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The Passionate Monogamy Manifesto

Manifesto (n.): A written declaration of intent or principles

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the Passionate Monogamy Manifesto — a set of guiding principles, insights and ideas for designing a relationship lifestyle that captures the highest levels of love, trust and sexual happiness with one partner over a lifetime.

The purpose of the Passionate Monogamy Manifesto is to:

  1. Provide couples with a better map of monogamy — one that teaches them how to live and love in monogamous relationships (without sacrificing passion, newness and fun)
  2. Provide couples with a clear set of guiding principles, insights and rituals to help them create, sustain and enhance their relationship so that the love and passion lasts a lifetime

The benefit?

Once a person is exposed to the ideas, insights and guiding principles presented in the Passionate Monogamy Manifesto, they can begin to quietly and profoundly transform their relationships. Those who fail to heed the insights, choose to ignore the facts, or bury their heads in the dark sands of denial will soon discover themselves rudely awakened to the very reality they seek most to avoid. You can read the manifesto all the way through or use the jump menu to go directly to each section.

Jump Menu

Passionate Monogamy approach headline

“It is said that when the one man loves the one woman and the one woman loves the one man,
the very angels desert heaven and sit in that house and sing for joy.” — The Kama Sutra

A new approach to monogamy is quietly sweeping the towns, cities and suburbs of North America, and it’s radically different from the way we used to view monogamy. Rather than following the “one-size-fits-all” approach to relationships, couples today are now customizing, tailoring and personalizing their marriages and relationships so that it matches their own unique styles, personalities and desires.

We call this approach “Passionate Monogamy”.

The controlling idea of the “passionate monogamy approach” is that soul mates are not made in heaven, but rather, they’re created right here on earth. This means that relationship happiness doesn’t happen by luck or by chance — rather, it happens by design.

What makes this approach different?

It’s an active approach. Rather than passively accepting boredom or stagnation as a natural byproduct of long-term monogamy, “passionate monogamy” teaches couples how to endlessly renew passion and design a relationship lifestyle — one wherein fun is fundamental, humor is vital, sex matters, romance counts, and adventure adds meaning.

It’s a self-guided approach. Embracing “passionate monogamy” requires no special skill, no devices and no external authorities. Because in the world of passionate monogamy, no “one-size-fits-all” relationship exists because every marriage and every relationship is a unique expression of each couple. With the passionate monogamy approach, you enter a new world where you make the rules and you control the destiny of your relationship.

This approach advocates that happiness happens by design (not by default). “Passionate monogamy” goes way beyond traditions but doesn’t turn its back on them. Rather, it asks couples to customize those traditions, keeping only the ones that work, and discarding those that don’t. The result? A totally authentic relationship — one that leads to higher levels of satisfaction and happiness

Guiding Principles headline

A rule tells you what to do, while a principle tells you what works. Coming up next are guiding principles for creating and sustaining a lifetime of passionate monogamy:

1. Value transparency (above secrecy) — “Transparency” is the key to “intimacy”. Couples who practice transparency give each other keys to unlock the doors to their inner worlds, so they can dive deeply into breathtaking intimacy. 

2. Value teamwork (not sacrifice) — Sacrificing “me” and/or “you” to create “us” is the most dangerous type of self-imposed captivity there is. Instead of sacrificing, move toward teamwork. 

3. Banish inhibitions (don’t cherish them) — Inhibitions have no place in true love because they stifle pleasure and limit creativity and self-expression. Therefore, they should be banished from your relationship (and bedroom) like unwanted visitors. 

4. Banish boredom (don’t ignore or tolerate it) —  Boredom is to monogamy what kryptonite is to Superman — it’s a main weakness. Why? Because the biggest trade-off of monogamy is the lack of “newness”. Therefore, boredom should never be ignored or tolerated. Likewise, it shouldn’t be seen as a “failure”, but rather, as “feedback” — a signal that it’s time to “passion up” your relationship (by adding newness, novelty and adventure). 

