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Building Love That Lasts

Use ancient wisdom and modern science to create your own “happily ever after.”

Building Love That Lasts is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 22.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from A phenomenal series of lectures given by a married I was deeply inspired by the lectures. Heartily-recommended!
Date published: 2022-04-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from A good start The lecturers introduce the course making an astute observation that our culture seems to exceedingly focus on the ‘falling-in-love-stage’ of a romantic relationship. Whether that is influenced by movies and storytelling, or whether those stories reflect a kind of cultural yearning, we often see, are moved, and perhaps inspired by love stories that end once the couple overcome the challenges keeping them apart, and consummate or formalize their relationship, often through marriage. Meanwhile, in the ‘real world’, after couples exchange their lifelong vows, nearly half end in divorce, and there is no guarantee that those that stay together, are satisfied with their relationship. One of the key goals of the course is to fill this void that is often neglected not just in movies, but in real life. What kind of guidance can be offered for relationships past its initial stage? The approach here relies mostly on the field of positive psychology, which rather than focusing on the detrimental aspects of relationship, it focuses on identifying and working on the positive resources that are important for a lasting relationship. The lecturers discuss in what way those ‘resources’ are important, and propose a practical approach to them, so that they can be integrated into the relationship. The basic idea is that simply ‘knowing’ what is good for a relationship, won’t do much good unless it is followed by deliberate and effortful cultivation of such ‘goods’, much like knowing how to build muscle and become fit, won’t do much good if not followed by continuous exercise and changes in one’s lifestyle. One observation that should be made, is that most of the positive aspects articulated here, such as importance of gratitude, cultivation of certain aspects of our character, savoring the moment, and so on, are not really germane to the field of positive psychology. Perhaps their integration to the field psychology is something relatively novel, but definitely not their theory and practice. The lecturers themselves mention as reference, sources such as Greek philosophy and mindfulness discipline. A problem that I see here is that most of the theoretical reference used in the course, were introduced and integrated in a very simplistic, and hurried manner, very unlike the breadth and richness of many of the original sources. In particular, more philosophically oriented sources, address relationship in a much greater complexity and nuance; in how it relates to one self, to our interpersonal circle, to society, and beyond. This course has a much narrower scope, and I think that it offers a deceivingly limited perspective on romantic relationship, treating it almost as if in a vacuum, neglecting how all those types and levels of ‘relationships’ interact and affect each other. I didn’t expect the course to offer a rich philosophical approach to relationships, as it is short and pragmatic, but I did expect to bring insightful theories and relevant research from the field of psychology to the ‘domain’ of romantic relationship. Studies however, are mentioned scantly, briefly, and without much scrutiny over the solidity of the research. Theories such as “attachment theory”, are discussed, and integrated to a practical approach, again, in a very simplistic and somewhat haphazard manner. And overall, there is not much science supporting the particular practices proposed. It is not given any reliable evidence that creating a “positive relationship portfolio” or using our “signature strength”, will improve your relationship. It doesn’t mean that it won’t, and it seems reasonable to assume that it might have some positive benefits. However, one must also assume that you can’t simply rely on such practices, as to have a thriving relationship. Another criticism is that the focus on the ‘positives’ for relationship, although important, seems also partial, and limited. The lecturers themselves make the point that we need to balance corrective and positive approaches. My actual favorite lecture was actually the one on ‘cultivating the right kind of passion’, which discusses how couples that overly passionate, may actually work against them in a long-term relationship. I think that is the kind of insight that is difficult to have without some kind of organized study on the topic. The lecturers, however, don’t seem to have much actual ‘field work’ in counseling, or researching ‘real world’ relationships, to have real insight into their inner workings; how relationship thrives and how they fail. The most constant reference used, is their own relationship, and the issues that they bring up are pretty minor, and un-insightful. Overall, the course seems to choose to ‘keep it light’ and ‘positive’. Detracting from messy and complex aspects that most intimate and deep relationship are likely to entail. One last criticism that I think that is important to point out is that the guidebook is abridged, to the point of being nearly useless. As a longtime customer of The Great Courses, I find that guidebooks are important source of learning, and I always like to read it to make my own notations, and engage more actively with the course. The fact that this course has put so little effort in it, does not send a good sign regarding the effort that it was put in putting the course together. And I hope that the production team can be more rigorous of the guidebook for future courses, and do not use this one as an acceptable standard for it. The lecturers themselves were fine and pleasant throughout, and I would have no problem with the casual style of their delivery, if they managed to maintain the rigor and quality of the content