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Romance is an adventure of unknown.

— Karmayogi

pride and prejudice

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Strategies to Increase Harmony in Your Relationship

Harmony is the foundation for lasting relationship, affection, love and romance. If your relationship suffers from quarrels, anger, tension, or disharmony of any description, your first step should be to remove those negatives from the relationship. Please follow these steps to raise the level of harmony in your relationship.

1.      Review the list of strategies below. If you find any of them apply to your relationship, take steps to practice them.

2.      If you find that these strategies are not sufficient to address the problem, you may wish to consult the IRES expert system for personalized advice on how to solve your specific problem.

3.      Once you have applied these strategies, you are ready to raise the level of affection, love and romance in your relationship. Then see the list of Unfailing Positive Strategies to Improve Your Relationship.

1. Stop Complaining

Blaming and complaining against one's partner - either directly to the person or to other people or to oneself -- is a natural, frequent and in some cases a full-time occupation for many people. Partners often become experts in observing and pointing out the defects in one another. Unfortunately, those that acquire the habit often do not realize a universal truth about complaining. Complaining always aggravates the traits we complain about! So unless you enjoy complaining more than you enjoy harmonious relationships, it is better to give up the habit - no matter how justified you may be or think you are in voicing your complaints.

When we complain about a person's defects or deficiencies, we give attention to that aspect of their behavior or personality. Attention energizes. Whatever becomes the object of our attention is energized and grows because of that attention - good things multiply when they are noticed. So do bad things. Complaining aggravates the very behaviors that prompt us to complain, even when the complaint seems rational and fully justified! This is true even when our complaint is never expressed in words.

If you really want to eliminate bothersome behaviors in your partner or anyone else, the best means is to totally ignore them and not even take notice of them. If you find that too difficult, start by refusing to complain about those behaviors to other people. Later try to stop complaining about it even to yourself. This strategy is very powerful. Those who successfully practice it are sure to generate a positive response from your partner. Often the response is instantaneous.

The Bennets (Pride & Prejudice) 

The Bennets are constantly at odds with each other. Mr. Bennet makes sure he loses no opportunity to criticize and complain about his wife. He always talks to her teasingly, mocking her and pointing out her mistakes. To him, she is a silly and foolish woman who is incapable of behaving sensibly or responsibly. When she is in raptures over a wealthy suitor's interest in their daughter, he cannot stand to hear her and rudely asks her to stop. When she complains about her health, he makes a joke of it. When she is heartbroken over future title of their hereditary property going to their neighbor's daughter, his words hurt her more than they console. When he has had enough of putting her down, he locks himself up in his library where she is not permitted entry.

Mrs. Bennet is not intelligent enough to catch her husband's quick wit, so most of his sarcasm is lost on her. But that does not dampen his efforts to taunt her. His complaints serve no purpose except to irritate her further. And the more she is irritated, the more she acts in ways that attract his caustic remarks. In spite of all his cajoling efforts to enlighten her, she never realizes her mistakes or change her ways to win her husband's approval. If anything, things deteriorate at home. She becomes more bold and aggressive in her schemes to get her daughters married. Having exhausted his energies complaining, he prefers to submit to her whims rather than take a more responsible attitude. As a result the family is brought to the brink of public disgrace. Yet even when her mistakes stare her in the face, she blames everyone except herself. Mr. Bennet's complaints do not change Mrs. Bennet. They don't even fall on her ears. They leave her and their home a shade worse than they were.

2. Don't try to change your partner

Wouldn't life be simple and easy if all we had to do is ask our partner to change? Chances are you have already tried that approach - once, twice, ten, a hundred times or more. So you already know the simple fact that people do not change for the better because we complain against them or ask them to. Even when they accept that we are right and agree to act accordingly, the result is almost always to make things worse than before. However sincerely we accept our defects, something in us is always offended by being blamed or corrected, leading to a conscious or subconscious reaction that makes things worse. Even in instances were your partner changes for the better as the result of your advice, you can observe that either they acquire another behavior that is equally disturbing or they become more critical of you than before. Either way, the level of harmony goes down, rather than up. The only exception is when the person who offers the advice does so without even a tiny trace of egoistic assertion or superiority, which is extremely difficult to do.

The validity of this principle can best be demonstrated by examining your own personal experience. Examine the relationship between your parents and other couples you know to determine how far complaining and trying to change the other person has yielded positive results. List down all the behaviors in your partner that you have complained about in the past and see how many of them have actually changed for the better. In instances where you have been successful in changing some behaviors, look to see whether new and even more disturbing behaviors have arisen since then. If indeed your partner has accepted your advice and followed it, examine the overall sense of harmony and warmth within the relationship. Has it really improved? Love and affection grow through acceptance of the other person, not by trying to make the other person a better partner.

3. Don't react

Whenever a partner does something we dislike or disapprove of, the natural tendency is to react, either verbally by complaining or silently to ourselves. Reaction arises out of weakness, lack of self-control and lack of power. As long as we react against any quality in another person, we have no power to change it. At best, our reaction may compel the other person to control or suppress the disturbing behavior, but it will always surface elsewhere, usually in an aggravated and more aggravating form. If you want to eliminate disturbances, the very best strategy is equanimity, non-reaction. Do not let the other person's behavior disturb you. Better yet, do not even take notice of it in your own mind and sensations. Non-reaction is not submission or approval. Nor is it a method for ignoring or rebuking your partner. It is giving your partner the freedom to act without opposition, resistance or reaction.

If you succeed, you will see that in most cases the disturbing behavior immediately becomes less frequent and intense. That was the experience of a married woman with two children who was frequently irritated by her husband's negative, pessimistic way of speaking. When all her attempts to correct him failed, she decided to stop mentioning, noticing or reacting to his negative ways of speech. Within a few days she was amazed to discover that his disturbing behavior had nearly disappeared. There are cases in which your non-reaction may actually result in greater expression of the disturbing behavior by your partner. Giving your partner the freedom to express it will eventually lead to complete elimination of that behavior. When you do succeed, you will find the situation complete reverses and your partner will bend over backwards to please you.

Kate's Patience (The Family Man)

The tremendous power of non-reaction is wonderfully portrayed by the character of Kate Reynolds. Jack Campbell is a successful businessman who wakes up one morning to discover he is married to his college girl friend Kate Reynolds and lives in New Jersey with two kids. Kate and he had split up thirteen years earlier, when he flew off to London and left her behind. Now he finds himself living in an alternative reality in which he married her instead of leaving the country. Instead of being a wealthy high flying Wall Street, billion dollar deal-maker, Jack is a tired salesman with a big mortgage living in a modest middle class neighborhood.

Kate is completely happy, supportive and affectionate. She and their marriage are regarded by all Jack's friends as the ideal others can only dream about. But Jack finds this financially poorer, less successful version of his life a great disappointment and cannot help expressing his views quite crudely to Kate, who is unaware that Jack joined their 13 year marriage only a few days ago. In spite of Jack's harsh, resentment and crude behavior, Kate remains calm and understanding. She never reacts against him or faults him for what she obviously perceives as his strange and mean behavior. Gradually Jack awakens to Kate's remarkable qualities and realizes this other version of his life is far more rewarding and fulfilling than closing mega-deals in New York.

Darcy’s Equanimity (Pride & Prejudice) 

When the very rich and famous Mr. Darcy proposes to Elizabeth, Bennet, a woman of lower social status and minimal wealth, the last thing he expects is to be accused of unscrupulousness and abused for bad behavior. Indeed, he has taken for granted that she is expecting his proposal and will welcome it. Instead Elizabeth makes unfair allegations about his character and faults him for the rude way in which he has addressed her. She accuses him of ungentlemanly behavior. Calling him arrogant, conceited and selfish, she concludes her lengthy abuse by declaring that long ago she had concluded that he is the last man she would marry. Darcy reels under the impact of her attack, yet he remains remarkably composed. He is startled by her accusations and defends himself mildly, but he does not hit back or even rebuke her for her unjustified assertions. When he has had enough from her, he takes leave, apologizing for having taken up her time. He does not give vent to his feelings in scathing language. He does not attack her personally in return. His maintains his cultured and polite language and behavior, and departs after politely wishing her health and happiness.

