When a couple nervously walks into my office for the first time, the chances are high that they will describe how the passion has disappeared from what used to be an intense, hot love affair, characterized by frequent episodes of acrobatic sex. Disappointment and desperation color their faces as each partner shares his or her theory as to why. The partners may even tell about their many attempts to resurrect the heat between them, by taking the vacation to Aruba without the kids, of following the latest Cosmo advice, or by buying frilly intimates at Victoria Secret.
Yet here they are, frustrated and nervous in the marriage counselor's office. Obviously their attempts either produced short-lived sparks or failed completely.Among the most pleasant of my tasks, as the dreaded, final-try, marriage counselor is to assure the former lovers that there is a chance of success. Little did the partners know that when they floated into their romantic relationship, on clouds of dreams and hope, they were flirting with one of the most challenging exercises a human being can undertake, love.
During the first few golden months of being together, lovers are duped into believing that the love and excitement will last forever.Unfortunately, this is not the perfect world for which most of us wish. Emotionally, a love relationship most closely mimics the first love we ever knew, the love for our parents. As our relationship progresses, the negative effects of the pains, limitations and challenges of love we experienced when we were very young are activated in our adult lives. When energized, these old patterns are even more intense if we are committed in marriage to our partner. The childish elements in our emotional make-up, such as neediness, running away when afraid, or being unable to control anger, kill passion. Strength is an aphrodisiac. It is possible to demonstrate strength in numerous ways, such as through strength of character, strength of integrity, strength of intelligence, strength in generosity.
The list of strengths stretches many pages. It is through overcoming our remaining childish aspects, seen by others and our partner as our weaknesses, we mature into the strong person who can re-ignite not only the passion in his or her love relationship, but also the passion for living. There is no shortcut. The arousal sparked by sexy lingerie is not a permanent solution. It takes two strong people to make one strong relationship. To be a strong person by being true to ourselves; to be strong by letting ourselves go, in order to love our partner, this resurrects the flames of passion.
This article first appeared when published in SoCo Magazine. Andrew Aaron, LICSW 508-997-6091 x106