Wired for Love
Look around you. We live in a highly complex world. The array of devices, machinery , technology ,
and processes that make it tick i s mindboggl ing. Just wi thin the l i fet ime of many still alive today ,
humanity has come to regard as commonplace t ravel to the far side of the planet , the instant replay of
event s around the globe, and the ability to speak to and see just about anyone anywhere at any t ime,
among many other things. W e enjoy the advantages these scient i fic advances have brought us, and we
curse them when they break down. And of course they do break down at times. For thi s reason, we turn
to guidebooks—everything from a car owner ’ s manual that shows how much to inflate your tires, to
the inst ruct ions that show how much bat ter to load in your waffle maker . We may hate the thought of
consul t ing a manual (or cal l ing for technical support , except perhaps in a pinch), but can you really
operate al l these things successful ly simply through intuition?
Relationships are complex, too. Yet we often at tempt them wi th a minimum of guidance and
support . I’m not suggest ing you should fol low a standard set of 1-2-3 steps in relat ing to your partner .
Relat ionships wi l l never come wi th manual s that automate the process. W e aren’t robot s. What works
for one couple won’t necessari ly work for another . But nei ther does i t work to fly bl ind, as many
couples do, and expect relat ionships to fal l into place.
Hence the need for wel l -informed guidance that support s your relat ionship. And what might be considered wel l -informed in thi s context? In fact , a large and fascinat ing body of scient i fic knowledge and theory wi th the potent ial to influence how partners relate to one another has been accruing in recent decades. This includes revolut ionary work in the fields of neuroscience and neurobiology , psychophysiology , and psychology . I bel ieve couples can benefi t from thi s weal th of research. You may find thi s idea int imidat ing, but don’t worry: I’m not suggest ing you need to quit your day job and go back to school . I think you’l l find the basic theories qui te st raight forward when you hear them explained in lay language.
In short , i t’s my convict ion that having a bet ter understanding about how our brains function—in
other words, how we’re wired—put s us in a bet ter posi t ion to make wel l -informed choices in our
relat ionships. Scient i fic evidence suggest s that , from a biological standpoint , we humans have been
wi red largely for purposes that are more warl ike than loving in nature. That’s the bad news. But the
good news i s that recent research suggest s a variety of st rategies and techniques are avai lable to
reverse thi s predi sposi t ion. We can, in effect , take steps to assure we are primarily wi red for love.
These strategies can help us create stable, loving relat ionships in which we are poi sed to effectively
defuse conflict when i t arises.
So why not make use of them? In the fi rst three chapters of this book, I provide you with general
principles, drawn from cutting-edge research, to help you understand what makes a relationship
successful and work toward that wi th your partner. The chapters that fol low expand on these principles
in pract ical ways. For example, i f you have a clear sense of your partner’s relat ionship style based on
the latest research, i t wi l l be easier for the two of you to work together and fix any problems that may
ari se. In essence, thi s book can serve as an owner’s manual for understanding yourself, your partner ,
and your relationship.