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Come hear the beautiful truth…
Without passion, marriage is hard work. Passion is what makes a marriage spectacular. Passion evokes playfulness, sincerity, enthusiasm, creativity, spontaneity, and enjoyment. I could try to describe it to you all day long, but when it comes to passion, words are just placeholders. Like honey, passion can’t be explained — you must taste it yourself. You can’t just think about it. You have to wake it up, live it, and connect with it to truly know what it is.
On the flip side: Although no one can say exactly what passion is, when passion is absent in a relationship, you know it. You can sense the chill. You intuitively feel the void, and although you might not be able to put a finger on what was lost, you know something is missing. And depending on the degree to which passion is present or absent, couples can experience one of two types of marriages: a passionate marriage or a passionless marriage.
What is a passionate marriage? A good definition would be “a marriage within which both partners are giving and receiving all the love, sex, and romantic enjoyment they are capable of.”
What is a passionless marriage? A good definition would be “a marriage within which one or both partners feel they are lacking the right kind or amount of love, sex, and romantic enjoyment they desire.”
SIDE NOTE: It’s not important whether the “lack” is real or not. It simply has to be perceived as real by one or both partners.
It’s important to note: passion in a marriage doesn’t disappear suddenly. Like the air going out of a tire, it leaks away slowly.
What causes passion to decline over time?
I believe the fading of passion in so many marriages can be attributed directly to acceptance of what I call “decline of passion” myths. I think it’s high time we debunk these myths, don’t you agree?
That’s what’s coming up next…
MYTH 1: THE DECLINE OF PASSION IS NATURAL
MYTH 2: PASSION AND LOVE CAN BE TREATED THE SAME WAY
MYTH 3: PASSION IS FOUND IN SEX
MYTH 4: PASSION IS PHYSICAL
The good news?
The decline of passion doesn’t have to be your story. You’re here for a reason, and that reason has something to do with learning how to make sure your marriage stays sweet, passionate, and enjoyable for years to come. To help you achieve that goal (which is mine as well), I want to share some of the insights I’ve gained from the couples who are living that dream on a daily basis.
The Power of Insight
I believe there are two ways to learn in life: one way is from your own mistakes, and the other way is from the mistakes of others. The first is called “learning through experience,” and the second is called “learning through insight.” The rest of this article is designed to provide an opportunity for you to learn through insight because coming up next are 15 key insights about what it takes to create and sustain a marriage that remains loving and passionate for life.
Turn the page to reveal my 15 best insights for a Passionate Marriage…
A big myth is that a passionate marriage happens by default, chance, or good luck. But the opposite is true. Passionate marriages are designed to be passionate. They’re customized, rather than cookie-cuttered. They’re progressive, rather than traditional. Couples that are in a passionate marriage put in the effort, time, and attention required to “design” their marriages so that they stay passionate for years to come.
In passionate marriages, the rules are written by the couples themselves. In traditional marriages, it’s OK to write your own wedding vows but not to write your own rules. In passionate marriages, the rules of the relationship are decided, agreed upon, and written by the couples themselves. They make their decisions based on what works for them and not on what works for others. They’re always in the process of refining those rules as their relationship evolves. The result is a living, breathing relationship that grows with them, rather than stagnates.
Traditional couples seek ways to diminish, edit, and restrict each other’s freedom of expression, creativity, and growth. Most of the time, they don’t even realize they create elaborate brick-and-mortar prisons they call “homes” and live a warden/prisoner lifestyle that runs on guilt, punishment, and control. Alas, this can never work, because the human spirit is free. While you may believe you’re being controlled or that you’re controlling someone else, you can’t make it true. Underneath the compliance is defiance, and it’s only a matter of time until the warden or the prisoner finds a way to break free.
In a passionate marriage, the most cherished value is freedom — freedom of individual expression, creativity, and growth. This means that passionate marriages allow room for growth and self-discovery. Please note: freedom is responsibility. Therefore, in passionate marriages, couples take responsibility for their own feelings and for contributing to the growth of the relationship.
Traditionally, responsibilities in a marriage were assigned based on cultural stereotypes. For example, what was considered woman’s work (cooking, child rearing) could only be done by females, and what was considered man’s work (paying the bills, taking out the garbage) could only be done by males. However, in passionate marriages, tasks and responsibilities are assigned based on strengths, not stereotypes. This means that the partner with the best combination of skills needed to complete a task is given responsibility for that task. Therefore, in passionate marriages, it’s not uncommon to find men who cook, men who stay at home with the kids, women who do yard work, and women who are the higher earners. Please note: in passionate marriages, tasks also can be assigned in ways that seem very traditional on the surface not because the couple is following tradition, but because tradition naturally aligns with their individual strengths.
