First Demonstration of a Working Invisibility Cloak

October 23, 2006 - One Response

A team led by scientists at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering has demonstrated the first working “invisibility cloak.” The cloak deflects microwave beams so they flow around a “hidden” object inside with little distortion, making it appear almost as if nothing were there at all.

Cloaks that render objects essentially invisible to microwaves could have a variety of wireless communications or radar applications, according to the researchers.

The team reported its findings on Thursday, Oct. 19, in Science Express, the advance online publication of the journal Science. The research was funded by the Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Fellowship Program.

The researchers manufactured the cloak using “metamaterials” precisely arranged in a series of concentric circles that confer specific electromagnetic properties. Metamaterials are artificial composites that can be made to interact with electromagnetic waves in ways that natural materials cannot reproduce.

The cloak represents “one of the most elaborate metamaterial structures yet designed and produced,” the scientists said. It also represents the most comprehensive approach to invisibility yet realized, with the potential to hide objects of any size or material property, they added.

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The 29 Dimensions

October 23, 2006 - Leave a Response

Most people know that the key to success in a long-term relationship is compatibility. But what does that mean? If you both like foreign movies and Mocha ice cream, will you still feel the magic in 25 years?

The 29 dimensions mentioned below are scientifically proven to predict happier and healthier relationships. To help you better understand these 29 dimensions, they’ve been grouped into Core Traits and Vital Attributes.

Core Traits are defining aspects of who you are that remain largely unchanged throughout your adult life.

Vital Attributes are based on learning and experience, and are more likely to change based on life events and decisions you make as an adult.

These key areas paint a powerful portrait of who you are at the deepest level.

Core Traits

1. Emotional Temperament

How do you feel about yourself and about the world? While specific day-to-day and moment-to-moment events play a major role in our emotions, deep seated patterns of emotion are also a fundamental part of who you are and how people perceive you. The following members of the 29 Dimensions are considered as part of your Emotional Temperament:

i. Self Concept
ii. Emotional Status
iii. Energy: Emotional
iv. Obstreperousness
v. Passion: Romantic

Self Concept

Self Concept refers to how you perceive yourself. Do I believe strongly and implicitly that I am a good and worthwhile person, or do I have a strong need to be supported and bolstered in this belief by other people in my life? It is important that your self-concept be accurate, positive and strong in order for you to be most successful in your relationships with other people.

A strong self concept is both accurate and positive. An accurate self concept is one that is consistent with the way that other (healthy) people see you. A positive self concept is based on a core belief in your own value and worth. Minor failures and difficulties can have huge emotional repercussions for people who lack a strong self concept. One of the benefits of a strong self concept is the capacity to control the various parts of your emotional world in a way that provides consistency and balance to your life.

Emotional Status

There are certain factors which almost guarantee that any marriage is going to have a very low probability of success. For instance, if a person has an addiction of any kind, or has a serious emotional condition which chronically disrupts their life, or a tendency to be unreliable. These should be recognized as serious red flags. More than one of these red flags should definitely signal a need to slow down in any search for a life partner, and even one red flag should encourage a delay in getting married until the condition can be remedied.

Having a solid emotional composition is the essence of the Emotional Status dimension. Feeling happy, fulfilled and hopeful are crucial elements of this dimension. Conversely, being depressed, anxious and fearful about the future are aspects that are negatively associated with this dimension. If someone has an extremely low score on this dimension, it is unlikely they have the emotional reserves to currently engage in a healthy intimate relationship.

Emotional Energy

Emotional energy relates to how energetic your emotional temperament is. Key indicators of emotional energy are how spontaneous, vivacious, outgoing and adventurous you feel on a regular basis. Although all of us have our ups and downs, people with a lot of emotional energy rarely need to “recharge” and are almost always happiest when they are actively doing something.


Obstreperousness refers to a person’s tendency to find fault, to attribute blame to someone else, to make other persons wrong, and to portray them self as always right. The obstreperous person is someone who has a consistently critical attitude. The more pessimistic a person is, the more likely they are to be obstreperous.

Passion: Romantic

Your level of Romantic Passion reflects the degree to which the romantic and emotional aspects of a relationship are an important part of your emotional temperament. The desires to share and experience warmth, affection and a sensual connection with a partner are all important aspects of your level of Romantic Passion. 

2. Social Style

How do you relate to other people? Do you crave company, or prefer to be alone? Are you more comfortable leading, or do you prefer to go along with the group? Basic feelings such as these comprise an important aspect of who you are, and who you will be most compatible with. The elements of the 29 Dimensions which define your Social Style are:

i. Character
ii. Kindness
iii. Dominance
iv. Sociability
v. Autonomy
vi. Adaptability


The Character dimension relates primarily to issues of integrity. How honest are you? How fair are you? How committed are you to being honest and fair at all times, and at all costs? A person has a strong character if they relentlessly tell the truth, refuse to take advantage of another person in any situation, and use their best judgment even under the most intense circumstances.

Anyone can do the “right thing” when the going is easy and challenges are few and far between. Character ultimately relates to how you behave when life gets difficult. When the going gets tough, people with high character are the ones you really want by your side!

People who have a high score on the Character dimension are experienced by others as consistently genuine and trustworthy. They can be relied upon to act according to their best judgment. Furthermore, people with high Character scores are consistently more likely to be a good partner in a successful relationship.


The dimension of Kindness relates to that capacity of an individual to treat other people with consistent sensitivity and empathy. Almost everybody on earth is looking for friends and partners who are high on the dimension of kindness. There is a lack of self-centeredness when kindness is present. Kindness is the very opposite of selfishness.

Expressing support and concern for your partner, and expecting your partner to do the same, is the underlying characteristic of this dimension. The ability to express kindness through all types of situations is measured by this dimension.


A person who is consistently dominant needs to be in control. A person who is consistently submissive needs to be controlled. Neither of these qualities is necessarily good or bad. But in any relationship there needs to be a general agreement about who will be dominant and who will be submissive. Relationships work best when both people can be dominant at different times and submissive at other times.

This dimension evaluates if you have a tendency to be more comfortable as a leader or as a follower. Those who are dominant tend to be somewhat aggressive and outspoken while those who are more submissive prefer to defer to someone else.


Some people are extremely eager to be involved with other people in a social context. Others find social involvement anxiety provoking and painful. If a person is high on sociability, they are usually seen to be eager for social engagement. Shy persons typically are seen as low on sociability, but there needs to be a careful assessment of shy people for any differences between interest and ability.

The degree of enjoyment you take in actively engaging in social situations reflects the basic element of this dimension. Hosting parties, mingling at social functions and making new friends all contribute to this dimension.


The Autonomy dimension represents the degree to which you desire to maximize your time spent with a partner, versus your desire to pursue independent activities and interests. Although a high desire for closeness can be confused with low Self Concept in some situations, the truth is that your desire for autonomy or closeness is an important and separate aspect of your Emotional Temperament which it is important to consider when looking for your ideal mate.


Adaptability is a personal characteristic which allows an individual to change their way of being in order to better relate to another person or persons. If an individual can maintain their authenticity, the ideal is for their adaptability to be at a maximum level. This ability to adapt makes all other relationships more likely to be meaningful.

Being able to make compromises and to adjust to changing circumstances defines this dimension. Being able to consistently consider your partner’s needs is also an positive aspect of Adaptability.

3. Cognitive Mode

How do you think about the world around you? Are you motivated by an insatiable curiosity about the world and events around you? Are you constantly looking for intellectual challenges? Do you find humor to be your favorite coping strategy when dealing with the world? Although Feelings and Social Style can impact on this trait, your Cognitive Mode is an important separate aspect of who you are, and defines a lot of the ways in which you interact with people. The elements of the 29 Dimensions which define your dominant Cognitive Mode are:

i. Intellect
ii. Curiosity
iii. Humor
iv. Artistic Passion


How interested are you in learning about and understanding the world around you? Do you prefer seeing the “big picture?” Or are you someone who likes to know all the details? How do you approach solving problems in your day to day life? Do you like to know all the facts before you make a decision? Or are you more comfortable following your intuition? These are some of the many aspects that combine to form the intellectual component of your Cognitive Style.


Perhaps the most important component of your cognitive style is your level of curiosity about the world. If a person has an intense need for stimulation, along with a personal strategy to pursue additional information through inquisitiveness, they are thought to be high on the curiosity dimension. If a person is easily satisfied with relatively limited information about anything, they are low in curiosity.


Everyone thinks that they have a “good sense of humor.” But how strongly does your sense of humor affect your cognitive style? Are you constantly finding humor in the situations around you? Do your friends count on you to make them smile or laugh when you join a conversation. Is humor something you enjoy, or a major component of your personality? These elements define the dimension of humor, and comprise an important component of your cognitive style. 

Artistic Passion

Some people are, right to the center of themselves, artistically inclined. This is for them a primary personal trait. Sometimes, these persons are skillful as artists. They may play an instrument, write music or poetry, paint, sculpt, or sing. Other people cannot perform, but they have a strong interest in observing, listening, reading, and feeling.

