We long for rapture. We long to be transported to an otherworldly place where the problems that weigh heavily into our souls and the pain that pierces our hearts lift away, if only for a moment. We long to feel profoundly alive and deeply fulfilled. We long for ecstasy.

Western culture conditions us from the time we’re old enough to absorb information that the rapture and ecstasy we long for can be found in romantic love. If you find the “right” person, you will be airlifted out of the human realm and set atop a sea of clouds where life is beautiful and serene. If you find “the One”, you will ride off into the sunset and experience unparalleled bliss from first kiss to last breath. Some part of our minds know that this is a fantasy, that there isn’t one person who has the capacity to offer a lifetime of unilateral joy, but it’s not our minds that run the show when fantasy takes over. It’s the unconscious blueprint that we’ve absorbed at a preverbal level that stands in the way of creating a life predicated upon real love.

What is real love? Real love is what you give. Real love is an action and an act of will. Real love is a commitment and an intention. Real love does not require a beginning defined by infatuation (although it may). It doesn’t mean that you won’t feel irritated at times and that you’ll always feel attracted to your partner. Real love can be uneventful, comfortable, and boring. But at the core is a foundation of trust, respect, and, above all else, the willingness to learn. For as I wrote about last week, very few people know how to love well at the starting gates. It’s a skill that we learn over time.

Real love also includes an understanding that where this is love, there is fear. Just as joy and sadness live in the same chamber of the heart, so love and fear are bedfellows. We don’t learn this basic fact anywhere. Where it becomes even more tricky is that fear is rarely felt as raw fear but instead manifests as irritation, lack of attraction, numbness, and an obsessive focus on a perceived lack in your partner (not attractive enough, not funny enough, not social enough, not educated enough, not intellectual enough, not ambitious enough). We must learn to call out fear’s disguises in order to dismantle its power.

The cultural cognitive distortion that tells us that love is only a feeling combined with the lack of information about fear’s role in love leads many people either to walk away from a loving relationship because they’re “not in love enough” or “not attracted enough” or to become mired in years of relationship anxiety where they’re neither fully in the relationship nor willing to leave. Very few people understand what real love is all about.

The true rapture of love is holding hands in silence as you watch the sun setting behind the mountains, trusting that the silence contains the terrain of psyche and soul that you’ve dared to share with one another.

The sustainable bliss of love is becoming the safe harbor in which your partner can land and knowing that your partner offer the same safe haven for you.

The true romance of love is the hundreds of ways that we extend ourselves for the sake of our partner, from fixing a tire to attending family gatherings to moving through the moment of irritation or lack of attraction so that you can move toward your partner with acceptance.

The real ecstasy of love is sitting on the porch swing with your beloved lifetime partner as you watch your grandchildren play in the yard.

This is the true fantasy, and it’s all we really want. It seems so simple: holding hands, being a safe person for each other, sitting on a swing. And once you work through the fear-walls that stand in love’s way, it is simple. But how do you work through the fear? How do you rewire the broken cultural mindsets about love that have caused you to misfire and misunderstood what real love is about?

In order to rest in the true rapture of love you first have to shatter the fantasy of love. You have to deconstruct nearly everything you’ve learned about love – from attraction to what it really means to be in love to sex – so that you can rebuild on a new foundation. For some people, this shattering stage is extremely challenging, as the compulsion to chase after the drug of love is almost wired into their veins. In fact, the degree to which you’re addicted to the infatuation stage is commensurate to the level of dryness in your Well of Self. In other words, the more you long to feel the aliveness that the infatuation stage brings, the stronger an indicator it is that you’re looking for ecstasy in the wrong place. You will only find false rapture in another. True rapture requires downloading the correct love manual.

And that’s where we begin: by downloading the correct manual. Included in this new download are the Love Laws and Loving Actions that will help you rewire and re-fire so that you can build a lifetime partnership based on real love. Once you receive the manual, you will learn how to name your fear walls, see through clear eyes instead of fear eyes, perceive essence instead of image, and realize that it’s through action that fear loses its power. And when fear shrinks, attraction and love grow. It’s as simple as that.

Author's Bio: 

Sheryl Paul, M.A., has counseled thousands of people worldwide through her private practice, her bestselling books, her e-courses and her website. She has appeared several times on "The Oprah Winfrey Show", as well as on "Good Morning America" and other top media shows and publications around the globe. To sign up for her free 78-page eBook, "Conscious Transitions: The 7 Most Common (and Traumatic) Life Changes", visit her website at http://conscious-transitions.com. And if you're suffering from relationship anxiety – whether single, dating, engaged, or married – give yourself the gift of her popular eCourse
(http://conscious-transitions.com/break-free-from-relationship-anxiety-e-...), has counseled thousands of people worldwide through her private practice, her bestselling books, her e-courses and her website. She has appeared several times on "The Oprah Winfrey Show", as well as on "Good Morning America" and other top media shows and publications around the globe. To sign up for her free 78-page eBook, "Conscious Transitions: The 7 Most Common (and Traumatic) Life Changes", visit her website at http://conscious-transitions.com. And if you're suffering from relationship anxiety – whether single, dating, engaged, or married – give yourself the gift of her popular eCourse
(http://conscious-transitions.com/break-free-from-relationship-anxiety-e-...)