Passionate Love Defined!
Is your physical attraction to him strong? Does your heart flutter when he walks into the room? Do you long to hold hands? Kiss him? Express yourself sexually with him? Do you believe that passionate love is vital to any enduring relationship? If yes—good. If no—your relationship is lacking a vital element. Now, let’s find out what it is then how and why to transition it to a deeper love.
Passionate love is one of life’s greatest, most magnificent joys. To bond emotionally and physically with someone who likewise bonds with you in return is almost too difficult to explain. It’s one of life’s grand mysteries. It is indeed an indescribable, wondrous, gift to those fortunate to reach it.
Why is deep passion important between two people in a relationship?
Because without the foundation of passionate love, how does love grow bigger, better, deeper?
Let’s be clear here: Passionate love is just one aspect of a relationship. There are many other aspects to explore, however, without passionate love between the partners, long-term the going could be rough. Passionate love is vital to any enduring relationship.
But it is only one element. It is the cornerstone from which other aspects of love are to be built.
If one in the relationship doesn’t have a strong physical desire to be close to the other, something may be missing. A lack of affection or desire for physical intimacy should raise a red flag immediately!
When should this missing element be of concern?
We’re not talking about puppy love sex, or intimacy between those newly dating. In fact, I strongly advise against that level of intimacy early on in dating for a couple reasons:
Emotions elicited from gratifying sex can be overwhelming for those not in a position to move forward with any type of commitment. It establishes a plateau from which it is extremely difficult to retreat once it’s been reached. And then where do you go if there is no commitment moving forward?
Revved up emotions without the foundation of other aspects of the relationship built up can lead to clouded decision making in mate selection. You only see him through the rose-colored glasses of passionate sex. And that by itself does not a solid, long-lasting relationship make.
Sexual expression without direction can develop a mind of its own that could lead to faulty reasoning when choosing a mate—a decision based solely on emotion in lieu of rational thinking.
Again, physical attraction is critical, but it needs to develop in a coordinated way with other aspects of the relationship. And this love that develops between two people should be a slow love-making born of true intimacy.
We all move too fast and are too attached to our technology stuff, smartphones, etc. and more and better “stuff.” That, however is not how enduring love grows – fast and furious. No—It develops slow and steady as the better mode.
Is your level of passion is high enough to endure long-term?
INTRODUCING THE TERM: “COMPANIONATE”
First, long-term love is based upon being your partner’s best companion. Thus, the term companionate love.
It is what long-term, committed relationships are made of.
It is a far deeper kind of love than the hot-blooded, fiery early romance kind of love. It involves communication, commitment, caring, affection and support. This is where two people have shared experiences and times of measured, leisurely relating—not necessarily charged with hot emotions.
He is your best friend and you love him tenderly.
Now here is the key to this entire post: Passionate love is vital; however for enduring love it must transition to a more settled love.
Passionate Love Must Transition into “Settled” Love
The transition from passion to tender attachment is absolutely critical. WHY is this transition so vital? Because, believe it or not, many couples believe that staying in love means they’re constantly in a state of passion.
That if that high level of passion seems to fade, then the love is no longer there . . . Nothing could be further from the truth.
Sooner or later, in any relationship, the fever pitch of hot love cools off. But if a pattern of being best friends and companions has developed, they stand a chance of staying together.
What does Companionate love look like?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you find your partner’s needs to be as important as your own? If so, genuine love is being born.
- Do you enjoy what your partner enjoys? Is he a rabid football fan? i.e. The Dallas Cowboys. Maybe yes, maybe no. However, can you develop an interest enough to share in communication with your partner; attend games, root for his team on Sunday afternoons cheering with him? Couples who love deeply start enjoying what their lover enjoys.
- Do you know the value of having three spaces in your relationship—one for him, one for you and one for you as a couple. While you love being together most of the time, there are times when people need their own space. Maybe he likes hunting. Allow him time for that.
- Maybe you like writing and attending seminars on writing. Allow space for that.
- Then when you come together as a team, you’ll have great experiences to share with each other.
- Do you trust your partner enough to fully open up to him? To share your real self. The more we are known, the more we can be loved. If only superficial things are know, we will be loved only superficially.
- Do you have shared dreams and plans for the future together as a team? If not, why not.
How does companionate love develop?
First it’s multi-faceted. It takes time to develop. And it’s work. . .
You have to be willing to listen and understand your partner as the focal point of your heart in discovering his internal world. Then learn to love each other for their qualities that are basically unchanging. Overlook defects and focus on attributes. And forget trying to change someone, it never works. Take him for who he is already.
Then, together, work on helping each other solve problems and reach goals. That’s being IN love. It is a quality of relating that is more important than any other because it is richer and more permanent. This leads to a more substantive relationship.
This work involves learned skills. Skills that develop the emotional muscle of loving enough to probe deeply into mind of your loved one to understand him, please him, learn his ups and downs, problem areas etc and then, like discussed above, work together to fulfill each other on a level deeper than physical love—to develop a love more enduring than passion alone.
It is the deep woven-together quality of two people who have worked hard to develop a many-sided relationship with the ultimate understanding that they are loved, cherished and honored by their partner.
Passionate love is exciting and wonderful, but “companionate” love is what makes a marriage successful.
Neil Clark Warren, Ph.D.
We’ll talk more about this on another post.
Share this article with family and friends because it just may help someone.
Until next time …
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