Your drive for creativity and artistic expression define your level of Artistic Passion. The enjoyment of art and culture is an essential part of life for individuals who score highly on this dimension. This dimension also incorporates the desire to have creative outlets such as music and writing. How you view the importance of art and culture is an important aspect of your cognitive style.

4. Physicality

How do you relate physically with the world? How do you relate physically with yourself? Are you energetic, athletic and constantly in motion? Or are you more comfortable and happy walking than running? Feelings and thoughts which revolve around your physical life form an important aspect of who you are. The components of the 29 Dimensions which deal with your Physicality include:

i. Physical Energy
ii. Passion: Physical
iii. Vitality and Security
iv. Industry
v. Appearance

Physical Energy

A person has both an ordinary energy capacity and a peak energy capacity. The Physical Energy dimension refers to the amount of physical energy you characteristically have across the scope of your day to day life. The amount of enjoyment you take in pursuing physically challenging activities, whether you prefer physically active or physically passive forms of recreation, your feelings and level of physical activity are all strongly reflected in this dimension.

Passion: Physical

Physical passion refers to the amount of interest and enjoyment a person associates with the physical act of making love. Your basic attitudes and feelings regarding physical passion are an important part of your core trait of physicality.

Vitality and Security

Vitality refers to a person’s attitude towards their general state of physical health. Security refers to a person’s ability and desire to both earn a living and provide a safe and secure environment in which to raise a family.


A person who most enjoys being “lazy” and relaxing is low on Industry, while someone who needs to be on the go constantly and doing something is high on Industry. Efficiency, productivity and a drive to constantly improve one’s self and surroundings are characteristics of this dimension. Persistence in achieving goals and taking great pleasure in doing high quality work also distinguished people with high scores on Industry. 


The core element assessed by this dimension is the extent to which you consider yourself to be a physically attractive person. This includes ratings of physical attributes such as fitness, weight, and athleticism. While this can be thought of as part of your “physical temperament,” how you feel about your appearance also speaks to your emotional temperament.

Vital Attributes

1. Relationship Skills

The amount of effort and skill that you devote to making a relationship work are key elements of who you are, and what type of person you are most likely to succeed with in a relationship. The key attributes that we measure as part of your Relationship Skills are:

i. Communication Style
ii. Emotion Management: Anger
iii. Emotional Management: Mood
iv. Conflict Resolution

Communication Style

This dimension relates to both interest in communicating and ability to communicate. It summarizes the important matter of how much and how well a person is able to verbalize his or her thoughts and feelings, ask questions of another person, and determine similarities and differences between them.

Emotion Management: Anger

This dimension measures your ability to deal with anger in a manner that is not at the expense of someone else. Being able to express both positive and negative emotions in an honest and constructive manner is an important part of this dimension. Taking anger out on other people, becoming easily upset and blaming others when things go wrong are all examples of poor anger management skills.

Emotional Management: Mood

Every person has some variation of moods. And every person has some degree of control over their moods. When they manage their moods so that their emotional state remains within reasonable limits, they are thought to be good mood managers. However, when their moods vary considerably, or even severely, they score much lower on the dimension of mood management.

Conflict Resolution

This dimension measures how you prefer to resolve conflicts. Being able to understand another’s point of view, being respectful of other people during conflicts and dropping an issue once it is resolved all contribute to a strong score on this dimension.

2. Values and Beliefs

Values and Beliefs are at the center of most of our life experiences. How we feel about spirituality, religion, family and even politics for a enormous part of how we think about the world, and who we are going to be most comfortable sharing our lives with.

i. Spirituality
ii. Family Goals
iii. Traditionalism
iv. Ambition
v. Altruism


The spirituality dimension measures the amount of importance you place in your spiritual expressions and beliefs. The spiritual realm has to do with phenomena that involve matters above and beyond physical explanations. For some people spirituality is expressed in religion and religious beliefs. For other people, spirituality is expressed in more personalized and individual ways.

Family Goals

The Family Goal dimension is defined by your interest in parenting. The desire to have children and dedicate a significant part of your life to the rearing of children is the crucial component of this dimension.


Society has developed some traditional ways of dealing with most common situations. In simplest terms, this can be thought of as the “road most traveled.” This dimension is heavily related to the importance placed on morality, personal values, church involvement and religious beliefs.


Ambition indicates how important it is for you to be recognized as personally successful. This dimension reflects how much emphasis you place on succeeding in your career and in your financial life. It also measures how important it is for you to find and take on new challenges.


How strongly do you desire to live your life according to your values? While all of us have values and beliefs that we apply to situations in a reactive manner, the Altruism dimension speaks to how proactive you are in applying what you think is right and putting back into the community in which you live. Having strong values, helping those who are less fortunate, performing volunteer work and participating in community service are all positive aspects of this dimension.

3. Key Experiences

All of your life experiences combine to affect who you are and how you relate to the world. Although many of the effects of these experiences are represented by the other Core Traits and Learned Attributes, the following components of the 29 Dimensions are considered separately as part of your Key Experiences:

i. Family Background
ii. Family Status
iii. Education

Family Background

Did your family history prepare you for being able to form a long lasting and healthy relationship? This dimension measures the quality of your family history based on positive feelings such as supportiveness and negative feelings such as over-involvement and conflict. How you perceive your family when you were growing up and how you relate to your family now are both part of this assessment.

Family Status

Family status is your current family situation (i.e., do you have children from a previous relationship or marriage, do they live with you full time/part time/not at all, are they under the age of 18, etc.).


The dimension of Education is based upon your level of educational achievement and the degree of importance that you attach to educational achievements.

*Source: Harris Interactive study, Fall 2005.

Relationship Attachment Model

October 23, 2006 - Leave a Response

Overview of Attachment Theory

Attachment theory is one of the most exciting and promising areas of research and intervention in premarital and marital relationships (Jacobson and Gurman, 1995; Hazan and Shaver, 1994).  Much of the past research has investigated Bowlby’s “types” or “styles” of human attachment (Bowlby, 1969, 1973, 1980; Ainsworth, 1982; Hazan and Shaver, 1994).  This landmark three-volume exploration of attachment, separation and loss by Bowlby (1969, 1973, 1980) provided an in-depth understanding of the varying styles of unidirectional attachment which occur from the infant to the mother.  Subsequent studies expanded this individual, object-relations theoretical orientation to include more systemic and transactional concepts.  These in-depth descriptions of how infant-mother affectional bonds are formed and broken spawned a massive amount of research in infant, adolescent and adult attachments (see a review of research in Weiss, 1982 and Ainsworth, 1982), and specifically, the development of love and romance (Hazan and Shaver, 1987; 1994). 

The majority of this research has continued to use the three styles of attachment (secure, avoidant, and anxious-ambivalent) first proposed by Bowlby, and expanded by Bartholomew (1990) into a four-group model. Bartholomew portrayed attachment styles as reflections of the degree of positive (+) or negative (-) characteristics in the working models of the self (S) and the attachment figure (O for other).  These working models are broad, cognitive schemas of self and the other that are prototypically formed by the infant-caregiver interactions.  Bartholomew’s four styles are the: 1) Secure (+S, +O); 2) Dismissing (+S, -O); 3) Preoccupied (-S, +O); and 4) Fearful (-S, -O).

In the eighties, several researchers applied Bowlby’s three styles of attachment to adult romantic relationships (Hazan, C. and Shaver, P., 1987)  They found that there was continuity between the infant’s early experience of attachment and the style of attachment experienced in adult relationships.  Their study supported and expanded the typology developed by Ainsworth and her colleagues.

In the nineties, attachment theory continued to attract more attention and predominance in the understanding of love and romance.  In addition to hundreds of research articles, major volumes were written on this subject each year throughout the last decade (Bartholomew and Perlman, 1994; Socha and Stamp,1995; Goldberg, Muir, and Kerr, 1995; Feeney and Noller, 1996; Meins, 1997; Simpson and Rholes, 1998; Cassidy and Shaver, 1999). 

The results of much of this research have found that a person’s attachment style does not change.  However, there has been a lack of utilitarian models of attachment that could be used to assist people in understanding and modifying their experience of intimacy and closeness in relationships.  This may be due to the focus on the style of attachment and not on the dynamic components that comprise the different styles of attachment.

Bonding Processes in Adult Attachment

Attachment is the essence of all relationships, and a model that identifies and explains the bonding processes that produce attachment will provide the much needed, overarching structure for organizing and applying the many subjects in relationship research.  Feeney and Noller (1996) stated that although they “know of no published empirical work integrating all three components of romantic bonds (attachment, caregiving, and sexuality), such work will undoubtedly be carried out.  This integrative approach offers the promise of a comprehensive theory of romantic love.” (p. 121). Attachment, then, is best conceptualized as a metarelationship concept which incorporates all the universal bonding forces that make up human love and closeness. 

People marry because they feel an overwhelming attachment of love; communication and conflict styles express and monitor attachment; intimacy, commitment, sex, trust and reliance are all components that produce attachment. 

Couples divorce because their experience of attachment has deteriorated; other couples reconcile because they rekindle attachment. 

Therefore, a model of attachment is the best vehicle for presenting mate-selection education.  Falling in love is much more than just knowing what to look for in a prospective mate, or developing the right skills for handling a relationship.  Love is attachment, and an educational program that omits this intrinsic subject overlooks the core of mate selection in romantic-based cultures. 

