RELATIONSHIPS: To Find & Keep Romantic Love | Great Health Guide
RELATIONSHIPS: To Find & Keep Romantic Love

RELATIONSHIPS: To Find & Keep Romantic Love

‘To Find & Keep Romantic Love’ by Matthew Anderson published in Great Health Guide (June 2016). We all possess a vessel that is capable of holding love. However, how large is our vessel? What would happen if we are showered with more love than our vessel can hold? Matthew Anderson’s article discusses our capacity to love and be loved. 
Read other relationships articles on Great Health Guide, a hub of expert-inspired resources empowering busy women to embody health beyond image … purpose beyond measure.

RELATIONSHIPS: To Find & Keep Romantic Love

written by Matthew Anderson

Imagine that you have a vessel inside you that is designed to hold love.  All the love that comes to you must fit into that container.  If you receive more love than this vessel will hold all the excess love will drop away and be lost to you.  How large is your vessel?

If your vessel is quart sized then what happens if life wants to shower you with a gallon of love?  Is your vessel large enough to sustain your need for love?  Who decided how large your vessel could be?

This exercise offers us information that is directly related to our ability to receive and tolerate love, especially romantic love.  Many who do this exercise realize that the love-vessel inside of them is rather small.  When romantic love showers down upon them unannounced, they accept what they can.  However, if the power and intensity of it is greater than the vessel within them then they begin to deflect everything that seems more than they can handle. 

Romantic love is notoriously immense.  It permeates our being with intense passion that is unlike anything we have ever experienced. In many cases it overwhelms our interior love-vessel to the point of overflow.  If we hold too tightly to the beliefs that form and limit our ability to tolerate love, we will not be able to increase the size of our vessel and we will begin to shrink from the flow of love.


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Much of today’s self-help psychology emphasizes the importance of self-esteem and the difficulties that arise due to the lack of it.  Low self-esteem is blamed for many mental and emotional ailments, including a difficulty in tolerating affection and love.  We might say that low self-esteem is a major factor in deciding the size of our interior love-vessel.  Self-esteem generates our sense of what we believe we deserve.  If then, we encounter a person who loves us more than we think we deserve, we could easily find ways to deflect or even reject some or all of that loving care and attention.  Given the special intensity of romantic love, this could result in an enormous internal conflict between the limited size of our love-vessel and the enormity of the passion of our lover.  

The miracle of romantic love, however, is its ability to re-shape and expand our interior love-vessel, if we consciously allow it.  Currently, there are only three ways to substantially increase our ability to tolerate love; psychotherapy, which can take years and great financial expense; a transformational spiritual experience, which can occur gradually over years or in a lightning strike of divine intervention, which is not under our control; or finally by surrendering to the power of romantic love when it graces us with its joy.  Both psychotherapy and spirituality are viable paths to self-love and it is true that loving God can include many of the experiences of romantic love, depending on the spiritual tradition. But this work is about romantic love and when it appears we would do well to pay attention to its life and self-transforming powers.

It would be safe to assume that romantic love overwhelms everyone’s love-vessel.  For most of us, it is greater than any love we have experienced and our inner being is most often not prepared to fully accept and integrate it.  Our task, then, is not to take what we can handle and let the rest fall away into the abyss of our self-hate.  Our task is to muster all our strength and consciousness and open our heart to receive it until we think we are going to shatter internally and then open even more. 

The best and most effective response to romantic love is surrender.  To surrender, in this instance, is not a sign of weakness.  In fact, it is the opposite of weakness.  It is actually an act of love responding to love with the only appropriate means we have.  Heart must surrender to heart with a full sense of gratefulness.  As we respond to love with love, our inner vessel grows and expands until it
can accept and hold the entirety of the miraculous gift is has been offered.

Surrender allows us to bypass the inner argument between our limited self-image and the glorious wonder that romantic love offers us.  Rational defenses will not suffice.  We cannot argue our way into believing that we deserve this immense blessing that has been bestowed upon us without our effort or request.  We know, in our hearts, that we did nothing to earn it.  Yet here it is and it is our task to honor it by letting go of all resistance.  Then love can enter every dark corner of our being and heal what we believed was unredeemable.  At this point the inner love-vessel shatters completely and love fills all that we are.  We are, once and for all, the vessel itself.

Take Away Points:

  • Learning to tolerate love is essential to the success of your romantic relationship.

  • It is important to identify your ‘love vessel’.

  • The best response to romantic love is surrender.

Author of this article:
Reverend Matthew Anderson has a Doctor of Ministry specialising in counselling and has extensive training and experience in Gestalt and Jungian Psychology. He has helped many couples and singles successfully navigate relationship issues. His best seller, The Resurrection of Romance is an example of the goals he plans to achieve and is also a result of his intensely romantic relationship with his partner Sunny. Matthew can be contacted through his website.


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