In less than six months, the same girl who refused him so angrily comes up to him, calls herself a selfish person, thanks him for the help he has rendered to her family, and opens the conversation that leads to his second proposal and their engagement. By not reacting when he had legitimate grounds, Darcy left open a possibility that could easily have been cancelled forever by an angry reply. Against all odds, his equanimity ultimately enables him to achieve just what his heart most desires.

4. Don't try to impose your will

Ninety percent of relationship problems can be traced back to the fact that one or the other or both partners want to dominate the other, control the relationship, prove they know more, can do things better, have earned the right to lead, or are justified in making demands on their partner that they are unwilling to meet themselves. Romance cannot be attained by demanding more of the other person. If you are one who employs that approach, the first thing to do is stop. Harmony can never be achieved by trying to dominate the other person. If you are on the receiving end of a dominating partnership, the best response is to completely give up the corresponding urge in yourself. Eradicate any sense of resentment or reaction you feel in complying with your partner's wishes by applying the first three strategies in this list. Submitting to a dominant partner out of weakness or acquiescence will never bring fulfillment. But submitting to someone you love out of patience, understanding, self-discipline and self-giving has the power to radically change your partner's behavior and completely reverse your roles in the relationship, so that your partner comes to place your needs and wishes above his or her own.

Mrs. Bennet’s Stratagems (Pride & Prejudice) 

Mrs.Bennet has boundless energy and endless initiative. She wholeheartedly believes that she is always right, and tries to get her husband to follow her orders. When a wealthy young bachelor named Bingley moves into the neighborhood, she orders her husband to call on him. He had intended to do just that for their daughters’ sake, but after being pressed to do so by his wife, he promptly refuses, just to annoy her. He secretly visits Bingley, then reveals the secret in a teasing manner to his wife, as a display of his independence. And just to spite her, when Bingley returns the visit, Mr. Bennet does not introduce him to his wife or daughters . Silently resentful of his wife’s constant efforts to dominate, he looks for ways to resist her pressure, even if it is at the risk of damaging his daughters’ chances to marry well. When his foolish cousin Collins comes home hoping to marry one of the Bennet girls, Mrs. Bennet keeps his intentions secret from her husband and connives to get Collins engaged to Elizabeth, Mr.Bennet’s favorite daughter. She sees this as a means to triumph over her husband. But her desire to score a petty victory only succeeds in chasing Collins away from the house into the arms of her rival neighbor's daughter.

Mrs. Bennet doesn’t realize that though her intentions for the family may be good, the methods she employs to achieve them are sure to fail. Her understanding is limited and she lacks good sense. Rather than cooperating with her husband and adding his intelligence and culture to her own strengths, she gets caught up in a self-defeating power struggle. Her aggressive and coaxing behavior alienates her from her husband and her more sensible elder daughter. It drives away suitable grooms for her daughters. It brings the entire family close to ruin when her youngest daughter, Lydia, whom she has spoilt by indulgence, elopes with a scoundrel.

5. Good Manners

Good manners is an essential basis for good, lasting, harmonious relationship. Partners who are able to behave as courteously and thoughtfully to their partners after marriage as they did during the initial period of courtship and to behave as pleasantly in private as they do to their friends and acquaintances in public find their relationships remain smooth, harmonious and pleasant for decades. Good manners includes all the other rules listed above. People who are well-mannered do not complain against others, they do not react, they do not dominate and they do not try to make others change. In fact, to be really well-mannered, we should give up even trying to judge other people.

The key to good manners is to become fully conscious of our own limitations and defects and try to eliminate them, rather than concentrating our attention on pointing out and eliminating the defects of others. Giving up negative thoughts and behavior toward others is not easy, but if you succeed your whole life will remarkably improve. The minimum standard for good manners is not to do or say anything to another person that we would not like to have done or said to us. A better standard is to recognize and respect the sensibilities and sensitivities of your partner and never consciously do anything to ruffle or disturb them.

If you find it difficult to identify your own offending behaviors, here is a simple but infallible rule to follow. Identify all the behaviors you object to in other people and look for similar, parallel or equivalent behaviors in yourself. If you are objective and sincere, you will always find them. Life is a mirror.

6. Focus on the Positive

When we forge relationships with a partner, we are always attracted to something in the other person, but often over time the source of attraction recedes into the background and we become more and more conscious of our differences or incompatibilities. Our disappointment with the change in ourselves or our partner tends to make us focus on the things we don't like. Negative intensity can be addictive, because it makes us feel alive and it is easier to generate than positive intensity.

Yet always - even after decades - the original source of attraction remains beneath the surface and can be revived when we stop concentrating on the negative. Try to become more conscious of the underlying attraction that expresses as negative intensity between you. Remind yourself that negativity often expresses a deeper positive attraction and need for one another. Shift your attention from the sources of quarrel to the sources of attraction. Even when you feel most intensely negative, remind yourself it is only an inversion of a deeper positive attraction and need for one another.

Shift your attention from the things that bother you in your partner and in the relationship to the things that are alright and work smoothly. Try to identify at least a few ways in which your partner and your relationship are better than others you know about. If you dislike something about your partner, try to identify a corresponding reason for the other person to dislike you and decide to change it.

7. Don't make sex a central issue

Sex often becomes the source of problems because men and women often have very different perceptions and attitudes with regard to sex. Our capacity for happiness, affection, love and romance arises because we have acquired higher emotions and mental capacities. Sexual attraction has little to do with romance, affection or lasting happiness and can distract attention from the true basis for lasting relationship. To give sex the central place in intimate relations is to give inordinate importance to the physical aspect of man-woman relations. Making it an issue can actually deprive a relationship of the love and affection it would otherwise possess. On the other hand, those who are capable of more exalted emotions may find physical intimacy a powerful medium for expressing those emotions and sharing themselves with their partner. In that case, physical contact serves as a means of expression, not as an end in itself. Romance is an ennobling emotion, not a physical sensation. The solution lies in recognizing sex for what it is and not placing to much importance on it one way or the other. For a more in depth discussion, see Love, Marriage, Sex & Romance

8. Shouldn't my partner change first?

As you read through these strategies, chances are that you have seen plenty of scope for your partner to improve themselves and found yourself relatively superior by comparison. A wise man once said that God gave us the sense of sin so we could discover our own defects and correct them, but we out-smarted God by using our keen powers of perception only to discover the defects in other people. What applies to humanity applies in double measure to partners in intimate relationships. The first rule of harmony is that all improvements start with ourselves, regardless of the circumstances-no exceptions. You may not be pleased to hear that, but that is the one and only effective way to improve a relationship. Therefore, regardless of how much higher or better you may place yourself on the scale, make a start by elevating your own conduct still higher without asking or expecting anything from your partner. That is a recipe for assured success.

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Level 8 - Devotion

At its rarefied heights human love discards and transcends social conventions, ethical standards—all that we consider most natural and characteristic of human nature. It approaches and attains extraordinary emotional intensities and sentiments of courage, nobility, purity, goodness and spiritual perfection. Though love is universally inspiring, we are apt to dismiss its most lofty expressions as tales of imaginative fiction.

Rose & Jack (Titanic)

It is almost unfortunate that the story of Rose Bukater and Jack Dawson depicted in Titanic was set amongst such magnificent surroundings and such a dramatic historical event. The sheer intensity of the circumstances and splendor of the cinematography tends to distract our attention from the beauty and grandeur of the momentary relationship between a beautiful, 17 year old socialite and a vagabond artist. It is true that the circumstances of their meeting on the maiden voyage of Titanic, just a few days before it sank, add color and intensity to their short-lived romance, but the essential character of their relationship was defined by who they were and how they related to one another, rather to the circumstances in which they met.

In April 1912, Rose is returning from Europe with her fiancée Cal Hockley and her mother in company with many of the rich and famous of their day. Her father died leaving them a prestigious name, but no money to support the luxurious lifestyle to which they were accustomed. Therefore, her mother presses her to sacrifice herself for the good of the family, by agreeing to marry Cal, whom she does not love or even like very much. As a token of his commitment, Cal presents her with a fabulous blue diamond pendant. To him, she is another beautiful object to add to his collection. Rose feels suffocated by her mother’s pretentions, her fiancé’s arrogance, the dead conventional formality of high society and the meaningless life being pressed upon her. In rebellion she rushed to the stern of the ship and contemplates suicide. Jack sees her passing by, suspects her intentions, and intervenes just in time to save her life when she slips off the edge of the ship.