The need for a unifying, theoretical model of these dynamic components is challenging because of the lack of clarity in even defining the specific inter- and intra-personal components which comprise attachment.  “Love,” “trust,” “commitment,” “affection,” “emotion,” “dependence,” “needs,” and “intimacy” are among a few of the terms which overlap the concept of attachment.  And each of these terms are equally difficult to define (Moss & Schwebel, 1993; Fehr, 1987; Stede, Levita, McLand and Kelly, 1982). 

It was proposed by Bowlby (1969, 1973, 1980) that sexuality and caregiving are independent behavioral systems.  Romantic love, then, encompassed these three crucial components: attachment, caregiving, and sexuality. However, Shaver and Hazan (1988) have argued that previous conceptualizations of romantic love could actually be integrated within the attachment framework. 

Carnelley, Pietromonaco, and Jaffe (cited in Feeney and Noller, 1996) and Kunce and Shaver (1994) have also provided support for the link between attachment styles and the caregiving components of romantic love.  They found that caregiving was imbedded in the styles of attachment, although it was expressed differently by each. 

In addition, evidence of the link between attachment and sexuality has also been forged by Brennan and Shaver (1995).  They found that the avoidant style were more accepting of casual, noncommited sex than the other attachment styles.  Hazan, Zeifman, and Middleton (1994) conducted a comprehensive study of the overlap between attachment style and sexual behaviors.  They concluded there are three distinct sexual styles that correlate with the three attachment styles. 

In reviewing the research on connections and closeness in relationships, several constructs repeatedly emerge.  Sternberg (1986) developed a triangular model of love that had three components: intimacy- feelings of bondedness, closeness, and connectedness; passion- the drives and motivations that lead to arousal; and commitment- the decision that one loves another and is committed to maintaining that love over time. 

David Olson’s Personal Assessment of Intimacy in Relationships (P.A.I.R.) found six factors which he identified as types of intimacy: emotional, social, sexual, intellectual, recreational, and conventionality (Schaefer, M.T. & Olson, D.H., 1981).  Olson found that individuals desire varying amounts and combinations of the six types of intimacy.  These findings are comparable with Kunce and Shaver’s (1994) findings that an individual’s attachment style is reflected in different preferences on constructs of intimacy and caregiving

Moss and Schwebel (1993) attempted to define intimacy in romantic relationships.  They conducted an extensive review of the subject of intimacy in research and literature and found 61 unique definitions.  Seven themes were identified in these definitions, and were reduced to five components.  These components were: a) Commitment; b) Affective Intimacy; c) Cognitive Intimacy; d) Physical Intimacy; and e) Mutuality. 

The Description of the Bonding Processes of the R.A.M.

In response to this need of a unifying theory for these components, I have developed a conceptual model of attachment: the Relationship Attachment Model or the R.A.M. This model portrays the sequential development of the five bonding dynamics that emerge from the numerous studies on intimacy, love, caregiving, sex and attachment.  These five dynamics are the ingredients of the glue of attachment.  They embody and explain all of the characteristics of the experience of attachment in every relationship in life.

A basic proposition of the R.A.M. is that the five bonding processes are actually expressions of the five commonly accepted categories of a human.  It is generally thought that there are five major aspects or clusters of the self every human possesses.  These clusters of self are groupings of similar interpersonal and intrapersonal functions in a person.  They are 1) your physical/sensory self, 2) your mental self, 3) your emotional self, 4) your relational self, and 5) your sexual self.  Each of these clusters functions interdependently, yet is distinct and separate from the other.  They are interdependent because they cannot exist without each other, and the functioning of one affects the outcome of the whole.  Yet, they are distinct because every one supplies a unique contribution to the overall human experience.  This is particularly true in the formation and maintenance of attachment.

Each of these five clusters produces a bonding dynamic that contributes to the overall experience of attachment.  They are bonding because they are forces of energy that create connections between people.  They are dynamic because they have ranges of intensity that vary according to the experiences within a person and the exchanges between persons.

The five bonding dynamics, like the clusters that produce them, are both independent of and interactive with each other.  They can be isolated and examined individually, although one never functions without the involvement of the others.  If one is altered, there is an automatic effect on the others and the overall experience of attachment is altered.

The first bonding dynamic, generated from the sensory self, is the ability to know another and be known by that other.  The sense of knowing and being known is frequently at the core of intimacy and is further delineated in information processing theories.  Hinde (1978) illustrated this by defining intimacy as “the number of different facets of the personality which are revealed to the partner and to what depth” (p. 378).  Research has supported that couples which are better acquainted before marriage have significantly higher rates of marital quality (Birtchnell and Kennard, 1984; Grover, Russell, Schumm and Paff-Bergen, 1985; Kurdek, 1991, 1993).  In the case of couples who are less acquainted, Grover, et. al. (1985) has found that they experience greater problems when they face the inevitable difficulties of marriage.

There are three ingredients that contribute to this dynamic.  The first is mutual self-disclosure (Derlega and Chaikin, 1975).  It has been found that disclosing information considered highly intimate can result in physiological changes- increased blood pressure, heart rate and palmar sweating (Ashworth, Furman, Chaikin, and Derlega, 1976).  The second ingredient that makes up this dynamic of knowing and being known is sharing diverse experiences together.  Olson (Schaefer, M.T. & Olson, D.H., 1981) identified examples of this in the recreational intimacy factor in his P.AI.R.S. inventory. In Lauer and Lauer’s (1986) study of 351 couples who were married a minimum of 15 years, it was found that friendship was one of the key elements of the enduring marriages.  Sporakowski and Axelson (1984) also found enjoyment and fulfillment were present in enduring marriages.  The bond of knowing and being known necessitates involvement in enjoyable, fulfilling, mutual friendship-type experiences.  The third ingredient in this dynamic is time.  In Robinson and Blanton’s (1993) research on intimacy and enduring relationships they found that time alone was important for positive marital closeness.  The accumulation of shared experiences created a deeper feeling of connection and attachment.

The second bonding dynamic, generated from the mental self, is the ability to trust another and be trusted by that other.  This dynamic corresponds with the concept of internal working models in attachment theory, the development of object representations in object relations theory and cognitive schemas in cognitive theory.  These working models are internal, mental representations of another.  They are like maps that are used to determine one’s expectations, feelings and interpretations of another.  Collins and Read (1994) substantiate the complexities of internal representations and their corresponding emotional responses.

Trust, then, is defined as the degree of positive cognitive, affective attributions one holds in their mental representation of another.  As a person gets to know another, he/she constructs a mental profile of that person.  Initially, stereotypes, associations and ideals are used to “fill in the gaps” of what is assumed to be true about the person.  But as time allows for more interactions and experiences, the mental profile is adjusted to reflect the deeper knowledge gained about the other person.  Bretherton (1985) explained that inner working models organize previous experiences in a way to enable one to anticipate and manage new situations and relationships.  He found, for example, that children with responsive caregivers are more likely to develop trust in their working models of others (see also Collins and Read, 1994). 

The three styles of attachment reflect variations of trust in the mental model.  A person who has a secure attachment style has a healthy trust capacity.  However, someone who has either the avoidant style or the anxious-ambivalent attachment style has a damaged trust capacity in their working models of others.  Altering one’s attachment style may be influenced by facilitating cognitive shifts through teaching the concepts of these internal mental profiles and how they relate to the development of trust.

The third bonding dynamic, generated from the emotional self, is the ability to rely on another and be relied on by that other.  This dynamic reflects what Clinebell and Clinebell (1970) referred to as the most extensive and refined definition of intimacy…”a mutual need satisfaction.”  This dynamic allows for individual differences in needs.  Attachment occurs as the specific needs of the individual are met.  The reciprocity of need fulfillment results in a deeper experience of closeness and intimacy than unidirectional need fulfillment as described in detail in social-exchange theory. 

Olson’s P.A.I.R. inventory captures this construct in many of the factors (social needs, intellectual needs, sexual needs), but most in the conventionality scale (e.g. item 36 asks if all needs are being met by partner). 

The fourth bonding dynamic, generated from the relational self, is the ability to commit to another and be committed to by that other.  It, like the other bonding dynamics, is a natural expression of an innate structure of personality.  People form commitments in relationships because of an innate need for a stable, secure sense of belonging to another while feeling that “my partner belongs to me.”  The concept that persons are in systems which have varying degrees of influence and interaction is at the heart of systems theory.

The concept of commitment is present in almost every study on intimacy, closeness, or love.  Numerous studies have been conducted on love, romance, and commitment (Knox & Sporakowski, 1968; Simmons, Von Kolke, & Shimizu, 1986; Simmons, Wehner, & Kay, 1988; Brown, 1993; Stanley & Markman, 1992; Fehr, 1988; Hobart, 1958; Rubin, 1970; Rubin, 1973).   These studies have attempted to define this abstract, dynamic process in a relationship.  The degree of commitment is measured by the amount of personal investment someone places in another.  This investment is often represented by a specific label or definition of the relationship.  For instance, an “acquaintance” indicates a low level of investment, whereas a “best friend” suggests higher levels of personal investment.  Consistently, research supports the importance of a strong commitment for positive love and romantic feelings and marital satisfaction. 