Someone once said that a happy marriage is one part luck and nine parts forgiveness. I agree with the second part. Passionate couples have a way of allowing things to roll off their backs. They’re slow to take offense, and are willing to give each other room to make mistakes. They’re quick to forgive and don’t hang on to resentments because they know that resentments are like cancer cells… even one is one too many.
In traditional marriages, children are the purpose of the union. Back in the old days, when children were a means to an end — necessary to secure lineages and to help work the farm — this approach may have made sense. But in today’s modern world, things have changed. In passionate marriages, children are seen as a part of the union, not its purpose. They’re not viewed as a means to an end. They’re not viewed as belonging to one partner or another, but rather, as belonging to the family. Therefore, the family union is not run as a dictatorship, but rather, as a democracy where children are treated as valuable citizens. Because of this more humanitarian approach, children of passionate marriages grow up to be passionate, compassionate, and responsible adults themselves.
Let’s keep going…
Criticism, guilt, condemnation, and codependency all undermine a person’s value. Couples who use these strategies inadvertently destroy, discredit, and diminish each other’s value. Passionate couples seek to do the very opposite. They seek to build each other’s value. To help them do that, they use tools like compassion, acceptance, validation, and support.
The main reason that couples fight, bicker, and argue is to try to change each other so that they can feel more comfortable. They reject their differences because those differences make them uncomfortable. Of course, this is a no-win game because we can’t change people any more than we can change the weather. Passionate couples, on the other hand, seek to embrace each other’s differences rather than reject them. They don’t try to change each other but seek to understand and accept each other. This is a radical shift in human relations, but in the long run, it’s the only way that makes sense.
One of the benefits of passionate marriage is the high degree of intimacy (IN-TO-ME-SEE) that couples experience. Why is intimacy important? Because it allows us the opportunity to take our masks off, let our hair down, and be the real us… but that’s only the first half of it. The real payoff of true intimacy is the exquisite realization that you are loved — JUST AS YOU ARE. For this to occur, couples must make it safe for each other to be authentic. Passionate couples keep the lines of communication open via acceptance, non-judgment, and taking responsibility for their own feelings.
Here’s the thing to note: Boredom is to monogamy what kryptonite is to Superman — a fatal weakness. If boredom is a cancer on a marriage, then “newness” is the antiviral. Therefore, passionate couples make it a priority to design, plan, and participate in as many new shared experiences as they can. These types of experiences can range all the way from dance classes and date nights, live concerts, and sex toys, to a romantic second or third honeymoon. The point isn’t what the new shared experiences are; the point is to make sure there are as many of them as possible.
In passionate marriages, the desire for sexual happiness is treated with respect. Couples honor each other’s desire for sexual expression. This includes the freedom for each individual to explore, experiment, and communicate in a safe environment. In fact, one of the biggest benefits of a passionate marriage IS that it gives partners an opportunity to journey deeper into sexuality with a partner they trust.
Turn the page and let’s keep going…
In the past, many couples have made the mistake of believing that nothing is as important as the mortgage. This is a dangerous case of shortsightedness. While desire for food and shelter is strong, the desire for romance and adventure is also strong. This is why in a passionate marriage, the “romance budget” is treated with the same respect as the budget for food, shelter, and clothing.
Why is this?
Because romance is like Vitamin B for a marriage — it provides the necessary energy to keep it alive. This is why a passionate marriage is one that includes date nights, second honeymoons, romantic rituals, surprises, gifts, vacations, and many other creative, sensual, and sentimental experiences.
Passion is a fire that requires constant tending, and romance is the oxygen that sustains it over the long term. Passionate couples never stop dating as a way to tend the fire. They don’t let themselves get pigeonholed into static roles as husband or wife. They keep their edge by thinking of themselves as always dating. This keeps them fresh and interesting to each other. In fact, passionate couples will never take a trip down the aisle if it’s not with someone they feel they could date forever.
Lovers bring a level of fun, charisma, and playfulness to the bedroom. Husbands and wives do not. Whereas being a husband or a wife is a role, being a lover is an experience to be lived and enjoyed. Because passionate couples treat each other as lovers, they’re able to generate lots of heat, intensity, and passion in and out of the bedroom.
The average couple does the opposite.
