Modern physiology and psychology provide different perspectives on human behavior, in particular in a love relationship. These psychological perspectives include biological, learning, social and cultural, cognitive, and psychodynamic aspects. They all are different in their influence on the human conduit and offer particular approaches to understanding people’s behavior in a love relationship. These elements of human relationships explain how a relationship begins, develops and is maintained. However, the presence of some of them can lead to healthy relationships or cause their termination. Looking at my long-lasting and flourishing relationship with my wife, an effect of each of these perspectives is evident. Thus, this paper explores my love relationships through the biological, learning, social and cultural, cognitive, and psychodynamic perspectives, as well as compares and contrasts their influence to gain a better understanding of a love relationship from the scientific point of view.
Among all approaches to analyzing human behavior, the biological perspective is the most important and science-based. According to it, the brain (hypothalamus) produces molecules of phenylethylamine (FEA) that cause a sense of euphoria, elation, and joy. Due them, the state of loving couples becomes similar to the state after taking drugs. Partners feel the rise of vitality, agility, audacity, frivolity, and optimism. The chemical process during which the molecules of FEA coincide causes a combination of chemical reactions. Thus, there appears physical attraction as a result of this reaction. Therefore, from the biological perspective, love is explained as the emergence of interpersonal relationships, understanding or misunderstanding between partners based on chemical reactions in the brain. It can be concluded that my wife and I fell in love because of the coincidence of our FEA molecules. It happened fast and unexpectedly. However, the euphoria we felt at the beginning of our relationship is not the same today. It is explained by the fact that the reaction between the chemical compounds cannot repeat and continue at the same level for long. It means that the sexual desire between partners tends to fade with time. After four years, the number of FEA decreases, and the intensity of the chemical reaction begins to subside.
However, it should be noted that we still love each other. We are married and maintain healthy and affectionate behavior. It can be explained by the oxytocin that is released during this interaction. The couples that naturally have a higher oxytocin activity are better at relationships.
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The learning perspective aspects are necessary in building and understanding relationships. It differs from all other perspectives in the fact that it focuses only on the observable behavior, but not what happens inside the person’s mind and body. A person’s behavior influence the way his or her partner behaves toward him or her. People observe the actions of their counterparts and react by demonstrating the same models of behavior.
When the inevitable undesirable behaviors occur, people tend to turn into punishment. They instinctively attack those whose behavior seems displeasing or upsetting to them. It can be realized by ridicule, criticism, blame or disapproval. Such tendencies may cause the termination of relationships. Thus, at the beginning of our interactions, my wife and I were arguing at work all the time. My behavior seemed arrogant, cocky, and self-absorbed to her. She was attacking me, and I was attacking her in return. However, getting to know each other better, we ceased this confrontation and understood that we loved each other.
To maintain and develop healthy relationships, it is important to notice and reward the desired behaviors exhibited by the partners on a regular basis. As a rule, with time, the positive aspects of the relationships become intrinsic, and their frequency will increase in the future, ensuring positive interactions. Thus, we always thank each other for the nice things we do and reward each other with a smile or encouragement.
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Social and Cultural Perspectives
Social and cultural perspectives have a particularly strong influence on a love relationship. The social environment affects people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Individuals tend to construct own realities based on the environment they are in. This way, when we were walking with my future wife, we ended up holding hands. It was something that I was not used to doing – show affection in public. If, at that time, my feelings were not stronger than the influence of the social environment, probably, I would take off my hand, which, respectively, would hurt her. Also, our social environment, which was represented by our single or divorced friends, was against our marriage because, according to them, we were too young. However, they did not have much influence on us. Nevertheless, often, social pressure may play a determining role in the termination of the relationships. The opinions of relatives, friends and peers can either negatively or positively contribute to their formation and development. In our case, peer pressure did not have a decisive role. Moreover, social perspective plays an important role an individual’s preferences. For example, a person’s response to horror films is strongly determined by the partner’s reaction. With the passage of time, my wife and me started to enjoy the same things.
Additionally, cultural aspects can cause misunderstandings at the initial stage of the relationships. For example, the neutral distance for Latinos is much closer than for Caucasians, who may interpret the distance as close. When people are happily married, it means that the cultural and social impacts do not play a significant role.