Commitment, like the other relationship dynamics, contributes to the bond of a relationship.  Beach and Tesser (1988) found that the more commitment a person feels toward another, the more he/she will focus cognitive and affective attention toward that individual.  Tesser and Paulhus (1970) also found that the amount of time someone spends thinking about another he/she had dated was positively related to higher scores on the Rubin Love Scale (1970).  In fact, it has been shown that a person thinks and feels more positively toward another once a decision to commit is made (Brehm and Cohen, 1962).  

The fifth and final bonding dynamic, generated from the sexual self, is the ability to form sexual bonds with another and feel sexually desired by that other.  Intimacy is often equated with sexual involvement in the literature- the greater the sexual involvement, the more intimacy.  This dynamic involves everything from extended gazing to uninhibited sexual intercourse (Exline, 1972; Rosenfeld, Kartus, and Ray, 1976).   It is correlated with the Sexual Intimacy scale in Olson’s P.A.I.R. (Schaefer and Olson, 1981). 

In the dating relationship the first bonding force, Knowledge, is what you know about the person you are dating.  When you spend time talking and doing things together, a deeper understanding of the person develops.  This understanding, or knowledge, creates a growing feeling of closeness.

As you gather these pieces of understanding about a person, you arrange them to create a portrait of what you believe this person is like.  This portrait is the second bonding force, your internal image of the person (or, your Trust Picture).  It is this mental picture which prompts your expectations and feelings of trust.  Trust and attachment increases as your trust picture becomes more positive.

Based on your level of trust, you form a dependency upon this person to meet more and more of your needs.  This third bonding force, Reliance, is a natural outcome of your trust in the other person.  To the extent that the person meets your expectations, you alter your mental picture in positive ways, becoming more confident of your reliance and their dependability.  Your attachment continues to increase with this process.

Your growing trust and reliance produce a deeper definition of your relationship.  This fourth bonding force is the degree of commitment which develops as the other three processes occur.  This Commitment produces feelings of security, safety, connection and closeness.

The closeness in the relationship becomes expressed in physical touch.  This fifth bonding force, Sex, includes the expression of sexual touch and the experience of a sexual chemistry.  The extent of the physical/sexual expressions produces a corresponding attachment and closeness.

The Dynamic Quality of the Bonding Processes of the R.A.M.

The interrelationship between these bonding processes can be conceptualized as five, rheostat control-slides, similar to a graphic equalizer on your stereo.  Each control-slide functions independent of the other, but they all affect the overall sound.  In a similar way, each bonding process can be viewed individually.  They have a similar low-to-high range, just like the control slides on the mixing board.  You can increase the intensity of any one of them without increasing the others.   And every bonding process contributes a unique aspect of the relationship connection.  However, it is only by their mix that the complex feeling of attachment in a relationship is produced.

The Definitions of Healthy and Unhealthy Attachment from the R.A.M.

The five bonding processes are in a hierarchical order and the combinations of their levels express healthy and unhealthy relationship attachment.  In other words, the balance of the levels of the five bonding dynamics portrays the healthiness of the attachment in a relationship.  They have an inter-relationship with each other.  A feature of these five bonding dynamics is that they are inseparably linked even though they are distinct.  This is evidenced by the interaction between them.  As one’s commitment increases, then the trust and feeling of reliance tends to increase (Beach and Tesser, 1988).  As trust increases, then the feeling of reliance on the other also grows. 

The level of each bonding process, however, must be kept in balance with the others in order to insure a healthy attachment.  This balance is maintained by a simple rule:


However, when imbalance does occur in a relationship, then the result is increased vulnerabilities, overattachment and minimization of problems.  Therefore, the level at which one knows his/her partner establishes the maximum level of earned trust, which establishes the maximum level of safe reliance, which establishes the maximum level of healthy commitment, which establishes the maximum level of appropriate sexual involvement.  In other words, the degree of sexual involvement should not exceed the degree of commitment, which should not exceed the degree of reliance, which should not exceed the degree of development in your trust picture, which should not exceed the degree of what you accurately know about the partner. 

An example of this is the recent research that supports the conclusion that premarital sexual intercourse is related to subsequent marital dissatisfaction and divorce (Kelly and Conley, 1987).  The extensive study by Janus and Janus (1993) established that divorced men and women reported more premarital sexual experience than the still-married individuals.  One explanation of this is the imbalance between the extent of sexual involvement and the extent of commitment during the premarital relationship.  The frequency of sex outside of marriage may have a weakening effect upon a person’s commitment level in marriage (Thomson and Collela, 1992; White, 1990).  This is consistent with the repeated finding that premarital sex is predictive of extramarital sex, which frequently disrupts marriages and leads to divorce (Newcomb and Bentler, 1981). 

Another example of this same imbalance between the extent of sexual involvement and commitment is cohabitation.  Even though many would think that cohabitation would serve as a good test of marital compatibility, there is strong evidence that the later marriages of cohabitors are less stable and satisfactory than those who did not cohabitate prior to marriage (Bennett, Blac, and Bloom, 1988; DeMaris and Leslie, 1984; Janus and Janus, 1993; Trussell and Rao, 1989).  In fact, it was found that the risk of marital dissolutionment was 50% higher for cohabitors than noncohabitors (Balakrishnan, Rao, Lapierre-Adamcyk, and Krotki, 1987).  The notion that this imbalance in the bonding forces led to overlooking potential crucial problems is supported by a study by Booth and Johnson (1988) in which they provide evidence that cohabitors are at risk for marital problems even before they marry.          

The old saying, “love is blind”, has been supported by the research of Waller (1938).  He found that partners tend to idealize each other during courtship.  The P.I.C.K. a Partner Training Program (Premarital Interpersonal Choices & Knowledge) suggests that each partner will have better marital selection judgment when the boundaries of the relationship attachment are kept in a proper balance.  When this does not occur, the premarital closeness will mask salient characteristics of the other person that should be exposed and explored in the premarital process. 

Source: P.I.C.K. (Premarital Interpersonal Choices & Knowledge), a Partner-Selection Education Program. Copyright © John Van Epp, Ph.D., 2003.

The Valley of Love

October 23, 2006 - Leave a Response

“…and be dissolved in the fire of love. In this city the heaven of ecstasy is upraised and the world-illuming sun of yearning shineth, and the fire of love is ablaze; and when the fire of love is ablaze, it burneth to ashes the harvest of reason. 

Now is the traveler unaware of himself, and of aught besides himself. He seeth neither ignorance nor knowledge, neither doubt nor certitude; he knoweth not the morn of guidance from the night of error. He fleeth both from unbelief and faith, and deadly poison is a balm to him. Wherefore Attár 1 saith: 

For the infidel, error—for the faithful, faith;
For Attár’s heart, an atom of Thy pain. 

The steed of this Valley is pain; and if there be no pain this journey will never end. In this station the lover hath no thought save the Beloved, and seeketh no refuge save the Friend. 9 At every moment he offereth a hundred lives in the path of the Loved One, at every step he throweth a thousand heads at the feet of the Beloved. 

O My Brother! Until thou enter the Egypt of love, thou shalt never come to the Joseph of the Beauty of the Friend; and until, like Jacob, thou forsake thine outward eyes, thou shalt never open the eye of thine inward being; and until thou burn with the fire of love, thou shalt never commune with the Lover of Longing. 

A lover feareth nothing and no harm can come nigh him: Thou seest him chill in the fire and dry in the sea. 

A lover is he who is chill in hell fire;
A knower is he who is dry in the sea. 2 

Love accepteth no existence and wisheth no life: He seeth life in death, and in shame seeketh glory. To merit the madness of love, man must abound in sanity; to merit the bonds of the Friend, he must be full of spirit. Blessed the neck that is caught in His noose, happy the head that falleth on the dust in the pathway of His love. Wherefore, O friend, give up thy self that thou mayest find the Peerless One, pass by this mortal earth that thou mayest seek 10 a home in the nest of heaven. Be as naught, if thou wouldst kindle the fire of being and be fit for the pathway of love. 

Love seizeth not upon a living soul,
The falcon preyeth not on a dead mouse. 3 

Love setteth a world aflame at every turn, and he wasteth every land where he carrieth his banner. Being hath no existence in his kingdom; the wise wield no command within his realm. The leviathan of love swalloweth the master of reason and destroyeth the lord of knowledge. He drinketh the seven seas, but his heart’s thirst is still unquenched, and he saith, “Is there yet any more?” 4 He shunneth himself and draweth away from all on earth. 

Love’s a stranger to earth and heaven too;
In him are lunacies seventy-and-two. 5 

He hath bound a myriad victims in his fetters, wounded a myriad wise men with his arrow. Know that every redness in the world is from 11 his anger, and every paleness in men’s cheeks is from his poison. He yieldeth no remedy but death, he walketh not save in the valley of the shadow; yet sweeter than honey is his venom on the lover’s lips, and fairer his destruction in the seeker’s eyes than a hundred thousand lives. 
Wherefore must the veils of the satanic self be burned away at the fire of love, that the spirit may be purified and cleansed and thus may know the station of the Lord of the Worlds. 

