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True romance is universally sought after, but it is found by very few.

— Karmayogi

Level 4 - Vital Attraction

Relationship usually begins when one is happy spending time with another, and the attraction has the seal of social approval. He may be attracted to her because of her pleasant manners and behavior. She may be attractive to him because he is considered acceptable or desirable by her friends and family. She takes a personal interest in him which makes him feel good about himself. He may be drawn to her because she is more intense, energetic, more extroverted or having some other attribute that is complementary to his own.


Jane & Bingley (Pride and Prejudice)

 

 

 

 

 

Jane Bennet and Charles Bingley are vitally attracted to each other. Jane is a beautiful, sweet, refined young woman. Bingley is a pleasant and happy young man. They are mutually attracted to one another by their good looks and pleasing manners. They feel lost to the world while in each other’s company. His pleasing personality and considerable wealth make him appear most eligible in the eyes of Jane’s family. Jane’s perfect demeanor wins approval from Bingley’s sisters. George Wickham, a dashing officer who charms the heart of every other female in the area has no effect on Jane. Even a year’s separation coupled with the attractions of London cannot sway Bingley’s emotions to forget her. When they come back together, she accepts him happily, almost without unquestioning his long absence. Everyone around them is struck by their quiet, contented joy and confident that their life together will be always smooth and sweet.

A relationship at this level is based on social acceptance or vital attraction to the energies of the other person. Attraction is more social or psychological than physical, though the physical element may still be prominent. We are attracted to partners who are popular or please us. If the attraction is positive and unselfish, the relationship is pleasant and enjoyable, as in the case of Jane and Bingley, who are both mild, well-mannered, likeable and always anxious to please each other. In some cases, one partner may desire to dominate the relationship or both partners may lack the self-discipline and good behavior required to sustain positive relationships. When egoism and selfishness become predominant, the initial vital attraction can degenerate into disappointment, frustration, jealousy, anger and conflict.

Growing in Love (When Harry met Sally)

When Harry met Sally depicts the psychological journey of a man and woman from casual acquaintance and sexual attraction to friendship and emotional intimacy. Harry meets Sally when they share a car ride to New York City upon graduation from the University of Chicago. A few minutes into the trip, the conversation between them becomes heatedly contentious. Harry is strongly attracted to Sally physically. Sally is repulsed by his aggressive manners and obvious sexual intentions. Over the next 13 years they meet repeatedly, then drift apart and meet again. Each passes through many failed relationships. Harry gets married and divorced. Eventually they develop a close, platonic friendship and find that they understand, like and enjoy each other’s company more than any other relationships they have been in. Finally it dawns on them that life together is far happier and more fulfilling than their other romantic pursuits and an intense intimacy grows between them.

Ben and Katie (The Story of Us)

This movie depicts a turbulent period in the relationship between Katie and Ben Jordan, fifteen years after their marriage, when they have two lovely children and a comfortable home in suburbia. He is a carefree, happy extroverted writer; she a well-organized perfectionist who takes life seriously and can only let go in his company. Initially they were attracted to one another because they were so very different. They have arrived at a point where the very attributes that originally gave liveliness and joy to the relationship have become a source of friction, tension and frequent quarrels. They have come to resent the inherited characteristics that each brings from their own family and background. Acceptance of difference has given place to impatience and intolerance. The strong physical and vital attraction that originally made them feel so strongly for one another has gradually worn thin. Although still socially popular with friends, the initial novelty of their individual differences has lost its charm and with it their patience and tolerance for one another. So they decide to separate and divorce. While carrying out that decision they discover a deeper layer of emotional attachment which they cherish and are unwilling to give up. They recognize that their differences represent strengths by which they complement and complete one another. They realize that in the course of living their lives they had forgotten that their relationship and their children are more important than anything else. Ultimately familiarity, friendship, trust and love of their children prevail and they decide to remain together.

The Robarts (Framely Parsonage)

Time and again we find in life and literature that the positive bonds of human relationship possess a commanding power over life. Mark Robarts is an English clergyman living a comfortable and prosperous life on a £900 income with his affectionate wife Fanny and two small children. They resided at Framley Parsonage under the patronage of the elderly Lady Lufton and her son Lord Lufton, who was a longtime close friend of Mr. Robarts. Having attained financial security, a loving family and social respectability at an early age, Mark aspired to climb higher and was lured by the glittering status of the English aristocracy. Though personally charming and well-educated, Mark had led a sheltered life and was ignorant of the ways of the world. As a result, he was easily duped by an aristocratic MP, Nathaniel Sowerby, who persuaded him to sign counter-guarantee on several promissory notes executed by Sowerby on the assurance that he would never be called upon to pay anything against the note. Mark eventually realizes he has been swindled and decides to accept public humiliation rather than borrowing or asking for assistance from his wealthy benefactors.

Mark is vain and foolish, but he is a responsible husband who is faithful and deeply attached to his wife and children. He now finds himself confronted with the onerous task of telling his faithful wife about his catastrophic folly and the public humiliation and severe financial straits to which the entire family would now be subjected. Very rarely in life or literature do we meet a female character like Fanny Robarts. Though a strong English woman and formed individual in her own right, in one respect Fanny resembled far more closely the fading ideal of Indian womanhood. For she considered it her highest duty and greatest privilege to stand by her husband through any ordeal, no matter how severe the trials or how much it may be of his own making. Rather than sit quietly judging him while he confessed his sins to her, she rushed over to stand by his side and demanded the right to share fully the burden that had fallen on his shoulders. Though it did not change the material consequences of his position one iota, Mark immediately felt the burden lifted from his soul by the sympathetic support of a loyal and affectionate wife. Mark and Fanny are saved from infamy and elevated by life at the very next moment when Lufton announces his determination to marry Mark’s sister Lucy. In a trice, the creditors were banished and the Robarts rose through a marriage alliance with the most distinguished family in the county.

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