Quote from Holding Hands, Holding Hearts by Rick and Sharon Phillips (P&R, 2006), as posted by The Purple Cellar:
We are all worshipers, and whatever we worship we rely upon and serve. For many men, success is the god they worship and serve. For others, it is fame or pleasure. Women often worship beauty or falling in love. Whatever it is, we worship it because we think it will make our lives work. . . . Thus, when an idolator says, "I love you," what he means is, "You are a means for getting what I want. You are serving my needs and securing my hopes."
How, then, under the power of their idols, do a man and woman relate to each other? The answer is manipulation. Using a variety of tactics, the man manipulates the woman to get what he wants and to serve the gods that he worships. The woman, serving her own gods, manipulates him in return. . . . If their respective idol-worship is incompatible, as is usually the case, conflict and misery are certain to ensue. Each wants something that the other can give or that the other can help him or her achieve, be it riches, fame, success, pleasure, or just personal peace.
Often a man and woman are initially motivated to please each other; this is especially common early in a dating relationship. If the man is an egotist, the woman learns to compliment him. If the woman is possessed by worldly ambition, the man tries to exhibit competence. Their idols are nicely fed and served, so things move forward. But as the relationship matures, they each begin to see their partner’s idols for what they are and to realize they are not going away. The man’s idols begin to shape his attitude about the woman: . . . she is not beautiful enough, she demands time and attention that he does not want to give. The woman’s idols also speak out–he is not confident enough . . . her friends aren’t as impressed as she thought they’d be. This is what we often mean when we say that we have fallen out of love. When first dating, the feeling of our needs being met was mistaken for love; now that they are not longer being met, we find the loving feeling is also gone. Such self-centered love promotes manipulation, and when manipulation fails, the end of love has arrived.