Kindle the fire of love and burn away all things,
Then set thy foot into the land of the lovers. 6 

And if, confirmed by the Creator, the lover escapes from the claws of the eagle of love, he will enter…”

1. Farídu’d-Dín Attár (ca. 1150–1230 A.D.), the great Persian Súfí poet.
2. Persian mystic poem.
3. Persian mystic poem. Cf. The Hidden Words, No. 7, Arabic.
4. Qur’án 50:29.  
5. Jalálu’d-Dín Rúmí (1207–1273 A.D.); The Mathnaví. Jalálu’d-Dín, called Mawláná (“our Master”), is the greatest of all Persian Súfí poets, and founder of the Mawlaví “whirling” dervish order.
6. From an ode by Bahá’u’lláh.

Author: Bahá’u’lláh, Prophet Founder of the Baha’i Faith.

The Love Formula!

October 23, 2006 - Leave a Response

According to the Clockspring theory, love develops between two people as their relationship progresses through a series of related and mutually reinforcing stages.

Love begins with:

1. Establishment of Rapport (comfy being around).
2. Couple begins to Self-Disclose.
3. Mutual habits and dependency develops.
4. Fulfillment is realized as needs are met.
5. Leads to further rapport and feelings of commitment.
6. More disclosure.
7. More dependency.
8. More fulfillment.
9. Final Commitment!

Author: Delores Borland (1975)

Measuring Romantic Attachment

October 23, 2006 - Leave a Response

The nature of love has been explored by a number of theorists. According to social psychologist Zick Rubin, romantic love is made up of three elements:

Attachment—The need to be cared for and be with the other person.
Caring—Valuing the other persons happiness and needs as much as your own.
Intimacy—Sharing private thoughts, feelings, and desires with the other person.

Based upon this view of romantic love, Rubin developed two questionnaires to measure these variables. Initially, Rubin identified approximately 80 questions designed to assess the attitudes a person holds about others. The questions were sorted according to whether or not they reflected feelings of liking or loving. These two sets of questions were first administered to 198 undergraduate students and a factor analysis was then conducted.

The results allowed Rubin to identify 13 questions for ‘liking’ and 13 questions for ‘loving’ that were reliable measures of these two variables.

The following examples are similar to some of the questions used in Rubin’s Liking and Loving Scale:

Items Measuring Liking
I feel that _____________ is a very stable person.
I have confidence in ______________’s opinions.

Items Measuring Loving
I feel strong feelings of possessiveness towards ____________.
I like it when __________ confides in me.
I would do almost anything for _____________.

Rubin’s scales of liking and loving provided support for his theory of love. In a study to determine if the scales actually differentiated between liking and loving, Rubin asked a number of participants to fill out his questionnaires based upon how they felt both about their partner and a good friend. The results revealed that good friends scored high on the liking scale, but only significant others rated high on the scales for loving.

Love is not a concrete concept and is therefore difficult to measure. Rubin’s scales of liking and loving offer a way to measure the complex feeling of love.

Rubin, Zick. 1970. “Measurement of Romantic Love,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Volume 16, pages 265-273.

What You Really Want in a Mate

October 23, 2006 - Leave a Response

One of the keys to healthy mate selection is deciding what type of person you want in your life. In order to determine who will mesh with you to create a brilliant, loving, and long-term relationship, you have to spend some time examining the various human dimensions. In his book Dr. Neil Clark Warren has highlighted ten dimensions for consideration. There is no “right” answer, but it is extremely important that you dedicate some time to establishing your preferences in these ten areas.

1. Intelligence
2. Personality
3. Appearance
4. Ambition
5. Chemistry
6. Spirituality
7. Character
8. Creativity
9. Parenting
10. Authenticity

Dr. Warren asks that you complete one last task. Take the ten traits discussed above and rank them in order of importance to you. It will be difficult to meet someone who is perfect for you in every single category. If you’ve ranked them, you will already know which are essential to you and on which you are willing to compromise.

From the Newsletter

Tarazát (Ornaments)

August 4, 2006 - Leave a Response

The first Taráz (Ornament)

“[It] is that man should know his own self and recognize that which leadeth unto loftiness or lowliness, glory or abasement, wealth or poverty. Having attained the stage of fulfilment and reached his maturity, man standeth in need of wealth, and such wealth as he acquireth through crafts or professions is commendable and praiseworthy in the estimation of men of wisdom, and especially in the eyes of servants who dedicate themselves to the education of the world and to the edification of its peoples. They are, in truth, cup-bearers of the life-giving water of knowledge and guides unto the ideal way. They direct the peoples of the world to the straight path and acquaint them with that which is conducive to human upliftment and exaltation. The straight path is the one which guideth man to the dayspring of perception and to the dawning-place of true understanding and leadeth him to that which will redound to glory, honour and greatness.” *

The second Taráz (Ornament)

“The second Taráz is to consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship, to proclaim that which the Speaker on Sinai hath set forth and to observe fairness in all matters. They that are endued with sincerity and faithfulness should associate with all the peoples and kindreds of the earth with joy and radiance, inasmuch as consorting with people hath promoted and will continue to promote unity and concord, which in turn are conducive to the maintenance of order in the world and to the regeneration of nations. Blessed are such as hold fast to the cord of kindliness and tender mercy and are free from animosity and hatred. This Wronged One exhorteth the peoples of the world to observe tolerance and righteousness, which are two lights amidst the darkness of the world and two educators for the edification of mankind. Happy are they who have attained thereto and woe betide the heedless.” *

The third Taráz (Ornament)

“[It] concerneth good character. A good character is, verily, the best mantle for men from God. With it He adorneth the temples of His loved ones. By My life! The light of a good character surpasseth the light of the sun and the radiance thereof. Whoso attaineth unto it is accounted as a jewel among men. The glory and the upliftment of the world must needs depend upon it. A goodly character is a means whereby men are guided to the Straight Path and are led to the Great Announcement. Well is it with him who is adorned with the saintly attributes and character of the Concourse on High.” *

The fourth Taráz (Ornament)

“[It] concerneth trustworthiness. Verily it is the door of security for all that dwell on earth and a token of glory on the part of the All-Merciful. He who partaketh thereof hath indeed partaken of the treasures of wealth and prosperity. Trustworthiness is the greatest portal leading unto the tranquillity and security of the people. In truth the stability of every affair hath depended and doth depend upon it. All the domains of power, of grandeur and of wealth are illumined by its light.” *

The fifth Taráz (Ornament)

“The fifth Taráz concerneth the protection and preservation of the stations of God’s servants. One should not ignore the truth of any matter, rather should one give expression to that which is right and true. The people of Bahá should not deny any soul the reward due to him, should treat craftsmen with deference, and, unlike the people aforetime, should not defile their tongues with abuse.” *

The sixth Taráz (Ornament)

“Knowledge is one of the wondrous gifts of God. It is incumbent upon everyone to acquire it. Such arts and material means as are now manifest have been achieved by virtue of His knowledge and wisdom which have been revealed in Epistles and Tablets through His Most Exalted Pen—a Pen out of whose treasury pearls of wisdom and utterance and the arts and crafts of the world are brought to light.” *

* Extract from the holy tablet of TARAZÁT (Ornaments) by Bahá’u’lláh — prophet founder of the Bahá’í Faith. To read the whole tablet go to

What is your success potential?

August 3, 2006 - Leave a Response

Let Palmistry Analyze Your Thumb Angle for Success

1. For best hand reading hold both hands out in a natural and relaxed position.  
2. Observe the natural resting angle your thumbs make with your hand center lines.  
3. See the hands below and identify which one has the resting thumb angle closest to yours. (That is, the zone where your thumb rests most comfortably.)

Small Angle

In palmistry a small angle reveals a cautious person.
Your small angle reveals that you are a person who does not rush into doing things – physically or mentally. You don’t need to check your horoscope. You are always cautious and wisely observe the situation before taking action. This is true, no matter what your horoscope says, whenever you are holding your thumb at a small angle: You are going to be very cautious and slowly make your decisions to do your chores and go about your daily activities. This is your way but it may bother your friends who have big thumb angles.

You are not pushy about getting your own way. You are patient and if you do not get the desired results you are open to accepting help. You feel more comfortable letting another person take the lead so that you can provide support. You are a good “team player” and it is not important for you to “take charge” in order to get the job done. Successfully reaching your goal is more important than who gets the credit. You work hard to minimize chances of failure. You don’t need an astrologer to tell you how to live your life because success is always your goal and it is not important who gets the credit as long as the project does not fail.

This is not your horoscope for only today because it is always true: You are a loyal, trusted, and valued team member who cooperates especially well in completing group activities to reach worthwhile goals. Your patience and your insights contribute significantly to the success of the group. You are wise to take your time and consider all possibilities before tackling big projects.

Medium Angle

In palmistry a medium angle reveals a balanced planner and organizer with reserved leadership abilities.

Your medium thumb angle reveals that you are balanced, confident and self-reliant. You work well both alone and with others. It is not necessary to be a “take charge” person who dominates all the activities of others around you. You can take the leadership role if necessary but being the leader is not your goal. Your satisfaction comes from getting results, no matter how they are achieved or who gets the credit.

