.. You taught me the two step.” Betty: “No, it was the one step.” George: “Do you remember after the dance when we were walking out to the car, how we were practically running.” Betty:

Yes, we started running to the car and we got in. Daddy gave me a kiss that burns me up to think about it. It was so steamingly passionate. That was our first date. There was nobody else. I was going to marry him or I wasn’t going to get married. I woke up my folks when I got home. They always had me wake them up when I would get in, and I told them “George is going to be your new son-in-law.” My mother said: “But you’ve just met him. If And I said that I knew that but that’s the way it is.

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