Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Love and Brain Waves

Papa Rooster reads the Wall Street Journal online, and he forwarded me an interesting article (possibly still accessible here) on brain scan research on people in love. I plan to share this quote with our teenaged daughter, who has already broken a few hearts and been surprised at the boys' emotional responses:

Using brain scans to study emotional changes is still a new science. But the images signal the potential toll of relationship problems. "It's not a good combination," notes Dr. Fisher. "You're feeling intense romantic love, you're willing to take big risks, you're in physical pain, obsessively thinking about a person and you're struggling to control your rage. You're not operating with your full range of cognitive abilities. It's possible that part of the rational mind shuts down."

The dramatic changes evident on the brain scans may help explain bizarre behavior that is often associated with love.

And this information is valuable to all us old married couples:

Studies show that trying something new with a spouse can go a long way toward reigniting love. In one study, couples were assigned a weekly activity they both found new and exciting -- such as sailing or taking an art class. Another group did pleasant but familiar activities, such as dinner with friends. Based on answers to relationship tests, the couples doing new things showed far more improvement in the quality of their marriage after 10 weeks than couples who did the same things every week. The lesson is that sharing new experiences with your spouse appears to trigger changes in the brain that mimic the early days of being in love.

Maybe if Papa Rooster and I ever get in a rut, we'll take the ballroom or swing dancing classes we've never had time for! I have to say from personal experience, that being asked by God to do "a new thing," even with all the uncertainty about the details, has drawn us closer than ever.


I suppose this counts as something new, too: We are planning to relight some fires this weekend with a belated 20th anniversary trip away together! He's in Orlando right now, at a cushy conference for work, and I'm joining him tomorrow for the final day of the conference, wrapping up with dinner at Animal Kingdom. Then we're on our own for 4 nights at an even cushier resort (a deal in exchange for 2 hours at a sales presentation).

A friend who used to live with us and knows the routine is coming to stay with the kids. They're looking forward to two days in a row of doing homeschool with the family we trade off with, and that mom is even having my kids overnight--all of them--for one of the nights we're gone--God bless her....

So the big kids can't wait for Mommy to leave!

Off to pack....


Anonymous said...

Have a wonderful, blessed, romantic, fabulous time together! We'll pray to that end. We're a little jealous but now that the littlest is weaned, maybe something like that will be in the works for us (next May we will celebrate 10 years!) Thanks again for your blog. It is such a blessing to me.

Much love,
Sarah, for the 5 of us

At A Hen's Pace said...


I can't believe it. Ten years? (Wait--I guess you were already married when we met--but just barely!) Hoping you can work out a little time away too!

So NICE to hear from you!


G's Cottage said...

Wow, and it's so warm in Florida this week. Enjoy.

But speaking from a Lindy Hop family I hope you choose Swing over Ballroom because you'll be dancing sooner instead of stressing over step-sequencing. And, at least here, Swing lessons are less expensive than Ballroom.


Jenny in Ca said...

Have a great time Hen! how wonderful!

Anonymous said...

There's been so much research in the last few years on the teenage brain and how it is still being wired. Old wisdom says that the brain is pretty much done myelinating around age 6 or 7, but resent research shows that a teenagers prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain that does rational decision making) is still not complete. Young adolescents especially are using the lymbic area of the brain (the emotional, reactive, primal area of the brain) to make decisions because the prefrontal cortex just isnt developed enough for them to use. It isnt fully developed until around age 20.

Can you tell I have a class in Adolescent Psychology this quarter? :-)

Jen in Seattle

Kathryn said...

Sunny FLorida??

ok...I'm just a wee bit jealous.

I'm away too this weekend - but in Moncton, New Brunswick.Never heard of it?

not surprising.

I'm at a ringette tournament - spending my time at cold rinks cheering my daughter's team. I'm not a big fan of rinks but I'm a big fan of my daughter.

Why didn't she take up surfing? I could be such a happier fan on a beach.


Hope you're having a lovely getaway with your hubby.