Love Is a Shared Journey

Do you believe in soul mates, or do you understand your relationship as a shared journey? That's what we'll discuss in this article.
Love Is a Shared Journey

Last update: 28 February, 2021

In many cases, people prefer to ignore that love is blind. When people fall in love and begin a romantic relationship, it’s time for magic and perhaps to not think too much. Many people keep faith in their particular version of the soul mate theory. However, fewer people realize that love is a shared journey.

The idea of love being the perfect unit, and the other person as your “other half”, sounds really nice. However, it seems that couples who carry this ideal of the perfect relationship end up having worse relationships than those who consider their relationship a shared journey.

This journey isn’t about soul mates created for each other, but a life adventure where one doesn’t walk alone. It’s a journey where the couple overcomes obstacles, and sets goals and purposes. They work as a team that faces the difficulties of everyday life.

These couples appreciate how far they’ve been able to go and all the things they’ve gone through together.

A couple in love.

Evaluating the way of understanding love

This is the topic that social psychologists Spike W. S. Lee of the University of Toronto and Norbert Schwarz of the University of Southern California set out to study. Their findings showed that people who have a perfect soul mate belief about their relationships often feel disappointed with their relationships.

In contrast, people who conceive their romantic relationships as a journey of personal development in the company of their partner are more satisfied with their long-term romantic relationships. This seems to lead to the conclusion that different ways of understanding love also lead to different ways of evaluating it.

The experiment

Lee and Schwarz’s team worked with groups of people in long-term romantic relationships and asked them to complete a test. In it, they were asked to include expressions related to the idea of love as a unit or love as a journey.

They also had to recall situations they had experienced with their partner that had involved both conflict and celebration. Finally, they were asked to evaluate their relationship.

Recalling moments of celebration made people feel more satisfied with their relationship. This was regardless of how they conceived love, whether as soul mates or as a shared journey.

However, for people who believe in the former, remembering the conflicts that had occurred between them and their partner led them to feel less satisfied with their relationships. Curiously, this dissatisfaction didn’t occur for people who viewed their relationship as a journey.

The follow-up experiments

In the second part of this experiment, they asked volunteers to identify geometric shapes to form a complete circle as a metaphor for love as a unit. They also asked them to draw a line from point A to point B through a labyrinth, this time as a simile for the journey.

These were the non-linguistic cues used in the experiment that allowed them to change the way individuals evaluated their relationships.

A couple on a rail track.

The adventure of the shared journey

This study corroborated other previous studies conducted on the same subject. As a result, it leaves us with conclusions that we’d do well to ponder. The idea of the couple walking along the unstable ground that constitutes the idea of the “soul mate” tends to create a fragile and inflexible foundation in the face of problems.

On the contrary, we have the couple that approaches the emotional relationship as a shared journey full of tribulations. This increases the satisfaction of what they’ve achieved after overcoming the many difficult tests that life sometimes puts in their way.

In all odds, people aren’t “destined” to be with anyone in particular. Therefore, we’d like to recommend that you prepare yourself to travel this shared journey with your partner. Face it as it really is: a team adventure!

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  • Spike W.S. Lee, Norbert Schwarz (2014) When it hurts to think we were made for each other. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140724112549.htm