presented. Despite the criticism that I pointed, this course is by no means useless, and I think that it can be a valuable, specially for recently formed couples to go through the course together and perform the relationship practices. It will likely build intimacy and companionship, and if anything, it will show the commitment of both to strive for a lasting and thriving relationship. That is a very good start, and it will provide some structure that perhaps is missing for many, if not most couples. However, in terms of the quantitative and qualitative aspect of the information provided; it is not what I would expect from an academic level course. Perhaps it was the intention of lecturers and/or the production team to compose something ‘easy’, and accessible. For that, there are so many other popular sources out there. Rather than compete for the audience from such sources, I’ve come to expect that The Great Courses to offer a more solid and comprehensive approach from the topics they cover. I do believe that the topic of relationships, and ‘love’, is one of the greatest importance. I would love to see a course addressing for instance, how cultural traditions and philosophical sources, address the topic, and what kind of lessons can they offer. Just as I would also appreciate a more intensive and insightful, psychologically oriented, dive into the ‘world’ of real-world romantic relationships, looking more in depth into relevant theories, analyzing current data and research, and what do they suggest.
Date published: 2022-04-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great foundation for a new relationship As a single gay male, I wasn’t entirely sure whether this course was for me. However, as I made my way through the 12 lessons, I had several “a-ha” moments that emphasised the importance of establishing a secure attachment style in my romantic (and non-romantic) relationships from day one. Rather than push for hyper-independence (i.e., I don’t need a partner!) or hyper-dependence (i.e., I need a partner!), James and Suzann suggest that “interdependence” is the ideal place to land in healthy relationships – which is a far cry from the messages we hear in every other pop song! While this course operates from the assumption that you are in an exisiting partnership, I found it to be an accessible, science-based overview of what healthy intimacy looks like. So… I guess I’ll report back here once I’m in a secure, interdependent relationship… :)
Date published: 2022-03-15
Rated 1 out of 5 by from How I feel about the course This is a worthless course nothing of value two intellects that had no idea what true love is
Date published: 2022-03-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Tremendous class! Loving relationships don’t just feel good, they are good for us. Scientific research demonstrates they are foundational to our well-being. In fact, they have been found to be the single most important determinant to aging well. How can we cultivate loving and flourishing relationships to experience all the inherent well-being effects? If only having satisfying and sustainable relationships was as simple as it seems to be in fairy tales and films! However, happily ever after doesn’t just happen. Rather, it’s healthy habits that help build long term happiness. And the good news is the science of positive psychology can help us learn and practice these habits to strengthen our relationships. Check out this engaging new course for Wondrium (formerly The Great Courses Plus), titled "Building Love That Lasts." Positive psychology experts and husband and wife duo Suzie Pileggi Pawelski and James Pawelski emphasize the importance of focusing on what you put into your relationship rather than what you get out of it. Inspired by their best-selling book, Happy Together (Penguin Random House 2018), which integrates Aristotelian philosophy and the science of positive psychology, this course will help you learn how to find and feed the good in one another and your relationship. It is comprised of 12, 30-minute interactive sessions with research, real life-examples, and fun exercises you can apply to your relationship right away. Learn from the Pawelskis. They are GREAT!
Date published: 2022-02-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Marriage If you are planning on getting married later in life and have been set in your ways, this is the course for you! Learn how to focus on the positive aspects of your partner and yourself to strengthen your relationship.
Date published: 2022-02-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What a unique approach! I love it! How smart to blend science with real life to help build real relationships grounded in love and trust! I especially appreciated the examples and concepts that my partner and I have been practicing to improve our communication and build a stronger relationship. Thanks to James and Suzann for this excellent course!
Date published: 2022-02-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Cultivating Character I thought this was a well-thought-out short course. At first, I was skeptical, but as the lessons unfolded, they turned out to be a practical vehicle of discussion and reflection. Each lecture ends with something to do, to talk about, or to write about. On the surface, they all seem like easy, superficial topics. But when you invest in the issues with honesty and trust, they're all stepping stones to building character strengths and shoring up weaknesses. The Guidebook is not a typical summary of lectures. But they do have fantastic resources and references that should be followed up. The course is short and none of the lectures is a deep dive tackling issues that might be ambiguous or give you what-if questions and a handful of but-in-my-cases. On the other hand, that makes the course all the more interesting. It sparks curiosity. And it promotes introspection. If your goal is relationship management, then this is a good place to start, regardless of whether you're floating with your soulmate or you're walking a rocky road.
Date published: 2022-02-14
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Overview