5. Seek trust (not guarantees) — There are no guarantees in life, love or monogamy, so to look for them is a spectacular waste of time and energy. Instead of looking for proof or guarantees, seek to learn how to trust and be trustworthy.

6. Build on strengths (not stereotypes) — Remember, this isn’t your grandmother’s era. Today’s men and women have very different skills, talents and abilities than those of previous generations. So don’t let your relationship be dictated by the old stereotypes of male and female roles. Instead, design your relationship based on your individual strengths. Assign tasks, roles and responsibilities according to each partner’s capabilities and skills — not according to outdated cultural stereotypes.

7. Match values (rather than just try to “meet needs”) — If you spend your time trying to meet each other’s “needs” in a relationship, you’ll spend a lot of time falling short. That’s because needs are kind of like the dark matter of the universe: they tend to have no beginning or end. Instead of meeting needs, seek to match values. Design your lifestyle to complement each other’s priorities, principles and passions.

8. Be active (not passive) — Romance never renews automatically. Relationship happiness never happens by default. And sexual passion is like fire — if left unattended, it goes out. Therefore, never ever let yourself fall asleep at the wheel of your relationship. Don’t take love for granted, because love without attention = neglect. 

9. Look for progress (not perfection) — We practice monogamy; we don’t perfect it. Every marriage and long-term relationship is essentially always “under construction”. Therefore, seek progress (not perfection) from each other. Celebrate improvement, rather than criticize imperfections.

10. Be loyal to growth (not to comfort zones) — “Comfort zones” are like cocoons, which at first provide safety but are later outgrown. If we don’t come out of them, the “cocoon of our comfort zones” turns into prison. So if you don’t want your relationship to stagnate and die, your loyalty must be to growth — above comfort, convenience, safety, routines, or maintaining the “status quo”.

11. Value sexual happiness (not just sex) — What’s the difference between “sex” and “sexual happiness”? Answer: the quality of the connection between two people. Sex is easy — any fool can have it. Sexual happiness, however, requires conscious loving, attention, trust, freedom of expression, and open communication. Sadly, not all couples reach for this level of intimacy, and yet it’s totally worth it.

12. Value Forgiveness (not suppression) — “Forgiveness” is the most important relationship skill anyone can learn. Why? Because relationships are managed by people, and people make mistakes. So it’s not a matter of “will you need forgiveness?” It’s a matter of “how many times will you need forgiveness?” Therefore, it can be said that true love without forgiveness… is impossible.

13. Passion, adventure and romance need never decline — Romance is like the oxygen that keeps the fire of desire red-hot. Therefore, you should never ever stop dating. Make your romantic rituals a priority. View your couple time, vacations and date nights as “happiness investments”, and build your life to include as many shared adventures, newness and novelties as you can.

14.  “Playmates” make the best “life mates” — Sometimes, we get so caught up in being “husbands” and “wives” that we forget we’re also “friends” and “lovers”. Or we become so caught up in being “soul mates” that we forget how to relax and just be “playmates”. It’s important to remember that if happiness is the goal, then play is the way. And while passion is sincere, it’s not serious. And when it comes to happiness, having fun is fundamental… so the couple that plays together, stays together.

And perhaps the most important value:

15. Value freedom (not control) — Passionate monogamy is grounded in one primary value: FREEDOM. That freedom is a value is self-evident: it goes to the very heart of our humanity. Below are what we consider to be the most basic freedoms that ought to be included, rather than excluded from relationships. We call them “The 12 Freedoms of Passionate Monogamy”.