Their fortuitous meeting leads quickly to intimate friendship and romance. Jack seems to understand her better than she herself does. Perceiving a remarkable strength in her character that refuses to accept the fate imposed by society, he counsels her not to sell her soul for respect or security, abandoning the freedom she is entitled to inherit. Her whole being expands in joy at his words and responds to his affection with gratitude and passion. What draws them to one another is neither childhood infatuation or sexual attraction. It is love of a very high order. Although they have known each other but a few days, they are drawn together by such powerful bonds of devotion that each proves willing to sacrifice their own life for the sake of the other. There is no higher test of self-giving imaginable.

At the peak of their passion, the Titanic hits an iceberg and begins the journey that will soon take it to the bottom of the sea. Meanwhile out of jealousy, Cal has Jack placed under arrest on a false charge of stealing the blue diamond and locked in a cabin on the lower level of the ship. As the ship takes on water and everyone rushes for lifeboats, Rose risks her life to hunt for Jack and frees him from confinement just moments before the lower deck floods. Jack leads her up to the main deck and convinces her to get into one of the few remaining lifeboats, promising to follow, but knowing full well there are no more boats to take him. Reluctantly she gets into the lifeboat and then jumps out again, refusing to leave without him. When the Titanic goes under, Jack manages to place Rose on a floating doorframe, saving her life while he freezes to death in the water. Rose survives, takes on Jack’s last name and starts a new life for herself. Narrating the story when she is past 100 years old, she relates how their few moments together changes the course of her entire life and how she has spent the last eight decades living up to the promise she made to Jack during his last moments.


Darcy & Lizzy (Pride & Prejudice)

 

 

 

Jane Austen’s novel has survived for two centuries as a preeminent love story because it depicts a level of romantic fulfillment rarely realized in life or literature. Fitzwilliam Darcy belongs to the highest level of aristocracy in England and shares the arrogant pride and common prejudices of his class about those of lower rank in the social hierarchy. But when he meets Elizabeth Bennet, the daughter of a country gentleman and his attractive but uncultured, middle class wife, Darcy’s value system is turned upside down. In spite of his social attitudes, he finds himself powerfully attracted by her energy, refined beauty, intelligence, wit, strength and individuality. Struggling against this growing attraction, he forces himself to keep a distance from her. But when life brings them together unexpectedly at his aunt’s estate in another part of the country, he is no longer able to resist the passionate love he feels for her. Explaining the reservations he had regarding her family and social status that he had to overcome in proposing to her, he asked her to marry him, under the impression that his handsome appearance, great wealth and high social standing would be more than enough to win her acceptance.

Darcy’s proposal surely would have been enough to persuade most women, but Elizabeth had a mind of her own. Far in advance of the women of her day, her ideas of marriage were romantic rather than social or materialistic, like those of Jane Austen herself. Elizabeth was not one to marry for security or status. She sought a partner who she could deeply respect for his high values, admire for his generous character and love for his capacity to give himself in love. Unknown to Darcy, she had acquired a strong prejudice against him, partly the result of his actions to prevent the marriage of her sister Jane with his best friend Bingley and partly due to false accusations made by Wickham against him. Thus, when he asked for her hand, she strongly rebuffed him. When pressed by him for an explanation, she pointed out the defects in his character and behavior that made him unacceptable and declared that he is the last man on earth she would ever marry. Indeed, after such a violent confrontation, it appeared impossible that they should ever again even speak to each other.

Surprised, angry and offended, Darcy withdrew to brood over what he had heard. The following day he wrote a letter to her addressing the objections she had raised, acknowledging what he believed to be true and defending himself against those he knew to be false. After that they went their separate ways thinking they would never meet again. But in the months that followed, Darcy’s love for Elizabeth grew even stronger. He admitted the truth in her accusations and decided to correct himself. He completely shed his proud behavior and arrogant attitudes. When he and Elizabeth met by chance nine months later, she was stunned by his remarkable transformation. He greeted her and her middle class relatives with the utmost respect and consideration. When her youngest sister, Lydia, eloped with his arch-enemy, Wickham, he went to extraordinary effort and expense to save her reputation and that of her whole family from ruin. He reversed his objections to the marriage of Bingley and Jane. All this he did without expecting or asking for anything, out of love for Elizabeth. He shed his vain egoism and underwent mortifying experiences, then tried to conceal his good deeds from Elizabeth. His devotion for her was so powerful that he actually transformed himself into the ideal lover Elizabeth aspired for. When with much trepidation he renewed his proposal, she accepted him with joyous gratitude.

Mental love is higher than affection and admiration because it is founded on an idealistic conception of relationship and on the ennobling qualities the partners discover in each other. Darcy’s devotion rises still higher. His is idealized emotional love based on sentiments that transcend conceptual limits. It needs no reason or justification. Like the love portrayed in Shakespeare’s sonnets, he cherishes her for her intrinsic value and delights in her very existence. His love takes pure joy in self-giving without asking or expecting anything in return. Such a love flowers where there is no expectation, just the urge to please the other or see the other happy. It is undemanding and does not even ask to be recognized. Devotional love is symbolized by the majestic beauty of the Taj Mahal which was constructed to immortalize the Emperor Shah Jahan’s love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. The most pronounced characteristic of this stage is an intense emotional sweetness issuing from knowledge of love.

Love in the Forest (As You Like It)

In this story Shakespeare depicts the intensities of devotional love between Rosalind, the daughter of the former ruler Duke Senior, and Orlando, the son of her father’s trusted retainer. When they briefly met at court for the first time, they were instantly attracted to one another. The following day Rosalind was forced to seek exile in the forest to avoid imprisonment by her uncle who has assumed power after her father’s temporary abdication. Orlando too sought refuge in the forest to escape his brother’s plot to kill him. There he meets Rosalind, who is disguised as a young man to conceal her identity. Ignorant that he is indeed in the presence of his beloved, Orlando is lost in ecstatic celebration of his love for Rosalind. While intensely emotional, their love is characterized by high poetic idealism of selfless devotion. Rosalind possesses the insight and maturity to understand and laugh at the folly of young love, even her own. Yet at the same time her mind and heart are completely devoted to Orlando. In spite of the tragic circumstances that have led them both into exile, they become so absorbed in their mutual adulation that the loss of family, wealth and status is forgotten in the ecstatic joy of love. Intense delight is the hallmark of devotional love. The joyous atmosphere created by their love is so powerful that life itself is forced to submit and abolish their misfortune. As soon as they marry, the old duke’s kingdom is restored to him, and Orlando becomes heir apparent to the throne.

The Princess and the Count

Alexander Dumas portrays a rare and inspiring example of devotional love in his epic tale The Count of Monte Cristo. A young, talented, honest and good-natured sailor named Edmund Dantes falls passionately in love with the beautiful, orphaned Mercedes. Mercedes’ evil cousin, Fernand, who is in love with her and wants her for himself, joins in a conspiracy to have Edmund arrested and wrongly imprisoned as a traitor. After fourteen years in confinement, Edmund escapes from the prison, discovers a fabulous treasure and assumes a new identity as the eccentric Count of Monte Cristo, so he can seek vengeance against those who have wronged him. As the Count, Edmund later saves the life of a beautiful, noble Turkish princess, Haydee, who had been sold into slavery by the treachery of the very same Fernand, who has since married Mercedes. Edmund takes Haydee under his fatherly protection and extends to her all the royal treatment she ever enjoyed in her youth. Later he publicly exposes Fernand’s treachery and is challenged by Mercedes’ son Albert to a duel. An expert marksman, Edmund is sure of winning until Mercedes comes and pleads with him for the life of her son. Honor prevents Edmund from backing out of the duel so he decides to allow Albert to kill him. He draws up a will assigning his entire fortune to Haydee, who approaches him as he is writing it. When he tells her that she will be heir to his entire fortune, Haydee grabs the will and tears it into shreds without the slightest hesitation, saying that if he dies she will surely die with him. Then she faints. Such is the intensity of the pure devotion she has silently nurtured for Edmund.

Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam

 

Rarely do we encounter instances of pure devotion in human relationships. Love is an ideal and that ideal is founded on a self-less delight in the happiness of one’s beloved. Self-giving is the highest form of human action, because it is to recognize something more important than one’s own egoistic personal satisfaction. Devotional love is beautifully depicted in an extraordinary movie about a woman who is prevented from marrying the man she loves, only to discover that the man she does marry is a living embodiment of selfless love. Nandini (Aishwarya Rai) is the daughter of Pandit Darbar, renowned proponent of Indian classical music.Nandini has been brought up with more freedom and education than her siblings, as she is the most beloved of Pandit Darbar. In this carefree life enters Sameer (Salman Khan), a boy of Indo-Italian parentage who wants to learn Indian classical music from Pandit Darbar. Nandini takes a dislike to Sameer, and the two keep playing pranks on each other, but soon realise they are in love. Sameer is kicked out of the house and asked never to contact Nandini again as fee for his education(Guru Dakshina). Nandini's parents have arranged to get her married to Vanraj (Ajay Devgan) - who had fallen in love with Nandini during her cousin's wedding. On the wedding night, Vanraj realises that Nandini is not herself, and tries to ask her why she is not responding to his love ? Nandini stays quiet, but is caught reading Sameer's letters when she is alone.He is very angry at first, but later accepts the reality that his wife is in love with another man. He shows the ultimate understanding by taking Nandini to Italy and help her search for Sameer, much to the dislike of his own parents. During their search, they face many problems and dilemmas and slowly Nandini gets to see what Vanraj really is like. she sees Vanraj selflessly devoting himself to care for her during her stay in hospital after an incident. Eventually they get news about Sameer (through his mother - played by Helen), and Vanraj arranges for Nandini to meet Sameer, on the night of his debut concert. His job done, Vanraj says goodbye to Nandini and walks away. Nandini and Sameer meet, but Nandini's feelings for him have changed. She reflects on the unwavering love and devotion that Vanraj showed throughout her stay with him, and realises that she loves him. She tells sameer in what esteem she holds her husband and parts with him to go after Vanraj.

 

 

Learn unfailing strategies to rise up the scale of romance in your relationship

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Level 6 - Admiration

Behind every successful man there is a woman, is a well known saying that reflects a deeper truth. Relationships founded upon mutual recognition, respect and admiration provide a firm and stable foundation for high and lasting achievement. Affection is of the heart. It is intense, but that intensity cannot be sustained without a strong element of admiration for the other person’s attributes, character and values. Admiration elevates and ennobles affection. When a woman knows that her partner is completely truthful, incapable of deceit, it generates a deep, endearing trust that adds sweetness to their affection and sustains the relationship through turbulent times. When a man knows his partner will never fault him for making mistakes or reject him for failure, the relationship becomes unshakably strong and affection matures into deeper love.

Cinderella Man

The movie Cinderella Man portrays the true story of boxer Jim Braddock. The movie depicts the years of poverty and suffering that he and his family underwent during the Great Depression when injuries forced him to give up a promising boxing career and work as a longshoreman to feed his family. Behind the scenes he was supported by his wife Mae, who remained unshakably committed to him and her children during years of great physical and emotional hardship. Her intense and unwavering affection for Jim are founded on a deep admiration for his good values—his sense of responsibility to his family, his honesty and his innate goodness. His character backed by her deep admiration gave Jim the strength, protection and courageous determination needed to stage a remarkable comeback, when against ten to one odds he defeated Max Baer to become heavyweight champion of the world in 1935.


The Gardiners (Pride and Prejudice)

 

 

 

Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner are close relatives of the Bennet family in Pride and Prejudice. They are both intelligent, sensible, good natured people. But more than the similarity in their natures, it is their love and admiration for one another that stands out. When Mrs. Gardiner invites her niece, Jane, to stay with her in London, or her other niece, Elizabeth, to join them on a monthly long vacation, she does not even need to consult her husband before, so deep is his trust in her judgment and discretion. And rightly so, for he admires his wife’s good motives and always approves of her decisions. When Mr. Gardiner’s work in London necessitates a change of their travel plans, he does not need to manage a wife’s disappointment or anger. Mrs. Gardiner accepts the change and eagerly looks forward to the altered plan, which takes Elizabeth to Pemberley where she meets and ultimately marries Darcy. When Mr. Gardiner promises to assist his sister’s family in finding their youngest daughter, Lydia, who has eloped, he knows his wife will support him, even if it requires a very substantial expenditure of money in order to ensure his niece’s marriage. The good values found in each of the partners and their mutual respect and admiration make their relationship harmonious and joyful. That relationship served as a strong foundation for Mr. Gardiner’s success in business and the prosperity that has come to the family through his enterprise. It also enabled them to rise socially. When Elizabeth marries Darcy, the Gardiners gain admission to the highest level of English society.

The Chauffeur’s Daughter (Sabrina)

Sabrina is the story of an exceptional young woman who is the daughter of the Larrabee family’s chauffeur. Her father, Thomas Fairchild, is a kind, affectionate widower who chose driving as his occupation so that he would have more time for reading. Sabrina Fairchild is a shy, awkward teenager madly infatuated with the Larrabee’s younger son David, a strikingly handsome and charming playboy who has the pick of New England society women longing for his attentions. His older brother, Linus, is a hard-nosed, serious businessman who has expanded a successful family business into the world's largest communications company, while David cavorts with one woman after another.

After a year studying in Paris, Sabrina returns to the Larrabee’s Long Island estate transformed into a mature, strikingly beautiful woman who captivates David at their first meeting. David suddenly wants to break off his engagement to Elizabeth Tyson, an attractive physician whose father is negotiating a mega-merger with Linus. Alarmed that David’s change of heart could jeopardize his deal with the Tysons, Linus intervenes to woo Sabrina away from David so that David’s marriage and the Tyson deal can be completed. Initially Sabrina is unable to believe that Linus could be interested in her or any woman, but when he explains that she has opened his eyes to all he has been missing in life, her heart begins to melt. The idea of saving Linus from a meaningless life in pursuit of more wealth through the joy, love and affection of intimacy deeply appeals to her heart’s goodness and mind’s idealism. Although he lacks the charming manners of David, she discovers a deeper value in Linus as a human being and begins to feels an ennobling love for him that is both intense and uplifting.

At the last moment, Linus confesses to her his real intentions and arranges for her to be reunited with David. Unable to switch her affections from one man to another on a moment’s notice, she decides to go back to Paris to nurse her broken heart and build a new life. Before her departure, her father reveals that he has earned $2 million on the stock market by listening to what was spoken by the Larrabees in their car and that money is intended for her. When David learns that Linus is capable of sacrificing the deal of a lifetime for the sake of the chauffeur’s daughter, he realizes that Linus must feel a love for Sabrina that he himself is incapable of feeling for any woman. So he commits himself to marry Elizabeth, takes over negotiations on the Tyson deal and dispatches Linus to Paris where he is reunited with Sabrina.

Linus is hardly a romantic figure, but he comes to feel a very deep admiration and affection for Sabrina that he did not believe he was capable of. She is an exceptional woman capable of an idealistic love combined with rich emotional intensity. It is significant that she inherits substantial wealth even before Linus decides to go after her. Her rich emotional goodness is golden. It brings prosperity to her father and to the whole Larabee family.

The Countess and the Earl (Lady Anna)

Admiration arises from awareness and respect for the other person’s good character and high values. Love based on admiration is not diminished by passage of time or physical separation. It can overcome the greatest of challenges as it did in Anthony Trollope’s novel Lady Anna. Josephine Murray is a beautiful young woman without money who marries an aging and disreputable earl for his title and money, only to be told later that the earl was already married to an Italian woman so that Josephine could never claim either property or aristocratic lineage. Refusing to live with the earl on any other terms, Josephine and her young daughter Anna take refuge in the home of a tailor who takes pity on her misfortune and expends his entire life savings in legal proceedings to help her reclaim her rightful position as Countess and heir to the deceased earl’s property. Anna forms a close friendship with the tailor’s son Daniel. Unknown to their parents, they gradually fall in love and Anna pledges to marry Daniel when she comes of age.