Discover the secrets to a long and happy relationship in this 12-lesson course by Professor James Pawelski and Suzann Pileggi Pawelski. Integrating the science of positive psychology with the wisdom of ancient philosophy, our experts will bring you fresh and valuable insights into healthy relationships. This course will provide you with helpful perspectives and essential tools to build love that lasts.

About

James O. Pawelski

We combine ancient philosophical wisdom, modern scientific research, and interactive exercises to help you find and feed the good in yourself and your partner.

INSTITUTION

University of Pennsylvania

James O. Pawelski is Professor of Practice and Director of Education in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, where he cofounded the world’s first master of applied positive psychology program with Martin Seligman. An award-winning teacher, he earned his PhD in Philosophy from The Pennsylvania State University.

James is a collaborative leader, having served as the founding executive director of the International Positive Psychology Association and as president of the William James Society. He is the founding director of the Humanities and Human Flourishing Project, which has been designated a National Endowment for the Arts Research Lab. He is the author, coauthor, or coeditor of several books—including The Oxford Handbook of the Positive Humanities—and the editor of the Humanities and Human Flourishing book series with Oxford University Press.

With his wife, Suzann Pileggi Pawelski, James coauthored Happy Together: Using the Science of Positive Psychology to Build Love That Lasts, and together they present Romance and Research™ workshops around the world.

An international keynote speaker, James has presented in more than 20 countries. He is frequently featured in the media, including The New York Times, U.S. News and World Report, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and TODAY.

By This Professor

Building Love That Lasts
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Suzann Pileggi Pawelski

We are here to share with you the fundamentals of building love that lasts using the principles of positive psychology.

Suzann Pileggi Pawelski is a well-being writer, consultant, and positive psychology expert specializing in the science of happiness and its effects on relationships and health. She earned her master of applied positive psychology degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

 Suzie’s 2010 Scientific American MIND cover story “The Happy Couple” was the catalyst for Happy Together: Using the Science of Positive Psychology to Build Love That Lasts, the best-selling book that she wrote with her husband, James. Named one of the best books of 2018 by Business Insider, SUCCESS magazine, and the Greater Good Science Center, Happy Together has also been featured in TIME magazine, Inc. magazine, Parade magazine, People magazine, New York magazine, NPR, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, among others. On his show Larry King Now, Larry King, who was married eight times, said he wished he “would’ve had this book 20 years ago.”

 As a contributing editor for Live Happy and columnist for the newsletter of the International Positive Psychology Association, Suzie profiled many of the field’s leading scientists and featured their groundbreaking research. She also pens a popular relationship blog for Psychology Today and gives Romance and Research™ workshops around the world with James.