The 12 Freedoms of Passionate Monogamy

  1. The Freedom to Grow Personally
  2. The Freedom to Explore
  3. The Freedom to Make Mistakes and to Learn from Them
  4. The Freedom to Enjoy Your Work
  5. The Freedom to Be Yourself
  6. The Freedom to Agree or Disagree
  7. The Freedom to Experience Your Feelings
  8. The Freedom to Be Honest and to Live Authentically
  9. The Freedom to Be Playful
  10. The Freedom to Enjoy Solitude and Introspection
  11. The Freedom to Have Privacy
  12. The Freedom to Know God (Higher Power)

“Insights” are flashes of intuitive wisdom that allow you to look deeper beyond the surface of a thing, to find its essence. Passionate monogamy emerged as a result of insights and observations into the nature of living successfully with monogamy. The following essential insights can be used as tools for thought, to help guide you as you design your passionate monogamy: 

The 21 Essential Insights

  1. Without passion… monogamy is hard work.
  2. Relationship happiness is created by design, not by default.
  3. Relationship happiness is having the relationship you want, and wanting the relationship you have.
  4. Passionate monogamy means having all the love, trust and sexual happiness you want in one exclusive relationship.
  5. Relationship happiness is a journey… where growth is the purpose, enjoyment is the reason, and true love is the destination.
  6. True love is a decision, not an emotion.
  7. Love without forgiveness is impossible.
  8. If trust is the goal, then transparency is the way.
  9. A rock-solid relationship is built on strengths, not stereotypes.
  10. Passionate couples share values, rather than seek to meet needs.
  11. When it comes to dealing with extramarital temptation, silence isn’t golden — it’s permission.
  12. Boredom is to monogamy what kryptonite is to Superman — it’s a main weakness.
  13. Romance is the oxygen of monogamy, so never ever stop dating.
  14. Sex matters, but sexual happiness matters more.
  15. Inhibitions are to be given up, never cherished.
  16. It’s never sex that gets boring — it’s always the foreplay.
  17. Love wins in all ways and for always.
  18. Trust is the ultimate aphrodisiac.
  19. Forgiveness is the #1 relationship skill you can learn.
  20. Teamwork makes the dream work.
  21. Attention, Affection and Appreciation are the languages of romance.
Four Ingredients headline

In passionate monogamy, there are four key ingredients needed to design a lifetime of relationship happiness: love, trust, open communications and sexual happiness. Why these four? Because when you have all the love, trust, open communications and sexual happiness you want in one relationship, you have paradise on earth.

four ingredients of passionate monogamy

Love

“Love is the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.”
— M. Scott Peck

It’s important to note that what we’re referring to here isn’t just romantic love, but one that’s true and abiding. This type of love is more than just a feeling — it’s a choice. It’s a decision firmly rooted in one’s way of being. We call this quality of love “true love”, and we believe it’s a skill you have to learn, nurture and develop.

We affirm that:

  • True love is more than just a feeling — it’s a decision.
  • True love is a skill you have to learn, nurture and develop.
  • True love is firmly planted in reality, not in fantasy.
  • True love isn’t about perfection — it’s about acceptance.
  • True love is complete — it doesn’t lack nor have unmet needs.
  • True love doesn’t seek to punish, but rather, to correct.
  • True love doesn’t try to change others, but rather, seeks to understand others.
  • True love doesn’t hide or hold back, but rather, it expands and gives all.
  • True love doesn’t make demands — it shares desires.
  • True love doesn’t compete, because it doesn’t seek power over others.
  • True love doesn’t control you — it frees you.

And perhaps the most important quality of true love is… its willingness to forgive. Therefore, above all, we affirm that True Love without forgiveness is impossible.

Because it’s the willingness to forgive, rather than condemn… the willingness to let go, rather than keep score… and the preference to be happy, rather than be right… that elevates romantic (limited) love to true (unconditional) love.

Trust

“The best proof of love is trust.” — Joyce Brothers

Relationship Happiness without trust is impossible. Why? Because trust is the currency by which the entire relationship depends. How is trust experienced? Trust is experienced when expectations match reality. It’s built on actions, not words… on experience, not intentions. Trust is both a noun and a verb. It’s what you do, as well as who you are.