Meanwhile legal proceedings rage between Josephine and the earl’s other living descendent, Anna’s handsome cousin Frederick, who seeks the earl’s property as a fitting complement to the title which he has recently inherited. Both sides of the family conclude that the best possible solution is to marry Anna and Frederick so that property and title can remain in the family. The two cousins are both attracted to one another, but Anna remains true to her pledge of marrying the tailor’s son. Although she is captivated by Frederick’s graceful appearance and fine behavior, Anna greatly admires the idealism of Daniel and his father who have sacrificed so much for her.

When her mother discovers that the only remaining obstacle to victory in her two decade long quest for legitimacy is a silly marriage pledge between two children, she exerts intense pressure on Anna to go back on her promise. Anna feels intense loyalty and gratitude to Daniel and refuses to break her pledge. When she refuses to give in to the charms of Frederick or the pressure of family, Josephine shoots and wounds Daniel in a fit of desperation. Ultimately Anna’s claim to the property and the title are upheld and she marries the tailor’s son. Out of sheer generosity, she offers half of her enormous inheritance to Frederick, and thereby heal the breech that had divided the family. Anna chose emotional admiration and loyalty over vital attraction and social acceptance.

Rose & Gregory (The Mirror has two faces)

In a story that goes to extremes to illustrate a profound truth about romantic relationships, Gregory Larkin, a handsome but socially awkward math professor, seeks to escape from the lure of sexual attraction which has been the cause of so many failed relationships for him in the past. So he advertizes for a woman who seeks the purity of an intimate relationship free of sexuality. Homely looking English professor Rose Morgan is introduced to Gregory by her sister without knowing anything about his unusual quest and they strike up a close relationship. Rose is strongly attracted by Greg’s appearance, charmed by his crazy notions, flattered by the interest of a handsome man, and secretly hoping that Greg will fulfill her long frustrated dreams of romantic love. She decides to play by his rules. They marry and maintain a platonic relationship. Over time they develop deep respect, appreciation and affection for one another. Gregory is delighted. Rose is frustrated. Finally she asks him to sleep with her. He agrees then refuses at the last moment, because he feels the old, uncontrollable lust overwhelming his higher feelings of affection. Rose feels rejected and leaves him, then refuses to answer his calls while he is on a summer lecture tour in Europe. Rose goes on a diet, resorts to makeup and changes her style of dressing. When he returns he finds her transformed into a sexually alluring woman. Instead of being pleased, he is terrified and distressed. He wants the old homely Rose back whom he can love for her mind and heart, rather than lust after for her body. Finally they come to terms. She recognizes the depth of his love and acceptance of her. He accepts sexuality as a natural part of truly romantic love. The story is fanciful, but the truth it expresses carries a message for all those who long for true and lasting romance.

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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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Level 3 - Compatibility

Remember your grandparents’ routine? They woke up, without an alarm, at the same time everyday, and went about their day in a methodical fashion. Every tiny act had its time and place. They knew each other’s routine perfectly, and could anticipate the other’s behavior. Whatever it was one wanted, be it a cup of coffee, a towel, reading glasses or slippers, the other would have it ready before it was asked for. There may not have been spectacular romance, they may have had their tiffs, but even that seemed part of the day‘s script. Overall, it was a picture of security, stability, and compatibility.

Charlotte & Collins (Pride and Prejudice) 

Charlotte Lucas and William Collins have such a stable relationship. Already well past the age when most young woman in her day wed, Charlotte seeks marriage for the financial and social security it provides. She has no thought or hope of finding romantic love. In Collins, she sees a respectable future for herself, and she is satisfied. Having been educated at Oxford and been appointed to a lucrative position as clergyman at a young age, Collins seeks marriage as a means to round out the perfection of his social attainments. Charlotte is sensible and practical. Collins is foolish and lost in love of himself. But the two of them seek marriage for similar or complementary reasons that make them wholly compatible with one another. They each accept the other as they are. They recognize the good in one another, and do not waste their time and energy looking for flaws. Their lives are well-organized and their energies are applied constructively, resulting in a stable, harmonious relationship. Charlotte tends to the house and poultry. Collins is engaged with church activities, and spends his spare time in the garden. They are polite and formal with each other as when they socialize with neighbors. They both consider themselves fortunately and happily married. In Collins words, “We seem to have been designed for each other.”

Collins and Charlotte are an example of a positive relationship at this level, because they do not ask for or expect more and they both maintain the good manners and self-discipline needed for relationships to remain positive. Positive relationships at this level are quite easy to recognize. They are stable, consistent and permanent because they are organized on a regular basis around recurring activities such as managing a household or raising a family. They may lack the passion of the previous level but they also lack the turbulence and inconsistency. When the partners are positively related in other respects, they may feel a sense of familiarity, satisfaction and physical harmony. When the partners are in conflict or fail to be well-mannered and considerate of one another, relationships at this level can become flat, dull, boring and empty, but the routine of organized family life may still hold it together.

The Bennets (Pride and Prejudice)

In these egalitarian times, we frown on references to differences in class and culture, but class and culture can be critical determinants of successful relationship. The problems of incompatibility arising from class differences are powerfully brought out in the relationship between Mr. and Mrs. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. He is a well-educated, cultured, intelligent country gentleman with a refined mind, excellent manners and aristocratic breeding. His wife, the daughter of a middle class family, is a beautiful, energetic, empty-headed woman with a loud voice, coarse manners and impulsive behavior that often borders on vulgarity.

The two rarely see eye to eye on any subject. They express no affection for one another . She often complains to her husband, but rarely about him. In return he teases and her mocks gently but without meanness. Between them, they run a large, cheerful and smoothly functioning family and estate. They each carry out their responsibilities in an organized manner. Mrs. Bennet manages the household efficiently. She plans her dinners meticulously according to the importance of the guests. She pays attention to the last detail in her daughters’ dresses. She knows all about every eligible bachelor in the neighborhood. Her mission is to get her daughters married, and she prepares for that accomplishment much like a military general waging a major campaign.

Mr. Bennet leaves the household to his wife, takes charge of the estate and the family’s finances. He manages the farm, keeps his family from spending beyond their income, and remains the quiet figurehead of the family. He does not try to dominate his wife. She does not fight with her husband. Neither shout, dispute, criticize or hurt the other. They are not selfish, mean or cruel. They maintain a polite, well-mannered relationship both in pubic and at home. So even in the absence of real affection, the family is positive, harmonious and successful. Though very different, they share common goals and live peacefully and compatibly together.

The Greshams

In Dr. Thorne, Anthony Trollope depicts a successful but unfulfilling example of level 3 relationship. Squire Gresham is a large rural landowner from a distinguished family. At a young age he marries the Lady Arabella, who hails from a titled and far wealthier aristocratic family. The squire enters Parliament as an MP representing his region, as his forefathers did for generations before him. Accustomed to living extravagantly, Lady Arabella and her daughters make enormous financial demands on his estate. Gresham’s problems are aggravated when he changes political party at the instance of his wife’s family and then loses two costly election campaigns while unsuccessfully trying to regain his seat in Parliament. Having borrowed heavily on the family property, he is eventually forced to sell a substantial portion of the estate. Still the debts continue to mount.

The relationship between the squire and his wife is polite and well-mannered on the surface, but marred by an undercurrent of complaint, criticism, and recrimination. Seemingly oblivious of the misfortune that she and her family have brought to her husband by her extravagant behavior, Arabella faults him and constantly decries the unreasonable restraints on her life style. He silently blames her for her arrogance and blind selfishness. The daughters sympathize with their mother, the only son Frank with his father. Through the years the squire becomes increasingly lonely and depressed by his failure to sustain the family property. Though they maintain civil behavior in public and conduct household affairs without open dispute, their relationship has long since lost any sense of personal regard or affection toward one another. When they were married, the union was thought to be respectable and socially advantageous to both families. But in the absence of emotional intimacy, the social differences between them wore down their patience and goodwill, leaving only a shell of formal and functional relationship.

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Level 2 - Physical Attraction

Most people are attracted to people who other people find most attractive and desirable, like the young woman who decided to abandon her interest in a boy she really liked because she knew her friends would never approve of the way he dresses. This is what exactly Lydia did. She is a lively and energetic girl, bold, aggressive and always smiling, exactly what you might expect of a precocious teenager experiencing the first thrill of adult social life and popularity. She wears the most fashionable dresses, has many friends and frequent invitations to parties and dances. She thinks about nothing but flirting, has no goals or responsibilities, no manners other than her liveliness and no formed values or character. She is self-centered, selfish and foolish.