They mentally box themselves into roles as husbands and wives, striving to meet the requirements of the roles and meet the needs they are expected to meet. Playing the roles of husband and wife so seriously, the average couple soon burns out and falters under the burden of those roles. On the other hand, the passionate couple avoids the burden by enjoying the benefits of being lovers. The result is that they enjoy more sexual happiness, more intimacy, more fun, and more exhilarating moments of pleasure.
Every person has preferences, likes, and dislikes. These are never to be judged as good or bad and right or wrong, but rather, they’re to be accepted as a part of a person’s reality. Passionate lovers are committed to freedom, not to control. They make a point to decide together what is out of bounds. They make an effort to respect each other’s preferences even if their own are different. They make an effort to open their minds, rather than close them to each other’s likes and dislikes. This fosters an environment of trust and acceptance where both partners feel known and respected despite their differences.
It’s important for couples to realize that in the bedroom as in life, variety adds spice. However, how you get that variety matters. For those who seek variety in partners, the road will be filled with emptiness.
For those who seek variety in foreplay, the road will be filled with breathtaking intimacy.
Therefore, passionate couples don’t focus on sex as much as they focus their time and energy on learning more creative foreplay. But hold onto your hat for a minute. I’m not just talking about the type of foreplay that is limited to kissing and touching in the bedroom. This is only one kind of foreplay (and it’s never enough). For passionate couples, the goal is to master a wide variety of foreplay skills, tools, rituals, and games. This means they’re constantly looking for ways to level up their foreplay game, which of course leads to an exciting nightlife.
So far, you have learned…
So far, we've covered some key insights into what it takes to have a passionate marriage.
Here’s a quick recap:
- The belief that passion fades naturally over time is a myth. Fact is, passion is a renewable resource.
- If you want to ignite passion, playfulness is the way.
- Passionate marriages are created on purpose and not by chance.
- Passionate couples never, ever stop dating.
- Passionate couples make it safe to tell each other the truth.
- In a marriage, sex matters, but sexual happiness matters more.
So, maybe by now…
.You’ve noticed that many of the conventional approaches to marriage are actually counter-productive, and a more progressive approach to marriage is needed. And maybe that recognition brings up a certain amount of unease, because the idea of breaking away from tradition is scary for everyone at first. So, let me set your mind at ease by pointing out that in order to embrace the secrets needed to create and sustain a passionate marriage, you aren’t being asked to throw out all the traditional rules. Because instead of turning its back on tradition, a passionate marriage is one that embraces tradition and then moves beyond it.
We call this transcendence…
Wherein the lower is incorporated into the higher. Think about it like this: when kindergartners move on to the first grade, they don’t discard the lessons they learned in kindergarten, right? They build on those lessons. This is what transcendence is all about. It’s about learning and going for more. It’s about having a marriage that’s always under construction to ensure the relationship never plateaus. It’s a process that requires consistent refinement to ensure it doesn’t stagnate. And because of these attributes, the passionate couple… transcends the average.
“Happily-ever-after” takes effort. There’s no perfect love and no perfect marriage, because there are no perfect people. However, if we tend to our lives and our marriages like good gardeners, giving them the nutrients they need, the value they deserve, and the attention they crave, the result is nothing short of miraculous.
Keep in mind, the real miracle isn’t the effort we put into a passionate marriage; the real miracle is the love that inspires us to make the effort.
Not everyone is willing to make that effort, and that’s perfectly OK. Embracing a passionate marriage isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. Some people will be content to follow the path of least discomfort. For those people, this article and all its insights, ideas, and secrets will simply become “food for thought” rather than tools for action. Why is that? I believe the reason comes down to this: At the core, many are afraid of losing control, and therefore we’ve come to cherish control above freedom, routines above romance, and comfort zones above growth. And it’s fear of “letting go” that keeps those couples stuck in the mediocrity.
But that doesn’t have to be your story.
Consider this your invitation to turn your back on “the average marriage” and embrace the power of a passionate marriage. Yes, it will require boldness and fearlessness. But the result is joy — pure, unrestricted joy — because passion brings you fully into the present moment. It puts you in direct contact with the newness of life where every minute is fresh. Every day is new. Every task is novel, and you’ll be able to experience for yourself the same truth Dan Million described in his book, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior: that there are no ordinary moments.
Now, the ball is in your court.
Are you willing to learn to reignite that flame within you and your marriage? Remember, we never create passion; we simply remove obstacles to passion. So, you can do it as quickly or as slowly as you want.
Are you willing… to reach for more?
If you are… then I offer you the same invitation the poet Rumi offered all the lovers in the world centuries ago. It goes like this: “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”
Until we speak again…
Remember… Love Wins!