You are not overly mental about what you are going to do, so you don’t waste a lot of time doing unnecessary planning. You do things when the time is right for you. You seldom need help but if you do, you accept it graciously.

If you have friends with a small angled thumb you may notice they seem to you to be a little slower getting started doing things. No problem, you generally call on your own inner leadership and jump in to get them started. One of your virtues is that you are resourceful and can be depended on by others to take the leadership role when needed. You conserve your energy and resources until you need them and then you produce results that surprise others.

Big Angle

You are a person who gets results!

In palmistry a big angle reveals a person who always gets things done fast and efficiently.

Your BIG angle reveals that you are eager to jump in and get things done right away. No matter what your horoscope says, you do things quickly, confidently, and pleasurably because you like to take charge and get the job done! You are very good at taking action to produce results that you and others can see and appreciate. Regardless of what your astrology chart shows, your big angle proves you are confident, self-reliant, and a “doer”.

Hints for getting more things done and better results in life:

Holding your thumb out at a big angle greatly helps to raise your energies for doing things. This is similar to throwing your shoulders back and expanding your chest when you are depressed. That change in body posture is opposite to the posture of a depressed person so the mind and the hormones it produces change to match the new body posture and you aren’t so depressed. The same thing happens when holding your thumb out at a big angle when it wants to be in close to the palm. The mind and the hormones are revved up for action when the thump is out at a big angle!


The Development and Dimensions of Love in Marriage – a Baha’i inspired perspective

August 2, 2006 - Leave a Response


To love is a universal human attribute. There exists in man an eternal quest, a quest which is the motivating force impelling man to seek knowledge, to search for truth, to behold beauty, to experience the most, to reach the highest, to create the best, and above all to achieve union with the Beloved. This fundamental quest is the manifestation of the basic, eternal love with which every human being is endowed.

Given the central role of love in human relationships, the many attempts to understand love, to explain its nature, to describe its characteristics, and to unravel its mysteries are not surprising. Nevertheless, love remains poorly understood. Many believe that love cannot be explained but only experienced, while others consider love to be merely another human emotion. In this paper, I will attempt to describe love both from an experiential and a phenomenological perspective. The concepts presented are derived from the teachings of the Bahá’í Faith on this issue and from my clinical observations pertaining to love at the individual and marital levels under healthy and pathological conditions in the context of various social and cultural settings.

Although the main focus of the presentation is on love in marriage, the concepts presented are also applicable, with some modification, to other types of human love relationships. My main thesis is that love is developmental in its nature and conditional in its quality.

The developmental quality of love is self-explanatory. It refers to the fact that a confident, mature love manifests itself differently from an infantile, possessive type of love, or that self-centered love is an indication of an earlier stage of growth than an unconditional love. The conditional aspect of love refers to the fact that human love can be creative or destructive, enlightened or ignorant, universal or limited, and material or spiritual. These diverse, opposite qualities of love are due to the qualities of the object of the person’s love. In other words, if the object of human love is beauty, knowledge, or life, love is manifested in its most beautiful, enlightened and creative manner. If the object of the person’s love is untruth, cruelty, and materialism, then falsehood and destruction are the outcome. The ultimate aim of this process is the love of God which is the source of human joy and glory:

If one possesses the love of God, everything that he undertakes is useful, but if the undertaking is without the Love of God, then it is hurtful and the cause of veiling one’s self from the Lord of the Kingdom…. With the love of God all sciences are accepted and beloved, but without it, are fruitless; nay, rather the cause of insanity….1

It should be clear that the developmental nature of love and the choice of love object are totally interrelated. In other words, the more mature an individual’s love, the more sublime the object of his love will be. Of all the types of love between human beings, love in marriage seems to be the most complicated but potentially the most rewarding.

While parent-child, sibling and familial types of love draw their validity and strength from already established biological, psychosocial, and spiritual bonds, the partners in marital love have to establish all these facets of their love from the beginning. Thus, the marital partners, through their own choices, create for themselves immense challenges and opportunities for the development of a unique relationship which can either withstand the vagaries of life or disintegrate in the face of relationship’s tests and demands.

Love is the main force which brings the husband and wife together in the context of marriage. However, it should be remembered that love and marriage are not synonymous. There have been, and continue to be, marriages in which love is lacking or even completely absent. Conversely there are many situations in which love exists between a man and a woman, but they do not marry. The reasons for these conditions lie in the nature and expression of love, both generally and specifically in the context of marriage.

These points will be discussed more fully in the text, however, the reader should be cautioned that the stages and dimensions of love described here are not as rigid or predictable as might be inferred from reading them in outline form. Human beings are creative beings; therefore, love relationships in different couples will be unique according to each couple’s qualities and characteristics. The classifications and stages of love presented in this paper are intended to facilitate study of the phenomenon of love and not to relegate it to a rigid and calcified condition.


O Son of Man!
Veiled in My immemorial being and in the ancient eternity of My essence, I knew My love for thee; therefore I created thee, have engraved on thee Mine image and revealed to thee My beauty.

Unidirectional Love

Love is developmental in nature. Its development is closely related to the process of maturation in the individual and parallels the stages of life – birth, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and maturity. At birth, and for some time thereafter, the normal human infant is totally self-centered, while at the same time dependent upon his parents and environment for well-being, growth, and security. Even at this stage of dependence and helplessness, however, the child is endowed with qualities that facilitate the development of love relationships with others. Love at this level is unidirectional. The child receives the love of his parents, grows as a result of this love’s nurturing properties, and displays signs of satisfaction, comfort, and enjoyment. At this level, the parent’s love is also unidirectional: giving attention, care, and comfort to the child. The parent’s love is given with full awareness and consciousness, and the child accepts with total unconditional trust. At this level, unidirectional love is both healthy and essential. Other similar, but not identical circumstances, that call for unidirectional love are severe illness, extreme danger, or serious handicaps. The ultimate manifestation of unidirectional love occurs between God and man. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, in his discourses on love, identifies four kinds of love, two of which (love of God for man and love of man for God) are the best examples of unidirectional love: God giving and man receiving.

…The first is the love that flows from God to man; it consists of the inexhaustible graces, the Divine effulgence and heavenly illumination. Through this love the world of being receives life….This love is the origin of all the love in the world of creation.
The second is the love the flows from man to God. This is faith, attraction to the Divine, enkindlement, progress, entrance into the Kingdom of God, receiving the Bounties of God….This love is the origin of all philanthropy….2

Unidirectional love can become quite unhealthy in a relationship between two adults who have equal conditions and opportunities. Examples of this type of love occur quite often in those relationships and cultures in which bestowing love is considered meritorious and receiving love is viewed as a sign of selfishness and/or weakness. Consequently, the giver of such love under these circumstances gives with some degree of resentment and an aura of self- sacrifice, and the recipients of such love often feel manipulated, indebted, and humiliated. The feelings of humiliation are due to the fact that their attempts to reciprocate love are not accepted or valued. In such a relationship, unidirectional love becomes ineffective and arouses feelings of anger, resentment, and mistrust. These conditions are fertile grounds for the development of resentment and anger, which in turn become obstacles to the demonstration of love for the other person. Similar unhealthy conditions exist in marriages in which one partner assumes the role of the giver and the other that of the receiver of love.

Competitive Love

Under healthy conditions, the unidirectional love of infancy and early childhood gives way to the type of love which is most characteristic of late childhood and adolescent stages of human development. This type of love is basically intense, erratic, and often irrational. It is characterized by competitive behaviour and an “all or nothing” quality. To adolescents, both giving and receiving love are indications of their worth, ability, capacity, desirability, lovability, and goodness – in short, signs of their identity. Young individuals gradually establish their identity by comparing their own experiences and accomplishments with those of their peers. Love is no exception to this process of comparison.

The young lovers show their love by competing with their peers both with respect to giving and receiving love. They feel that they must constantly prove themselves. They tend to demand love in an absolute, exclusive manner. They, and only they, should be loved; they should love one and only one person. This “all or nothing” love is limited in scope, rigid in the way it is shown and extreme in practice, and confused in the nature and type of emotions which it creates in the minds and hearts of the lovers.

The love relationship under these circumstances becomes erratic. Competition results in the development of unhealthy extremes in behaviour and demands. An example of such a process is the manner in which a competitive lover tries to prove the extent and depth of his love by showering the other person with gifts beyond his means; by actions obviously injurious to himself and others; and by making demands which are unfruitful if not impossible. At this level, the lovers “love each other to death.” Consequently their love, instead of becoming a creative, life engendering force in their relationship, becomes a basically rigid and destructive process. They prove their identity by showing themselves more capable of love than the other person, or as it happens quite frequently, by proving the other person less capable of loving. Furthermore, the erratic nature of competitive love results in insecurity and mistrust.