Lydia & Wickham (Pride & Prejudice)

 

 

 

When Elizabeth’s youngest sister Lydia fell in love – if we can call it love – she was attracted to George Wickham, a tall, slim and dashing young military officer with a winning smile and charming manners, without knowing anything of his background, family, character, intentions or personal reputation as a gambler, womanizer and scoundrel. Lydia valued him for his handsome appearance and popularity with his fellow officers and with other women. He was the heart throb of all the girls whereever he went. He deceived people with his good looks and excellent manners. He was deeply in debt and seeking a rich bride to solve his financial problems. As soon as Lydia’s eyes fell on him she singled him out as an object to be attained at any cost. At a time when a woman’s reputation and marriagability depended on her chastity, she agreed to run away with him based on a vague promise of marriage in the future. For Wickham the only motive was a weekend fling that he would forget as soon as a more interesting and eligible partner came his way. Yet he was ultimately pressurized into marrying her in order to escape from public disgrace and financial ruin.

It is not surprising that a relationship founded on superficial interests, physical appearance and sexual attraction should prove a poor basis for lasting harmony and affection. Yet how often this is the case. Vibrant youthful energy imparts an enchanting flush of charm and beauty to many young people which quickly gives place to dull and unappealing plainness a few years later. The excitement, enthusiasm and adventurousness of carefree youth unburdened by responsibilities is easily mistaken for more positive, lasting endowments of personality. But the novelty of infatuation, especially physical allurement, is rarely lasting. At this level people value other people almost as if they are precious objects to be obtained and possessed. Under the pressures of work and family responsibilities, youthful enthusiasm readily gives way to frustration, friction, quarrels, anger, distrust, jealousy, suspicion and sometimes violence. If at all the relationship survives, it survives only on intensity without a stable or organized foundation for lasting success.

Physical attraction can be very intense, especially during the early stages of relationship, so intense that it is often mistaken for real love that will last forever. But over time the novelty of the experience tends to wear off. Sexual attraction by itself is not a sufficient basis for long term positive relationships. Physical attraction may form a natural positive part of any relationship, but relationships based primarily on physical attraction will be fulfilling only to those in whom the satisfaction of their sensations is the primary source of interest and enjoyment in life. Those who value family, career accomplishment, emotional commitment, education and higher ideals or values usually discover physical sensations an inadequate basis for lasting relationship. Lydia got what she aspired for and was the envy of her friends. But at what gain and what cost? Wickham’s attraction for her lasted only weeks and hers for him a few months. After that they each spent their lives searching for satisfaction outside their relationship.

Scarlett & Rhett (Gone with the Wind)

The turbulent relationship between Rhett Butler and Scarlet O’Hara depicts the problems inherent in a relationship based primarily on physical attraction. Scarlett is a narcissistic plantation belle, the daughter of a French aristocratic mother and an Irish peasant immigrant who managed to acquire a large cotton plantation and a lovely cultured wife. Scarlett inherited her mother’s beauty and manners and her father’s raw energy and ambition. Beneath her polished exterior, she is a dynamo of unruly impulses. Although her beauty and flirtatious behavior have enslaved almost every young man in the region, Scarlett longs to marry Ashley Wilkes, the educated son of a distinguished Southern family. Heartbroken when Ashley marries his cousin Melanie instead, Scarlett marries Melanie’s brother just to spite Ashley. When her husband is killed in the war, she marries a store owner for his money, but never abandons her hope of finally winning Ashley for herself.

Scarlett’s only real relationship is with Rhett Butler, the dashing young blockade runner who was disowned by his family and expelled from Charleston for dishonorable behavior. Rhett sees right through Scarlett’s façade of ladylike elegance and knows the ruthless, unscrupulous, wildcat which lies behind her pretty face. Attracted by her energy, strength, courage and beauty, he pursues her first to become his mistress and later his wife. Scarlett’s heart has always been after Ashley. She admires Rhett’s brute strength, his courage to defy society, his tall handsome appearance and his considerable wealth, but she never feels for him anything like true affection. Their turbulent and unfulfilling marriage is marred by constant quarrels. After the death of their young daughter, Rhett finally leaves her. Only then does she realize how much she needs and wants him. Their failed partnership founded on sexual energy, physical strength, the desire to control and dominate shows the inherent instability and potential destructiveness of negative relationship at this level.

Avery’s response to adversity (Jerry Maguire)

Relationships based on physical and sexual attraction often end in anger, violent upheaval and bitterness. Jerry Maguire is a high flying sports agent engaged to a very attractive, sexy hard driving business woman, Avery Bishop. When in a moment of idealism Jerry speaks out against the hypocritical policies of his firm and loses his job, he comes to Avery looking for understanding and support. Instead, she bluntly tells him his act was stupid and foolish and refuses to offer a drop of sympathy. Avery’s response was not just based on her own nasty personality. It exposed the fact that their relationship was based on only one thing – pleasure. Jerry was a good looking object to possess and enjoy. When the fun ended, she expressed her scorn. As soon as the pleasure ended, the relationship ended as well. When Jerry responded to her caustic abuse by telling her the relationship was over, she was hurt and angry, not because she would miss him, but because to be jilted was an insult to her ego. To her relationship is only a way to take. It has nothing to do with giving.

Woman Hunter

The guy who tried to hire a consultant to help him sleep with a woman he was attracted to in Hitch may have succeeded in his immediate conquest but did not fare any better in relationships than Wickham.

 

Rob & Laura (High Fidelity)

Progress upward from level 2 begins with the realization that in order to be fulfilling, human relationship must be based on something more than physical satisfaction. High Fidelity depicts a man who has explored all the possibilities of level 2 relationships and discovered them to be unstable, unsatisfactory and empty. His lifetime pursuit of the perfect physical relationship is an example of how the high ideal of romance is perverted into a shallow, selfish fantasy – a good example of everything that real romance is not.

Rob’s frank introspection leads him to recognize the emptiness of his sexual pursuits and to yearn for a more lasting, meaningful and fulfilling relationship with Laura.

Marianne & Willoughby (Sense & Sensibility)

Mr. Dashwood dies leaving his wife and three daughters with no home and little means to support themselves. His second daughter, Marianne, is excitable, passionate, romantic and driven by intense emotions. When she is caught in a storm with an injured leg, she is rescued by the dashing young Mr. Willoughby who happened to be passing by and carries her safely home. Marianne is charmed and swept off her feet by his physical appearance and gallant manners. Willoughby courts her and leads her to believe he is deeply in love.

She is overcome by intense passion for the man, which she expresses quite openly. After initial encouragement, Willoughby disappears from her life and refuses to answer her letters. She is heartbroken. She later learns that when his aunt threatened to disinherit him, he agreed to marry a wealthy heiress, Ms. Grey. She also discovers that he has ruined the reputation of a young woman by refusing to acknowledge their illegitimate child as his own.

Marianne experiences all the grief of a sensual attraction based on nothing more substantial than physical appearance and external behavior. She discovers that a lover's character, capacity for real affection and personal values are a far truer and more lasting basis for successful relationship than external appearances.

Alex & Claire (The Mirror has two faces)

Claire is the beautiful and vain younger daughter of a vain and aging mother who always considered physical beauty her greatest asset and is now plagued by the scars of middle age. Like her mother, Claire values her beauty above all else and has used it to snare handsome, gallant Alex into a marriage. Once having caught him and won his admiration, Claire can derive no further gratification for her vanity from the marriage, so she immediately starts pursuing younger men to reinforce her sense of being attractive. Mistaking physical attraction for love, the more affection Alex expresses, the less satisfied Claire becomes. She needs the excitement of fresh conquests to prove her worth. Finally she leaves Alex for someone else, who surely will not be the last in a series of failed relationships based on physical attraction.