By This Professor

Building Love That Lasts
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Building Love That Lasts

Trailer

An Introduction to Making Love Last

01: An Introduction to Making Love Last

Is there a secret to healthy relationships? Your guides, James Pawelski and Suzann Pileggi Pawelski, suggest that we work harder at falling in love than staying in love. Jump into this innovative course and crack the code to healthy relationships, backed with wisdom from ancient Greek philosophy and science from contemporary positive psychology.

28 min
Love Lessons from Ancient Greece

02: Love Lessons from Ancient Greece

What does Aristotle have to teach us about building healthy relationships? Turns out, plenty. Learn concepts from Aristotelian love by exploring the fundamental human wants that make love tick, then compare it to what history and culture tell us about soulmates through popular movies such as Jerry Maguire.

26 min
The Psychology of Lasting Love

03: The Psychology of Lasting Love

In this lesson, James and Suzie weave together ancient wisdom and positive psychology, using science to help us cultivate research-based habits to strengthen our connections. Explore the superpowers we each have and figure out which ones you most often use in your relationships.

26 min
Cultivating the Right Kind of Passion

04: Cultivating the Right Kind of Passion

Passion is what makes love go round, right? Yes, but there are different types: Learn about obsessive versus harmonious passion and get the tools you need to build healthy habits. Then use them to heal from anxious or avoidant attachment styles so you can control the passion instead of letting it control you.

31 min
The Power of Positivity

05: The Power of Positivity

In relationships, we all naturally seek pleasure. But maybe we should focus on pleasure's cousin, positivity, instead. Discover the differences between seeking one vs. the other, and see all the ways that the pursuit of positivity can open you up to the world, and by extension, to your partner.

28 min
Putting Positivity into Practice

06: Putting Positivity into Practice

Picking up from the previous lesson, you will begin to understand how to apply positivity to your relationships. Your experts discuss the top 10 positive emotions and give you concrete ways to prioritize and utilize them to organize your life to help you connect more deeply with others.

31 min
Taking Time to Savor Your Love

07: Taking Time to Savor Your Love

Shakespeare makes a powerful observation in Hamlet: "There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so." Savoring is the art of attending to, appreciating, and enhancing positive experiences, allowing couples to flourish and feel deeply cared for—making it the perfect companion to positive emotions.

30 min
Developing Effective Relationship Habits

08: Developing Effective Relationship Habits

How do you make new relationship patterns stick? If you're feeling doubtful about implementing all of these newfound techniques in your relationship, this next part will motivate and enable you. Your experts dive into what it takes to build good habits and break bad habits with your partner.

30 min
Cultivating Character for Healthy Relationships

09: Cultivating Character for Healthy Relationships

What do your character traits have to do with building love that lasts? In this lesson, you will learn how to identify the unique strengths you and your partner each have and will practice enabling and facilitating them in each other to build character and develop a more sustainable and satisfying love.

30 min
Why Gratitude Matters for Lasting Love

10: Why Gratitude Matters for Lasting Love

Gratitude is one of the most important strengths associated with individual and relational well-being. And how you practice it matters. You will experience this for yourself as you explore different ways for initiating and responding to gratitude and then practice the ones that are most effective for healthy relationships.

29 min
Responding Rather Than Reacting to Your Partner

11: Responding Rather Than Reacting to Your Partner

The easiest and most natural thing to do when dealing with a partner or loved one is to go on autopilot and react, but that is one of the least effective ways of interacting with others. Intentional responding is much better, and your experts give you three effective tools you can use: compassion, meditation, and active constructive responding.

30 min
Conclusion: Love Is an Action Verb

12: Conclusion: Love Is an Action Verb

All the wisdom you have gained does nothing if you don't put your knowledge into action. Follow your experts as they discuss three important things to keep in mind as you apply what you have learned: pay attention to the emotional bids in your relationship, cultivate the mindset that stress can enhance your connection, and abide by the Diamond Rule.

33 min