For so many people, the passion they enjoyed in the beginning of their relationship serves as a benchmark of expectations for what level of passion they hope will remain throughout their relationship’s life. Yet couple after couple prove how difficult it is to maintain passion. What interferes? The accumulation of resentments and unsuccessfully negotiated differences interfere with enduring passion. These represent frozen, unresolved problems.
The negative factors which kill passion are worthy of our attention, as are the positive efforts which promote it. Without question, love relationships are among life’s more difficult challenges. Differences between partners are commonly felt as uncomfortable, anger-generating friction. If not relieved through lovingly-motivated changes, it will amass into a cold-as-stone wall of resentment, which effectively cuts off the flow of emotional heat.
Passion is the strong delicious desire between partners; an insatiable craving for that special person. It may or may not be sexual. In the early days of a love relationship, the passion generated is nature’s way to entice us further into the relationship, for reproductive incentive, but also to show us love’s potential. If done well, with love and strength, a relationship can be our guide to personal growth while also maintaining passion.
In most relationships, passion is threatened because each partner eventually finds him or herself in an imprisoning bind; remain who you are and risk a high-quality romantic connection, or give much of yourself and risk being untrue to yourself. The changes we make do not violate our need to be true to ourselves if the changes also contribute to our growth. One essential aspect to life is that we all must change and hopefully, grow. Our relationships generate fulfillment of this purpose…if we cooperate. If we don’t, passion is extinguished. If instead of responding to our partner and to life by meeting the challenge with strength and possibility, we then get stuck. The spark in our relationship and our in-dwelling spirit dies.
Unfortunately, the same conditions which make our relationships stable are those factors which stifle not just passion, but excitement and eroticism. So many are torn between desires for competing values. While having a stable relationship may be very important, partners with passionate but unstable relationships possess excitement and drama but realize that stability has value, too. Stability can be great, but is rarely exciting. It is the balancing of stability with the excitement of risk-taking that has the greatest passion-building potential.
Within a long-term love relationship, passion may be a symptom of a couple’s health, unless it is scarred by instability or dissatisfaction. Being a constant flow of change, life demands that we fluidly adjust and adapt; our relationships are but a subset of life and demand no less. So to keep passion burning, we must strive to be at our best. What makes it so hard is that love requires us to forgo comfort and security. To be a good and passionate lover, it is vital that we take the personal risks of being vulnerable, completely open and willing to move beyond our comfort zone. When we can embrace the opposites of being relaxed while courageously be vulnerable at the same time, we may be rewarded with enduring passion. Andrew Aaron, LICSW 508-997-6091 x106