Book Study Groups meet twice per month on a weekday evening in Lafayette, Colorado.
Lively group discussions
Private interactions with your partner
The next new group starts in the fall of 2017
Quotes are excerpted from
The Course of Love by Alain de Botton
Call for details.
Share the Journey
It is hard to know what we should make of, and how lonely we should feel about, such things as immature rages, late-night threats of divorce, sullen silences, slammed doors, and everyday acts of thoughtlessness and cruelty… But too often a realistic sense of what an endurable relationship is ends up weakened by silence… We hence imagine that things are far worse for us than they are for other couples… We end up believing that our struggles are indications of having made some fundamental error, rather than evidence that our marriages are essentially going entirely according to plan.
Be more effective in your own life
What makes people good communicators is, in essence, an ability not to be fazed by the more problematic or offbeat aspects of their own characters. They can contemplate their anger, their sexuality, and their unpopular, awkward, or unfashionable opinions without losing confidence or collapsing into self-disgust. They can speak clearly because they have managed to develop a priceless sense of their own acceptability. They like themselves well enough to believe they are worthy of, and can win, the goodwill of others if only they have the wherewithal to present themselves with the right degree of patience and imagination.
Good listeners re unfussy about the chaos which others may for a time create in their minds; they’ve been there before and know that everything can eventually be set back in its place.
Get support with the crazy stuff
We don’t need to be constantly reasonable in order to have good relationships; all we need is to have mastered is the occasional capacity to acknowledge with good grace that we may, in one or two areas, be completely insane.
The accusations we make of our lovers make no particular sense. We would utter such unfair things to no one else on earth. But our wild charges are a particular proof of intimacy and trust, a symptom of love itself—and in their own way a perverted manifestation of commitment. Whereas we can say something sensible and polite to any stranger, it is only in the presence of the lover we wholeheartedly believe in that we can dare to be extravagantly and boundlessly unreasonable…
Help for the sulks and tantrums
We would ideally remain able to laugh, in the gentlest way, when we are made the special target of a sulker’s fury. We would recognise the touching paradox. The sulker may be six foot one and holding down adult employment, but the real message is poignantly retrogressive: "Deep inside, I remain an infant, and right now I need you to be my parent. I need you correctly to guess what is truly ailing me, as people did when I was a baby, when my ideas of love were first formed..."
We do our sulking lovers the greatest possible favour when we are able to regard their tantrums as we would those of an infant. We are so alive to the idea that it’s patronising to be thought of as younger than we are, we forget that it is also, at times, the greatest privilege for someone to look beyond our adult self in order to engage with – and forgive – the disappointed, furious, inarticulate child within.”
Develop some more compassion
We too often act from scripts generated by crises of long ago that we’ve all but consciously forgotten. We behave according to an archaic logic which now escapes us, following a meaning we can’t properly lay bare to those we depend on most. We may struggle to know which period of our lives we are really in, with whom we are truly dealing, and what sort of behavior the person before us is rightfully owed. We can be a little tricky to be around… The business of repatriating emotions becomes one of the most delicate and necessary tasks of love… Two people can come to see that sudden bursts of anxiety or hostility may not always be directly caused by them, and so should not always be met with fury or wounded pride. Bristling and condemnation can give way to compassion.
Learn from your best teacher
We are ready for marriage when we accept that in certain very significant areas, our partners will be wiser, more reasonable and more mature than we are. We should want to learn from them... At the same time, we should be ready to take on the task of teaching them certain things and, like good teachers, not shout, lose our tempers or expect them simply to know. Marriage [is] a process of mutual education… In a more evolved world… we would perhaps know to be a bit less clumsy, scared and aggressive when wanting to point something out, and rather less combative and sensitive when receiving feedback.
Love is a skill rather than an enthusiasm
In a secret corner of our mind, we picture a lover who will anticipate our needs, read our hearts, act selflessly, and make everything better. It sounds “romantic,” yet it is a blueprint for disaster… It is the capacity to tolerate dissimilarity that is the marker of the “right” person... We seem to know far too much about how love starts, and recklessly little about how it might continue... love is a skill rather than an enthusiasm.
Explore the mysteries & pleasures of passion
Arousal… draws its energy from the possibility of being granted permission to possess a deeply desirable, once forbidden yet now miraculously available and accessible other. It is an expression of grateful wonder, verging on disbelief, that in a world of isolation and disconnection, the wrists, thighs, earlobes, and napes of necks are all there, finally, for us to behold… Sexual desire is driven by a wish to establish closeness—and is hence contingent on a preexisting sense of distance, which it is a distinctive pleasure and relief to try to bridge.
Find Compatibility and Courage
Compatibility is an achievement of love; it shouldn’t be its precondition… The trick is perhaps not to start a new life but to learn to reconsider the old one with less jaded and habituated eyes… These projects offer no fewer opportunities for heroism than an epic tale… The courage not to be vanquished by anxiety, not to hurt others out of frustration, not to grow too furious with the world for the perceived injuries it heedlessly inflicts, not to go crazy and somehow manage to persevere in a more or less adequate way through the difficulties of married life—this is true courage; this is heroism in a class all its own.