Physical relationship is important in a relationship

Existential analysis and logotherapeutic consideration How resilient is love? (Part 1) by Manfred Knoke

1. What is love?

If you ask people who live in partnership what connects them, it takes a while before the word "love" is uttered. Once the first statements about the most important requirements for a successful partnership have been named (trust, understanding, reliability, security, freedom, common ground, sexuality, eroticism, tolerance), the reluctance or shyness seems to have almost disappeared. As a reader, ask yourself how you feel when you say "I love you" and feel the unusual atmosphere. Do you feel secure or do you feel hesitation, uncertainty, maybe even fears.

In general, the requirements for the term "love" are very high. Ideas and expectations, media models, traditions and a lack of scientific objectification make people think more about the love process - phases of love (childhood love, infatuation, parental love, erotic love, etc.) , because basically nobody really knows what love is.

Why is love so difficult to grasp, justify and analyze? What does love do with us and we with her? From an existential analysis point of view, the love relationship is an intentional act that is related to values. People come across these values ​​and are touched by them, let themselves be set in motion and inspired by them. Man does not make these values, just as he cannot make love, but is attracted by the values. It is the same with love. Wherever a person encounters the unmistakable uniqueness of another person and is fascinated by it, there is love.

Many thousands of stories have described this love process and survived over the centuries despite social, religious and economic constraints. Today every single partner decides for himself whether he wants to stay with her or with him. This increases the pressure on the individual and intensifies the question of responsibility for the relationship to a greater extent. Therefore every couple has to find their own reason for a continuous coexistence. Being in a relationship is not enough; coming into encounter must be the basis of the love relationship. That means that encounter can only take place where there is no obstacle, no demand, no expectation, no compulsion, no purpose.

2. Encounter - the basis of love

Encounter is always immediate and mutual. In this understanding, according to the existential analyst Lilo Tutsch, love means: "I turn to you, I get close to you and experience your effect on me, you move me, liveliness arises in me, feelings of affection, tenderness and mindfulness overwhelm me . I find your closeness to be beneficial and I feel drawn to you "(Lecture 2002). So if love is to succeed, it must be embedded in encounter. Two conditions appear to be important: on the one hand, the partner must be seen as a person, i.e. independent, self-determined and free, and on the other hand, the encounter requires a personal dialogue ability. This goes far beyond practicing communication training, it is about personal development on both sides and the self-realization of the individual. A good partnership lives from the ability to devote, that is, devotion to the value of mutual love.

In any case, the prerequisite for being able to meet is to talk to one another about all situations, especially about personal, partnership, sexual as well as illness and disability-related crises. They challenge those involved to change, to think. It is not primarily a matter of what the couple experiences in terms of hardship and suffering, but how they accept and shape their fate. No matter how great the burden on love, people have words, feelings, humor and the ability to think. People can comfort, forgive, remember, and help to live with inner approval.

If the person cannot relate to himself and cannot represent himself, the deficit is filled by using the partner. A feeling of dependency arises. It becomes unbearable when ideas and expectations are not met because the partner lives his own. Encounters rarely take place in such a relationship. Selflessness and willingness to make sacrifices for one's partner are often confused with love. If both have this attitude, it means for love that both have given up. This also applies if both want to meet the expectation of the partner, that is, to exercise anticipatory obedience and not formulate his own needs and hope that the other will discover them by chance. To love selflessly in this way is not to love yourself. There are no encounters and soon a bad feeling arises that something is wrong.

The loving dialogue needs courage, courage for oneself and courage for the encounter with the other. Love lives from the encounter, that means much more than cultivating a relationship. The partners should not overlook the fact that the ability to love has a lot to do with the original relationship experiences with father and mother and often less with the life partner himself. To differentiate this means that every couple has to find the balance between self and common ground. In love there is no right to one another because love is a voluntary gift.

3. Binding and destructive energy of sexuality

The mutual perception of the equivalence of give and take is decisive for the success of a partnership. This is especially true for the sexual needs on both sides. Everyone is responsible for their own needs and does not automatically have to convey them to the other as an expectation. Passionate love is comparable to the intoxication of being in love for the first time, which people usually remember fondly. O.F. Kernberg speaks in his book "Love Relationships - Normality and Pathology" (1998) of sexual passion as a characteristic of love relationships. Passion has the function of strengthening, consolidating and renewing the love relationship throughout life, as intense sexual enjoyment gives rise to a new vitality that a partnership should carry.

A quick look at the empirical data in the case of a longer partnership shows that there must be a great inability on the part of the partner or external circumstances (for example stress, illness, disability) force them to simply stop lust, passion and sex. Sexual energy becomes less and less available, although the partners want the desire for physical union, for harmony, for total harmony and holistic togetherness.

The external circumstances and everyday stress include, above all, dissatisfaction with oneself, with one's partner or with the children, physical and psychological exhaustion, existential worries, gender-specific allegations, etc. The joy of sex diminishes under the pressure of everyday life, so that sexuality and partner can develop considerably less. "No other relationship challenges personal maturation and development as much as a love relationship. There is also no relationship that endangers personal well-being as much as a love relationship that has become destructive." from: Jürg Willi "Psychology of Love" 2004.

The superficially discussed opinion that men want sex above all, women tenderness is an absolute rejection of love. The more demanding the preconditions for women, the more likely men are to reduce sex to sexual intercourse, that is, to get down to business quickly, to orgasm. Women need preparation, conversation, tenderness, time that many coitus-conscious men do not want or cannot give or do not consider necessary. For the continuation of relationships it is important that the partners create opportunities for retreat and consciously create "islands of sexual happiness". Conversations about sexuality and lust are just as necessary as erotic desire. In the few controlled and comparable studies that have been carried out on the subject of partnership and sexuality, it can be stated that the variables for the success and failure of a partnership are largely related to sexuality. Relationship tests have been developed, for example at Schindler, Hahlweg, Revenstorf "Relationship Problems, Diagnosis and Therapy" 1999, which provide information about the frequency of sex. This concept is available on the Internet ( from the Institute for Psychology at the University of Göttingen.

4. Love and Freedom

In partnership, love is the shared freedom of the partners. Love without freedom is not love, just a semblance of love. It is experienced as a whole with many facets and nuances. The point of view of one partner does not always exactly match the point of view of the other partner, so that somehow, somewhere, at some point there is room for maneuver. These are not to be filled with compulsion, power and domination of the other, but with love. If the individual is restricted, limited in his freedom, fears, aggression, injuries, indifference and sometimes even hatred arise. How important the right space and time of closeness and distance are, becomes clear when the space of love and freedom becomes too narrow or is even swept empty. Interest in the other should stay awake because the partners are worth something. In love, you cannot do without feeling, but also the cooperation of the mind, just as you cannot do without common interests and planning.


Looking back, one could say: Love is about the personal development of both partners individually as well as the design of the common space. This includes the ability to keep an eye on yourself and your partner with their needs, desires and values. A good partnership thrives on the ability to dedicate, on the value of mutual love. The partners should open up to the encounter; if this succeeds, then liveliness and openness emerge naturally. Fulfilling sexuality deepens love. Most people are afraid of losing their freedom in a partnership if they love and cannot believe that love also means the greatest development of freedom.

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Last changed on 08/22/2013 12:27 PM