This type of love, although characteristic of the developmental years of childhood and adolescence, can be modified by guidance and support so that the young individuals gradually learn that it is unnecessary to compete in their love relationship and hence gradually develop cooperative love. The phenomenon of falling in love, with its intensity, fervour, and blindness, occurs at all levels of the human love experience, but is usually most dramatic in the competitive stage. A healthy, extremely powerful and constructive version of this is the love manifested in the life of mystics and saints — a powerful, blinding and intense love, painful and all-consuming. The object of this love is God, and its intensity heralds the beginning stages of the spiritual journey of the human soul. In reality all other types of love, such as love for another individual or love for material things, are but a reflection of this fundamental and all pervasive love. Bahá’u’lláh, in The Seven Valleys, outlining this spiritual journey describes the Valley of Love in this manner:
In this city the heaven of ecstacy is upraised and the world illumining sun of yearning shineth, and the fire of love is ablaze; and when the fire of love is ablaze, it burneth to ashes the harvest of reason. Now is the traveller unaware of himself, and of aught else besides himself. He seeth neither ignorance nor knowledge, neither doubt nor certitude….The steed of this Valley is pain; and if there be no pain this journey will never end. In this station the lover hath no thought save the Beloved, and seeketh no refuge save the Friend.3

Cooperative Love

Gradually, with further maturity, love begins to be manifested in a cooperative manner At this stage which characteristically corresponds to adulthood in the individual, the love relationship becomes a sharing process. The lovers are now more certain of their own identity, more aware of their basic capacities, more assured of their experiences, and less threatened by the possibility of rejection. Furthermore, rejection at this level becomes more tolerable, and the ability to be objective in the evaluation of such circumstances becomes more refined and strong. A sharing relationship is indeed one of the most sought after types of love relationship. Ideally, marriage should take place at this level, or, if it occurs at an earlier stage in the love relationship, should be guided towards this objective. As a consequence of these efforts, the resultant marital relationship is characterized by a strong positive sense of identity for both the husband and the wife, a high capacity for cooperation and sharing, a fundamental belief in the integrity and nobility of each person, and a deep sense of respect for one another. Under such circumstances, love is manifested in a cooperative, assured, calm, and creative manner free from the competition, uncertainty, anxiety, and rigidity of the adolescent stage of development. During all these stages of development – unidirectional love, competitive love, and cooperative love – preoccupation with self steadily decreases. In fact, to the degree that the individual is able to focus his attention, energies, and capacities on others and at the same time maintain a basic sense of self, his strengths, and his positive capacities, he is able to engage in a higher level of love relationship and experience.

The cooperative type of love is not only possible in marriage, but also in other forms of relationship, including his relationship with his Creator. Bahá’u’lláh, in many of his utterances, challenges man to establish a higher level of relationship with his Creator. Until now, the relationship between man and God has been likened to that of a parent and child. But Bahá’u’lláh now puts forward a challenge:

O Son of Being
Love Me, that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee. Know this, O servant.4

With this statement, a new era in the relationship between God and man has begun. Humanity has finally arrived at the stage of adulthood, a stage characterized by sharing.

Within the context of marriage, however, love relationships gradually move from the level of cooperation to an unconditional type of love. The husband and wife then relate to one another with such a degree of respect and comfort that the conditions usually imposed in the love relationship become less frequent, less intense, and less necessary At this level, couples are able to broaden the scope of their love to include their children, parents, relatives, friends and eventually all of humanity, while at the same time being able to safeguard completely the sanctity of their marriage and fidelity.

Unconditional Love

Aside from these stages in the development of love, all of which require one-to- one types of relationship, there is a final stage of growth characterized by the capacity for unconditional love. In this stage, the highly matured individual no longer needs constantly to prove his abilities or to establish his identity. His capacity to love becomes unconditional and universal. Unconditional love refers to that process in which the individual loves others because of their inherent nobility, beauty, uniqueness, and his oneness with all other members of the human race. Every human being is created noble in essence, beautiful in countenance, and unique in capacities.

Furthermore, all people are like the cells of one body – the body of humanity. In order for the body to survive, there must exist a fundamental unity and harmony on the part of each cell towards all other cells. This unity is a requirement for existence and therefore must take place in an unconditional manner. At the level of human relationships, unity and harmony are manifested in the form of love. Each individual, by virtue of his will and power of decision making, is able to develop both the ability and the will to love others in an unconditional and other-directed (as opposed to self-centered) manner. However, attainment of this state is not an easy task and requires a lifelong, intensive effort on the part of the individual.

Such a love may be likened to sunshine. The sun shines on everything, without any discrimination. However, not everything which is exposed to the rays of the sun is capable of taking advantage of it in the same manner. Under the influence of sunshine both the rosebush and the brambles grow, but each responds according to its nature and the degree of its ability. However, the sun is neither encouraged by one, nor dismayed by the other. Such a level of loving is not easy to acquire and as a prerequisite, the person needs to be fully cognizant of the nobility and spiritual reality of man, the basic goodness of all creation, and the developmental nature of his love. Furthermore, he must be willing to strive fully towards this achievement, a process which requires both constant diligence and the willingness to tolerate the pain of growth. Within the marital relationship, the cooperative and the unconditional types of love are required and essential.

The following words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá set forth the essential aspects of an unconditional love:

When you love a member of your family or a compatriot, let it be with a ray of the Infinite Love….Shed the light of a boundless love on every human being whom you meet, whether of your country, your race, your political party, or of any other nation, colour or shade of political opinion.5


Real love is impossible unless one turn his face towards God and be attracted to His beauty.

In the context of marriage, love needs to be manifested in a cooperative and sharing manner. These qualities are directly related to the overall maturity of the husband and wife and are, paradoxically, best achieved in the context of the intimate and growth-inducing environment of a healthy marriage.

A close study of love in marriage shows that in addition to different stages in the development of love, there are also various dimensions or components of marital love. These dimensions consist of mutual attraction and gratification which, as a result of mutual growth of the couple, are augmented by mutual purpose and meaning for life and existence. At first glance, it is difficult to consider such issues as attraction, gratification, purpose, and meaning as constituting dimensions of love in marriage; however, as will be seen, love is a multidimensional force with physical (mutual attraction), emotional (mutual gratification), intellectual (mutual purpose), and spiritual (mutual point of attraction) facets, all of which are manifested in the context of a healthy marriage in a developmental manner.

From Mutual Attraction to Mutual Point of Attraction
The first dimension of love between a man and a woman is attraction. The beauty of an individual attracts the attention of another, encourages an approach, and prepares the way for a response on the part of the attractive individual. If there is considerable mutual attraction a love relationship begins.

Physical attraction, however, is only the first dimension of love in any marriage. once an individual falls in love, the beloved becomes a constant companion in the lover’s mind and heart. Pangs of desire and pain engulf him. All other events and activities gain new meaning in light of this love. If love is returned, there is potential for a more permanent relationship. Gradually other attractive aspects of the person, such as thoughts, feelings, hopes, and aspirations assume greater significance. This process leads to a higher level of closeness and intimacy between the husband and wife and results, not infrequently, in each choosing the other as his point of attraction. Here, “point of attraction” refers to a state in which all of the interest, attention, and yearning, in short, all of a person’s love, is directed towards one object, person, or idea. Under such circumstances, the capacity for reality testing, objectivity, independence, and sense of individuality is greatly hampered.

For the husband and wife to love one another in a healthy growth-inducing and lasting manner, they need to remain individual entities, distinct from one another – each responsible for his or her own activities, decisions, and growth, and at the same time cognizant of the needs and desires of the other person. If the husband and wife, in their attempt to create total integration and union with one another, choose each other as their mutual point of attraction, they become nonentities. Such an integration and union demand the sacrifice of one’s basic self-hood and are basically unhealthy processes.

Thus, the couple must gradually find a mutual point of attraction which transcends finite limitations. They should not substitute other people, their children, or their wealth and fame, as points of attraction. In many marriages, the mutual point of attraction at first is the couple itself, then their children, wealth, position, and possessions, and finally in old age the couple itself again. The final outcome of such a love relationship is separation, loss, and grief. However, in a healthy marriage love finally reaches that height of maturity which not only includes complete and unconditional love for one’s spouse but also allows the couple to share a love for the Absolute and the ultimate. Under such circumstances the husband and wife are able to continue their individual growth and at the same time contribute to the growth of their marriage. The concept of a mutual point of attraction could best be understood by a triangular schema in which the husband, the wife, and the mutual point of attraction each constitute one of its three points. As the husband and wife approach their mutual point of attraction, the distance between them decreases.

The ultimate point of attraction is, essentially, that which is called variously God, Ultimate Truth, Absolute Love. Such a point of attraction can never fully be attained, and therefore, the couple, in their mutual quest, can never lose their identities.

The progress of the mutual attraction and its gradual evolution to a mutual point of attraction, therefore, means that in the context of a healthy marriage, the couple is able to behold each other’s beauty more comprehensively and to transcend the prevalent concepts of and attitudes towards beauty. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, in his description of the four kinds of love, addresses this issue and points out that true love between people is only possible through a mutual point of attraction, i.e., knowledge and love of God. Otherwise, according to ‘Abdu’l- Bahá, what people usually call love is nothing but fascination, and is, therefore, temporary. He says:

The fourth is the love of man for man. The love which exists between the hearts of believers is prompted by the ideal of the unity of spirits. This love is attained through the knowledge of God, so that men see the Divine Love reflected in the heart. Each sees in the other the Beauty of God reflected in the soul, and finding this point of similarity, they are attracted to one another in love. This love will make all men the waves of one sea, this love will make them all the stars of one heaven and the fruits of one tree. This love will bring the realization of true accord, the foundation of real unity.

