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The word “spinster” emerged, a pathetic figure compared to blissful women in love.

Simon May, a British philosopher who has studied the development of beliefs about love over two millennia of Western culture, suggests that we’ve placed vastly more importance on finding love since the retreat of Christianity and the rise of relativism.

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It involved physical dissolution, the sense of falling apart.

It made us act irrationally and tore a hole into the neatly woven fabric of our lives, beckoning us to step through it into a land of terrors.

Although they were afraid—they'd both been divorced before—they confided their admiration for each other, John's for the courage Julie showed in her therapy practice by helping the “sickest of the sickest,” schizophrenics and Vietnam veterans on Skid Row, and Julie's for John's absurdist sense of humor. The intense intimacy of their relationship was on full display: They finished each other's sentences, bantered with each other and talked candidly about how their struggles had made them stronger. We'd come to see the Gottmans because the pair has spent the last 20 years refining a science-based method to build a beautiful love partnership yourself.

They reveal it over a two-day, $750-per-pair workshop called "The Art and Science of Love." “It turns out Tolstoy was wrong," John told the crowd in an opening lecture. It turns out, empirically, yes, there is a secret." Over decades, John has observed more than 3,000 couples longitudinally, discovering patterns of argument and subtle behaviors that can predict whether a couple would be happily partnered years later or unhappy or divorced.

Everyone at the workshop was given a kit in a box with a handle.

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