We affirm that:

  • Trust is a gift, given from the worthy to the worthy. It can’t be bought, bullied, bargained, or traded.
  • Trust is found in people, not in relationships. Therefore, you bring trust (or mistrust) into a relationship with you.
  • Trust is fragile yet resilient — it can be destroyed, as it can be rebuilt.
  • Trust is a living thing, and like an orchid or a rose bush, once seeded, it doesn’t just grow on its own — it must be nurtured, tended and cared for.
  • Trust is the ultimate aphrodisiac. Where trust is present, admiration and desire are strong.  Where trust is absent, desire is weak.
  • Trust without responsibility is impossible. The foundation of trust is responsibility; those who default on their responsibility also default on trust.
  • Intimacy without trust is impossible. If intimacy is the goal, then trust is the way. For couples to embrace true intimacy, they must make it safe for each other to be vulnerable.

Open Communications

Love that communicates is love that never fails.

Open communication is rooted in the willingness to listen and learn. Poor communication is rooted in the belief that one already knows all there is to know about the other person or about the current situation. This is why, for example, the judgmental mind, which is closed to learning, is poor at communicating. And the “I’m right” mind, which is closed to listening, is also closed to communicating.

Bottom line?

Without open communications, a relationship stagnates. Therefore, it’s not so much that we have relationship failures as much as we fail to openly communicate (to listen and learn) in our relationships.

Therefore, we affirm that:

  • Embracing open communications is absolutely essential to relationship success.
  • There are two ways to communicate: hostile or compassionate. One works, the other creates power struggles.
  • Your words are the most powerful tools you use — it’s important to use them skillfully.
  • To connect with your partner, you must be willing to communicate in their language: love.
  • Open communication, love and acceptance are attached together like fingers on a hand.
  • Dishonesty, passiveness and resentments are all forms of poor communications.

Perhaps most importantly, we affirm that…

The most urgent need in a love relationship is the need to understand and be understood, and the best way for partners to do that is to be willing to listen and learn.

Sexual Happiness

“If anyone asks you how the perfect satisfaction of all our sexual wanting will look, lift your face and say, Like this.” — Rumi

What is sexual happiness?

“Sexual happiness” emerges from being in a relationship where you’re free to explore the widest range of sensual experiences and reach the deepest levels of sexual intimacy available to you.

Something to notice: 

Having sex and enjoying sexual happiness is not the same thing. Here’s why: sex itself isn’t that unique. Birds do it. Bees do it. However, only human beings have the capacity to transcend the mechanics and ascend to higher levels of intimacy. Therefore, sexual happiness is the result of a deep connection (rather than a routine). It’s created consciously (rather than unconsciously). It’s built on love, trust, acceptance and the willingness to be vulnerable.

We affirm that:

  • While sex matters, learning how to create sexual happiness matters even more.
  • Sexual happiness without trust, open communication and acceptance is impossible.
  • Sexual desire is like fire — even if it grows cold, it can always be rekindled.
  • While there’s nothing new to learn in sex, there’s always more sexual dimensions to explore.
  • For sexual happiness to flourish, inhibitions must be banished (not cherished).
  • Non-sexual affection (outside of the bedroom) is what leads to sexual affection.
  • We affirm that variety and newness is found in foreplay (not in new partners).

Perhaps most importantly…

The road to better sex is through better foreplay. Therefore, the process of creating sexual happiness must include the willingness to expand and extend one’s foreplay techniques, skills and mastery.

Where love and loyalty are rewarded and never taken for granted.

Let us never forget that for human beings, monogamy is a choice. As such, it can’t be forced — it can only be inspired. And here’s another thing: monogamy isn’t a one-time choice you make at the altar, it’s a choice you make every day for the rest of your life. The question then is, what can we do to inspire this type of loyalty and commitment over the long term? The answer: we must design relationship rituals that create the conditions by which love and loyalty are rewarded (rather than ignored).

Five Lifestyle Rituals

Rituals of Pleasure:  Food, sex, fantasy

Rituals of pleasure are those things you do together because they’re fun or pleasurable. Rituals of pleasure have no other purpose but enjoyment.