But the love which sometimes exists between friends is not true) love, because it is subject to transmutation; this is merely fascination. As the breeze blows, the slender trees yield. If the wind is in the East the tree leans to the West, and if the wind turns to the West the tree leans to the East. This kind of love is originated by the accidental conditions of life, This is not love, it is merely acquaintanceship; it is subject to change.
Today you will see two souls apparently in close friendship; tomorrow all this may be changed. Yesterday they were ready to die for one another, today they shun one another’s society This is not love; it is the yielding of the hearts to the accidents of life. When that which has caused this “love” to exist passes, the love passes also; this is not in reality love.6

We live in a world which is composed of societies either already experiencing their collective adolescence or rapidly approaching that level of growth. In an adolescent world the standards of attractiveness are similar to those of adolescent individuals. Physical beauty, youth, and sex appeal are some of the qualities considered as hallmarks of attractiveness by both adolescent individuals and adolescent societies. unless a couple progresses beyond an adolescent level in their marital love relationship, their mutual attraction will fade, and gradually their “love,” which was primarily based on outward qualities, will weaken and disappear. It is only within the framework of a meaningful, enduring mutual point of attraction that marital love can become gratifying and lasting.

From Mutual Need Gratification to Mutual Purpose

Next to mutual attraction, the first common dimension of what couples usually call love is mutual need gratification. Every human being has diverse needs which can best be fulfilled in the context of an intimate relationship. Some of these needs may be due to a deprived or troubled life history of either or both persons involved in the relationship, while other needs are basic requirements for the overall growth and quality of life of any individual. Some examples of the first are such conditions as extreme dependency, loneliness, isolation, alienation, poor self image, and fear of rejection. These conditions all require another person who undertakes either to satisfy these needs or at least to decrease the extent and intensity of their effects.

The second category of needs relating to the direction and quality of life are also of considerable importance with respect to individual growth. Human conditions and functions such as intimacy, sharing, giving and receiving, encouraging and being encouraged, desiring and being desirable, helping and being helped, as well as caring and being cared for, all require the existence of a meaningful, trusting relationship which is best achieved in the context of a healthy marriage.

Many couples marry as a direct response to one or both of these categories of needs. The combination of mutual attraction and mutual need gratification creates an overcharged emotional bond and fosters an illusion of eternal, romantic, and unconditional love. However, in the same manner that attraction has both hidden and obvious sides and is subject to considerable change, the needs of each individual are complex and evolving. In a healthy marriage, the couple create an atmosphere in which both husband and wife have the opportunity and courage for further growth and maturity. Growth is painful and requires will and courage.

When the husband and wife are cognizant of these processes and coordinate their mutual growth, they further strengthen their love relationship. However, many contemporary marriages are based on mutual attraction and mutual need gratification alone. These marriages are usually characterized by fiery, intense, romantic love which soon reaches its peak of excitement, not infrequently even before marriage or during the honeymoon, and then begins to wither and either continues as a boring relationship or ends in separation and divorce.

The choice of continuation or separation is dependent on many factors. Some couples continue to live a highly dependent and parasitic life, others find their duties and responsibilities towards their children a legitimate reason for continuing their marriage, and still a third group try desperately to improve the love relationship and to strengthen the marriage. Separation and divorce, nevertheless, are common and usually occur under the guise of a need for individual freedom and growth. A closer look at these divorces, however, clearly shows that a large percentage of couples separate in the hope that they will find another individual with whom they could reestablish a love relationship characterized by mutual attraction and gratification and thus repeat the once exciting relationship they usually call “true love.” In pursuit of this elusive goal they engage in intense relationships, erratic and erotic at the beginning but boring, monotonous, and isolating in the end.

The main reason for this tragic result is that “true love” requires that mutual attraction becomes a mutual point of attraction and mutual gratification evolves into mutual purpose. Mutual purpose is closely related to our goals, plans, and work. It is natural for human beings to pursue goals and make plans. In fact, when a person is without plans and goals, he becomes disheartened, depressed, and disinterested in life and all that it entails. Due to this fundamental need, there must be opportunities in the context of marriage for both husband and wife to pursue plans and goals both individually and as a couple.

Individual goals and projects shape our life processes, giving direction and meaning, as well as creating motivation for further achievement with a consequent sense of satisfaction and pride. Every human being needs such experiences on an ongoing basis. Through these experiences, the individual gains a sense of identity and worth and contributes to his own and society’s progress and growth.

Work is an indispensable part of life, and when performed in a spirit of service it is the single most important goal and project that a human being can undertake. Work, however, has a profound effect only if it is judged to be a meaningful, productive activity both by the individual, his family and society. However, quite often a person’s work is judged according to its monetary value or the power, authority, and prestige which it confers rather than according to its true value, being a cause of service, unity, harmony, cooperation, creativity, progress, assistance, and happiness to others. Any type of work which does not have such an orientation discourages closeness and cooperation, and instead, fosters isolation and competition. These latter conditions are not conducive to the development of an intimate and loving marriage.

In the future, no doubt, societies will reevaluate their views of work, especially of work performed within the framework of marriage and the family, and such activities as raising children, creating a happy home, and contributing to the stability and peace of the family and the community, will be exalted as the most meaningful, valuable and honoured type of work. The struggle to avoid such activities as is in vogue in some contemporary societies will be replaced by a desire and excitement to partake in them. Bahá’u’lláh places considerable value on work within the framework of marital and family relationships. He says:

The best of men are they that earn a livelihood by their calling and spend upon themselves and upon their kindred for the love of God, the Lord of all worlds.7

Returning to the theme of personal goals and plans, it is obvious that both husband and wife must create opportunities in their marriage for the achievement of their personal objectives and projects. In a healthy marriage, these objectives and projects need to be in harmony and coordination with the goals and plans of the marriage. Some of the most obvious prevalent goals in contemporary marriage are: the accumulation of wealth, social advancement, bearing and educating children, and finally providing for retirement. Many couples spend all their efforts and time in the pursuit of these goals.

These goals and objectives are both meritorious and useful, and when combined with a mutual sense of direction and view of life, they provide the couple with a mutual purpose. Purpose connotes an intentional design for affecting the direction and nature of one’s activities, and can encompass a number of projects, goals, and plans. In the developmental scheme of love, however, mutual purpose is, in fact, a matured and developed version of mutual gratification. As a direct result of mutual growth, the couple becomes less self-centered and preoccupied with the immediate. The partners transcend the limitations of instant gratification and begin to develop purpose in their lives. Initially, the purpose is merely a collection of individual and shared hopes, aspirations, goals, plans, and objectives. Within the framework of a growing love relationship, the mutual purpose becomes more universal in scope, more spiritual in orientation, and less materialistic in outlook. This issue is at the heart of the Bahá’í view of marriage and its purpose:

In a true Bahá’í marriage the two parties must become fully united both spiritually and physically, so that they may attain eternal union throughout all the worlds of God, and improve the spiritual life of each other. This is Bahá’í matrimony.8

A materialistic life which is devoted to the accumulation of wealth, power, and fame within the framework of competition, struggle, and domination ultimately results, under the best of circumstances, in a partnership rather than a love relationship, in isolation rather than involvement, and in boredom rather than fulfillment. This partnership, by virtue of its objectives, is limited both in scope and duration. Whereas, mutual purpose not only provides the couple with meaningful direction but also bestows peace of mind and certitude; allows the couple to transcend the limitations of temporary, youthful attraction, self-centered gratification, and isolated self-growth; and finally, creates opportunities for achieving the final, most crucial dimension of the love relationship: a marriage characterized by a transcendent mutual purpose and a mutual point of attraction.


This paper has attempted to show that love is an essential human attribute which matures as the individual matures. Marriage is a natural, extremely effective milieu for the development of love, provided that the husband and wife are aware of the dynamics of the development of love in human relationships and make conscious, enlightened efforts to facilitate the development and refinement of their love. Such a process requires willingness on the part of the husband and wife to assist each other in their attempts at growth, to choose meaningful mutual purpose and direction, to be willing to suffer the pain of love and growth, and to sacrifice, whenever necessary, their material pursuits for spiritual objectives. These lofty and difficult tasks are within the reach of the marital partners if only they combine their love for each other with enlightenment and wisdom and their knowledge of each other with care and compassion.


1. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith: Selected Writings of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1976), p. 366.
2. Bahá’u’lláh, The Hidden Words (London: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1975), p. 6.
3. Bahá’u’lláh, The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys (Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1978), p. 8.
4. Bahá’u’lláh, The Hidden Words, p. 6.
5. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks (London: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1972), p.38.
6. Ibid., pp. 180-81.
7. Bahá’u’lláh, The Hidden Words, p. 51.
8. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 372.
[By Hossain B. Danesh, MD., FRCP(C), an associate professor of psychiatry and family medicine at the University of Ottawa.]