David Larrabee(Sabrina)

The contrast between physical attraction and emotional love is beautifully portrayed in the love affair of two brothers with the chaffeur’s daughter. David is the handsome, playboy younger son of the fabulously wealthy Larrabee family of Long Island, owners of a multi-billion dollar business empire established by David’s father and expanded by his brother Linus and his mother. With great good looks, money to burn and all the leisure time in the world, David gallivants through New England’s high society courting, dating and sleeping with every attractive young debutante within his reach, with a long line waiting in the wings to become his next fling. After years of free-wheeling, David finally meets a beautiful physician, Elizabeth Tyson, who it the first woman he feels more than a passing physical attraction for. He has no idea that she is also an heiress, daughter of the man who is negotiating a multi-billion dollar merger with Linus. Finally on her urging, he proposes marriage and their engagement is announced. A few days later, the Larrabee chaffeur’s daughter, Sabrina, returns from Paris a full grown, gorgeous woman. A year abroad has not only helped Sabrina blossom, but also helped her outgrow the childhood crush she felt for David. But what she has outgrown, David suddenly acquires. Unable even to recognize her as the clumsy teenager who climbed trees on the Larrabee estate, David feels powerfully attracted to her and is ready to call off his engagement with Elizabeth so he can pursue Sabrina, even if it means scotching the Tyson deal for his family. At the last moment, David discovers that his workaholic, level-headed brother Linus is actually so much in love with Sabrina that he too is ready to scotch the deal in order to see Sabrina happy. After trying so hard to keep David and Sabrina apart, now Linus wants to send David to Paris to be with her. Although he finds her ravishingly attractive, David is able to see that Linus is more deeply and truly in love with Sabrina than he could ever be. In a rare moment of self-awareness and sincerity, he dispatches Linus to Paris, agrees to marry Elizabeth and takes over negotiations on the merger.

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Level 1 - Attachment

What is the colour of your living room curtains? Chances are, you need to check. This is true for a number of things in our lives. We often do not notice them simply because they are always there, and we believe they will always be. Some relationships are like that. Partners do feel the natural urge to be physically close to each other, they may very much depend on each other and interact with one another. But they rarely take special note of one another. They take each other for granted. Their relationship may be stable, secure, even comfortable. There is no problem that threatens its survival. But the relationship just IS. It survives without going anywhere. There is only enough life to keep it going, not enough to give it freshness or intensity.

In Pride & Prejudice, Louisa has married a fashionable gentleman named Hurst. Inheriting substantial wealth from her father, she has no concerns for money. But she does need to do something, to "be" someone. To her, marriage is a desirable state, and about as important as conversation or elegant attire. She has no great values, principles, opinions, emotions or goals. She concurs with everything her younger sister Caroline says, she has no real thoughts of her own. She cares only for gossiping, feeling socially superior and making fun of people they mix with socially. Her husband, Mr.Hurst, cares only for food, drink, cards and entertainment. He married Louisa for her money and is satisfied living off his brother-in-law's hospitality. He attends parties mostly just to eat and drink, not even to meet people and mix. He has no capacity for thought or conversation. He is unable to comprehend other people's interest in books, ideas or anything more serious than passing amusements. The two of them are always seen together. They live together, travel together and attend parties. They have no arguments, no differences of opinion, and no serious problems. Nor is there any particular source of cheerfulness or joy. Activity, travel and movement from one place to another are the only source of stimulation. When separated, Louisa and her husband do not miss each other. They simply carry on. When together there is no particular expression of affection between them. They do not talk to each other, except to discuss gossip, rumors, facts and functional necessities. There is no evidence that they even think about or care for one another. If Louisa's sister Caroline wants to play the piano when Mr.Hurst is asleep, Louisa makes no objection to waking him up. We never see them worried, excited, anxious or concerned. Gossiping about other people is their main source of amusement. They have no ideals or goals that inspire them. Mr.Hurst is satisfied with having married a wealthy, attractive woman. Louisa is satisfied with a fashionable gentleman for a husband.

This is a description of a positive example of Physical Attachment. In this relationship, there are no extremes. The relationship provides a sense of belonging, a comfort. The partners consider each other as extensions of themselves and rarely consider that their needs and preferences may be different. They take each other for granted. Physical attachment fosters dependence and limits individual freedom. When such a relationship is positive, we find two individuals in a stable, comfortable, and lifeless relationship. When it is negative, one partner may powerfully dominate and the other weakly submit to unreasonable authority or a tyranny of selfishness. Quarrels, meanness and violence may be commonplace. Or neither partner exhibits any particular energy toward or over the other. Physically their home may lack a clean, neat orderly, well-maintained appearance, because cleanliness and orderliness require a constant exertion of energy. Obligations may be perpetually delayed. Yet still the partners depend on one another and live in some kind of symbiotic relationship. In one noted example of a couple living in a low class neighborhood, for several decades a man and his wife quarreled incessantly every night after the time the man returned from work. One day the man fell suddenly ill and died a few days later. The very next day, his wife died too. She literally could not live for a day without her abusive partner who she could not live with harmoniously for a day. That is physical attachment when it is negative.

Partners at this level can energize their relationship by elevating the cleanliness and orderliness of their living environment, carrying out tasks on time, taking genuine interest in one another, helping each other out or adopting some shared goals that are positive and constructive, e.g. improving their home, educating and giving personal attention to children, and working together harmoniously to achieve them. Even if one partner takes genuine interest in making the other partner's life more pleasant and enjoyable, the relationship will acquire greater energy, liveliness and meaning.

Learn unfailing strategies to rise up the scale of romance in your relationship

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Unfailing Strategies for Love & Romance

This article provides practical strategies for ascending the scale of romance in your relationship. If you have not already done so, please begin by reading the article Stairway to Romance and studying the Scale of Romance to identify the current level of your relationship.

Choose your goal

What you achieve depends entirely on what you aspire for, the extent of your enthusiasm and determination, and the effort you are willing to make to achieve it. The higher your aspiration, the greater your enthusiasm, the stronger your determination and the more serious your effort, the greater the goal you can achieve and the faster you can achieve it. Romance is what you discover within yourself. Your partner is a field for its expression. If both partners awaken to the spirit of romance, the intensity and fulfillment will be complete, but your attainment essentially depends on your decision, your attitude and your actions, not on those of a second person. Those who want to receive romance from others never find it or retain it. Those who seek romance for its own sake and give themselves to it can always discover it.

The first step is to formulate a relationship goal you enthusiastically aspire and are willing to seriously to attain. Your goal may bring back the intensity of romance which you have once felt or to raise the entire relationship to a higher level or to eliminate a disturbing element. It is important to ensure that the goal you choose is based on genuine goodwill for your partner and not a desire to change or dominate them. These methods only work when your attitude and intention toward the other is entirely positive.

If your present relationship suffers from any of the common negatives - quarrels, anger, tension, etc. - your next step should be to raise the level of harmony by removing those negatives from the relationship before you try to enhance affection, love and romance. Follow these steps to eliminate problems and increase harmony:

  1. Assess your relationship to determine where it is on the Scale of Harmony.
  2. Raise the level harmony in your relationship by applying the Strategies to Increase Harmony in Your Relationship.
  3. If you have any serious relationship problem, consult the IRES expert system to obtain personalized advice to resolve it.
  4. Once problems have been addressed, you are ready to rise up the scale of romance. See Unfailing Strategies for Love & Romance.

Unfailing Strategies to Improve any Relationship

Some of the strategies listed below are simple and obvious, but most are rarely applied consistently or with the right motive and attitude. Others are more profound and powerful methods that will require thoughtfulness, study and repeated effort for you to master. The quality of your attitude and motive determine the result. If practiced with harmony, goodwill, joyous expansiveness and self-giving, marvelous results are guaranteed. Practice them with the intention of bringing joy to your partner.

1. Take responsibility

Many people believe that their relationship would be vastly improved if only their partner would listen to reason, do what they say, eliminate the behaviors they find objectionable and be as sincere to the relationship as they are. The first rule for progress in human relationships may be the hardest for many to accept, but it is the single most important principle for rising in the scale of romance. It states that we have the power to improve our relationship only when we realize that we and we alone are responsible for making it better. This rule seems to contradict that obvious truth that in any relationship both parties contribute to the problems that arise between partners and to the solution to those problems. This principle is based on a profound truth of life. We acquire power of mastery in our lives only when we realize that we are the determinant of our own lives and not any circumstance or other person. Taking responsibility means to stop blaming your partner, family, friends, fate or misfortune for the difficulties you encounter in the relationship. As you apply the other principles listed below, you will come to understand the true wisdom of this approach and the real effective solution to any problems you encounter.