Recommended ritual of pleasure: Weekly date nights (in or out)

Rituals of Relaxation: Bath, spa, massage

Rituals of relaxation are those things you do to destress and calm down. A relaxation ritual could range from a calming cup of chamomile tea, all the way to a full body massage.

Recommended relaxation ritual: Couples massage at least once per month (If you can, it’s best to schedule and pay for the entire year in advance.)

Rituals of Shared Common Experiences: Hobbies, concerts, workshops

Shared common experiences are live events and activities that you do and share together. Shared common experiences can be cooking together to attending a concert or taking a dance class together. The best shared common experiences are those that are new to both of you.

Recommended shared common experience: Take a partnered dance class together (tango, ballroom, salsa)

Romantic Rituals: Date nights, travel getaways, surprise gifts

Romantic rituals are often hard to define. I can say this: they are those experiences that make a woman feel valued, admired or appreciated.

Recommended romantic ritual: Take a honeymoon every year. Be sure to go to a hotel, bed and breakfast or resort that caters to honeymooners (all inclusive or cruises preferred). Note: It must be a minimum of 4 nights (no kids allowed) to be considered a honeymoon.

Spiritual Rituals: Church, meditation, yoga

Spiritual rituals are those things that nourish your soul. They should be positive, heart-opening and inspire you to more love and gratitude.

Recommended Spiritual Ritual: Volunteering together. Pick a charity that’s close to both of your hearts, and volunteer there together for at least once a month.

Couples Pledge headline

Let us remember that love is the reason for this relationship.

Let us remember that “true love” is a decision (not an emotion), so we choose to think, act and decide for love — in all ways and for always.

Let us remember to allow the past to be over every night, so we can begin anew everyday.

Let us remember that “together” is how we arrive at our true love destination.

Let us remember: our relationship happiness is created by design, and not by chance or default.

Let us remember that our mistakes are a call for forgiveness, not punishment.

Let us remember to build on our strengths, not on stereotypes.

Let us remember to never ever stop dating.

Let us remember that sex matters, but creating sexual happiness matters more.

Let us remember that love is the answer to every conflict, argument and disagreement.

Let us remember that our bond is strengthened by our shared common experiences, and deepened during our times of trouble, stress and crisis.

Let us remember to lavish love, to shower praise, and to solve problems with logic.

Let us remember that our relationship is a journey… where growth is the purpose, enjoyment is the reason, and true love is the destination.

I, __________________, agree to remember our commitment to passionate monogamy. Date:______

I, __________________, agree to remember our commitment to passionate monogamy. Date: ______

Movement headline

Because you have read the manifesto all the way through, and because you have been espoused to its ideas, insights and rituals, you’re now a part of the growing passionate monogamy community — where couples are learning how to “customize” rather than to “conform”, and how to create a romantic lifestyle they can enjoy, rather than simply endure. I congratulate you on doing this.

However, reading about passionate monogamy is just the first step — it’s not the only step. Because enjoying passionate monogamy is like enjoying the scent of rose, it can’t be described, it can only be experienced. So, the next step is by far the most important one: you must take the things you learned in the Manifesto, and integrate them into your life. Don’t delay. Don’t hesitate. And don’t put this off!

Because here’s part of what I know…

Monogamy is both a choice and a commitment. But the old approaches to monogamy ignore this fact, so it’s no wonder that so many couples end up with relationships wherein loyalty is just taken for granted. However, know this: Love without attention is neglect. And so if you want to enjoy a lifetime of love and loyalty, then you must design your relationship so that things like commitment and loyalty are rewarded (rather than taken for granted).

My advice?

Don’t spend another year following the outdated relationship map. Instead, shift your approach. Embrace more love, trust, open communications and sexual happiness. Following the principles, insights and rituals provided here in the Passionate Monogamy Manifesto will help ensure you do just that.

Until we speak again…

Remember… Love Wins!

Suzie Johnson