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The cognitive perspective on love relationship and stable marriage is associated with the fact whether the person thinks in a way that is adjustable to the goals, concerns, conflicts, and cares of a strong and lasting relationship, or whether he or she has dysfunctional relationship beliefs and thinking processes. Finding a romantic partner and making a long-term commitment to that person involve crucial decisions. Romance is consistently ranked among the top regrets of life for most people. Thus, maximizers might run into some predictable obstacles within the realm of relationships. Either they will let the opportunities pass by because they are still looking for that perfect person, or they will avoid making a commitment for fear to avoid regretting it later. Such perfectionist standards might make it impossible for them to appreciate a partner who is actually a good match. The cognitive perspective is important during all the time of relationships. Thus, the first year of our marriage was separate from each other because I was overseas. It was a difficult time, and, at times, I started to think that everything was breaking apart and that healthy relationships cannot be built from a distance. It wasn’t perfect. But I suppressed the maximizer inside me, and now we are the best married couple ever.
According to the psychodynamic perspective, peple’s actions are based on hidden or unconscious thoughts, needs and emotions. Human behavior is rather deterministic than random. Determinism applies to everything people do, feel or think. This approach emphasizes the importance of unconscious mental processes in the regulation of human behavior. Thus, I was dating with my future wife; I knew that I cared about her, and told that I loved her. However, I said it unconsciously as I did not really feel that I loved her as I now understand. Although the feeling of true love has evolved later, it can be stated that the subconscious me felt it from the very beginning. It is where my ego stands. Moreover, according to the psychodynamic theory, early childhood experiences take central part in forming emotions and, therefore, human’s actions. Thus, an event in my childhood influenced the fact that I feared to hold hands on the public.
The unconscious mental processes regulate human behavior all the time; thus, a psychodynamic perspective influences the beginning, developing and maintaining of relationships.
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The Comparison of Perspectives’ Impact
From the discussion above, biological perspective plays the most important part in the emergence of love relationship. It is explained by the fact that human feelings are caused by the production of endorphin and oxytocin. Without these hormones, people would not feel love. Moreover, the biological perspective is one of the two that cannot be controlled by a person. However, it is important only at the beginning of relationships, namely the first three years. Then, other factors come into effect. A learning perspective has the biggest influence on what happens after three years. Its correct understanding and application lead to good and healthy relationships while a wrong approach may even cause their termination. The social and cultural perspectives have, probably, the least effect on the development of a love relationship. From my personal experience, it can be stated that they influence only those individuals for whom culture and social environment are particularly important. Besides, the cultural aspects can have a strong impact only at the beginning of the relationships while biological, learning and social environment factors are present at all stages of the relationships. The cognitive perspective’s elements can have an impact during the relationships, but only in maximizers. In such people, they can lead to the end of relationships or even prevent their beginning. However, people can learn how to cope with them and lessen their influence to zero. The psychodynamic perspective is the second perspective the issues of which cannot be controlled as everything is done unconsciously.
Due to the biological factors, people feel attraction to each other and love, and it cannot be controlled. Thus, I fell in love with my wife due to the production of hormones in our bodies. However, the biological perspective only helped to establish our relationships. At the stage of developing and maintaining them, other perspectives came into play, as well. The learning perspective focuses on the observable behavior. People watch and learn how their partners behave and copy their actions. Thinking that I was arrogant, before entering into the relationship, my wife-to-be acted aggressively towards me. Thus, we did not let a healthy interaction begin by attacking each other in return. However, with time, we learnt to be good role models for each other and demonstrate gratitude and affection. The social and cultural perspectives did not influence our relationships as we were of the same culture and ignored the opinion of our close environment. Once, due to the cognitive perspective, our relationships nearly fell apart. Being a maximizer, I started to doubt our marriage at the distance. The cognitive perspective influenced my thoughts, but, thankfully, not my actions. Additionally, at the beginning of my relationships with my wife, the psychodynamic perspective played a positive role – I said my future wife that I loved her even not understanding it, which made our relations develop into a loving healthy family.
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