2. Give attention

The early stages of relationship are often characterized by sensations of novelty, suspense, anticipation and insecurity which generate an energy and excitement that can be mistaken for real affection. Once the feelings of newness subside, the intensity subsides. But even affectionate relationships can become flat over time when the partners' attention is absorbed by the demands of work, family, household and other routine activities. But this does not mean that the essential basis for romance has disappeared or cannot be revived. Any flat routine moment or event can be energized and be converted into a live or romantic moment by giving genuine personal attention to one's partner. Attention energized. Personal attention that focuses on what your partner thinks, feels and aspires can release deeper emotions and make any moment fresh. Even the most mundane work or activity can be made an occasion for attention when the importance is shifted from the activity to the person. Even just physically observing your partner's movements can have an energizing effect. Also trying to recall an experience your partner has undergone or a story or words your partner related to you months or years earlier is a form of attention.

3. Listen deeply

Encourage your partner to talk about any of his/her interests, listen carefully. Take genuine interest because it interests them. Take joy in what they enjoy for the sake of their enjoyment, not the thing itself. Many people in relationships have a long list of things they would like to tell their partners, but never do so either because they know the other person will not listen, is not interested or will not believe what they say. Deep listening is one of the simplest and most powerful strategies for raising the energy level and improving the quality of any relationship. It is also a powerful means for awakening a positive vibration of romance. Listening is a way of taking interest in another person for the sake of making them happy and discovering more about them. Even when you have known a person for decades and you think your know them inside out, the mind and heart remain a mystery. Allowing that mystery to express itself can release the wonder of romance. To be a good listener you have to know how to encourage your partner to talk about whatever is of interest to them, without interrupting, passing comments or criticism, either expressed or unexpressed, and most certainly without reaction of any kind. Silent listening without a thought in your mind is most powerful.

Listening is means of giving attention to the other person, pleasing them by your genuine response. The person is important. What the person speaks is secondary.

 

Jenna & the Doctor (The Waitress)

Jenna has been living for years as the psychologically abused wife of a dominating, suspicious, possessive, jealous husband, so jealous of her attention that he fears even his own baby will steal it away from him. He controls all the money so she has no freedom of action, demands that she agree with his every thought and sentiment, and forces her into a self-defensive shell of passive conciliation and submission. When she accidentally becomes pregnant, she meets a young married physician who is gentle, kind, respectful and accepting. In pouring out her long pent up grief and resentment to him, she feels a soothing balm of relief and springs of life rising up within. His simple act of listening – without interruption, comment, judgment or interpretation — just simply accepting her for what she is and has been through is enough to make her feel passionately drawn toward him. Later she realizes that what attracted her was the sense of freedom, which his listening helped awaken and liberate, giving her the strength to free herself from tyranny and set forth confidently on a new life. Life responded to the strength and purity of her decision, as it always does. When her externally rough and ornery former employer passed away, he left her a large inheritance and ownership of the restaurant where she worked.

4. Take your partner's point of view

Often we assume that we are right on an issue without even listening to our partner's point of view. No matter how right and justified we may think we are, there is always more than one valid point of view on any issue. Learn to discover the truth in your partner's point of view, no matter how partial or limited it may be. Invite your partner to express his/her viewpoint and genuinely acknowledge the truth in that perspective. Even when you believe your partner is wrong and have facts to support it, try to understand and acknowledge any factor that justifies their viewpoint or actions. When you make this effort genuinely you will find your partner less defensive and more willing to respect your perspective. Three quarters of all relationship problems will disappear if this strategy is seriously followed.

5. Intimacy

Romance is always fresh, spontaneous and personal. It is not generated by stereotyped situations and behaviors. It can be fostered by being more personal, more pleasant, more thoughtful, more intimate, by expressing a deeply felt emotion, by a greater sincerity, or by a spontaneous gesture or caress. In Pride & Prejudice Elizabeth transforms a formal moment into a romantic adventure by confessing to Darcy that she is a selfish person who cannot refrain from expressing her gratitude for all he has done to help her family. Darcy responds with equal intimacy and sincerity when he recalls how she had once rejected him by saying his conduct was ungentlemanly and that she had considered him that last man in the world she could ever marry. The essence of intimacy is the desire to please the other person and the impulse for total self-giving in utter self-forgetfulness that never seeks or expects a return.

6. Expansiveness

Expansiveness is an emotion that arises when excess energy presses to burst forth in expression. It can be generated by an amusing activity, a caress, an exchange of affectionate words, a thoughtful or unexpected gesture of help, appreciation of what your partner appreciates or any out-ward directed movement that opens to the other person in self-giving. Recall the most ecstatic moments in your relationship and try to recreate it in your shared imagination. You will find the atmosphere and sensation of the original experience returning. If you can recollect the emotions you felt at that time - not merely the circumstances, words and actions - the experience can even return in full intensity.

7. Recognize and appreciate your partner's strength

When we first meet a future partner, we may be attracted by some unique qualities seldom found in others. Yet over time we get accustomed even to the qualities we like best and tend to take them granted or focus more on other qualities we wish were present in greater measure. Often we are reminded of the value of our partner's essential qualities only when faced with a crisis that brings them to the fore. Try to enumerate all your partner's positive qualities and be conscious of them. Express your appreciation when those qualities express. Silently appreciating them at other times will create a tenderness in the relationship.

8. Freedom

Romance is a vibration that can only exist in an atmosphere of trust and freedom. That is one reason why it appears at the onset of a relationship and then disappears as commitments are made and responsibilities accepted. Romance is an adventure freely undertaken and an emotion of self-giving freely offered when nothing is assured, nothing guaranteed. Conditions, demands, doubts, suspicions and restrictions chase romance away. Extending the boundaries of trust and freedom you give your partner within the relationship to the maximum extent possible creates the best foundation for romance to flower.

9. Discover the inner Correspondences

The title of Pride & Prejudice reflects a profound truth of human relationship. There is an one to one correspondence between what we are psychologically and what comes to us from life. Darcy's pride and Elizabeth's prejudice are contradictory and opposing characteristics that meet and clash violently in the story. His proud, arrogant conviction in his wealth and social superiority confronts her prejudiced faith in her own superior insight into human nature and her own family background. By the clash between these similar but opposing attributes, both come to recognize their own deficiencies and become more humble, better and happier people. By recognizing the truth of the correspondence between them, they are able to convert mutually opposing traits into complementary characteristics that form the basis for true romance. Discovering the reality of inner-outer correspondences requires some study, thought and effort. If you want to acquire that knowledge, see the examples on this site, read the novel Pride & Prejudice, watch the five-part BBC video version of the novel, and study the articles on http://www.prideandprejudice.info/. If you still have questions, send them to us. Read more on inner-outer correspondences.

10. Discover your Complementarity

The complementarity between two people is the true basis of romance and the source of its endless attraction and perpetual mystery. That complementary can exist at different levels and take several different forms. In some it expresses as a similarity or compatibility of temperament. In others it expresses as very different capacities which augment and supplement one another. Or it may manifest as starkly different and apparently opposite tendencies which pull in different directions or even clash with one another. However it may express, the natural complementarity that initially attracts one person to another at an early stage of acquaintance is always based on a deeper truth and a deeper need, which may be overlooked or even regarded as a source of incompatibility. At the level of complementarity there are no good or better qualities, there are only aspects that combine through the relationship to create a greater whole which represents a greater truth. Value judgments have no place here. Becoming conscious of the deeper layers of complementarity between partners is an unending adventure in self-discovery that can release deeper appreciation of the other person and strengthen the bonds of relationship immensely.


The scale of romance is not a fixed and rigid set of cubbyholes in which relationships can be classified. It is rather an ascending stairway of graded levels defining the possibilities for any relationship to rise. Often we find partners fall to a lower level after the initial phase of infatuation is passed. Sometimes we see movement in the other direction, when couples who initially clashed or came together without strong binding feelings later grew to know and love one another deeply, elevating their partnership from lower to higher levels of romantic relationship. In a few rare instances we find partners traversing the entire scale from the lowest to nearly the highest levels. Learn how Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet traversed the entire scale in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

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