February 13, 2013

Caring and Consideration: The Keys to Lasting Passion

Caring and Consideration: The Keys to Lasting Passion

It’s almost Valentine’s Day and our thoughts turn to love and romance. But for many couples, the pizazz has gone out of their once hot relationship.  For some, romantic excitement has given way to the predictable and lack luster routines of everyday life. Likewise, many couples become discouraged because they believe that, once the feeling is gone, it’s gone for good.  Not true !  Fortunately, there is help and today we’re going to talk about how to put the romantic spark back in you relationship.   

Common Romantic Myths                                                                                                            

One of the reasons people worry about waning passions in their relationship is because they don’t understand what romance is. Three myths confuse and discourage us:

1) Real romance is the same as fireworks of initial attraction.                                                                                   

2) Passion naturally declines over time and as we age and cannot be reversed.                                                                                                        

3) The only way to perk up a sagging love life is with flowers, candle lit dinners or expensive jewelry.

The Truth about Romance 

- PEA wears off but, with effort, love grows.  It is important to understand that the excitement and passion of initial attraction is not a sign of love but in fact is a chemically induced state.  The rush we feel around the object of our attraction is the consequence of the powerful neuro-chemical Phenylethylamine (PEA). The feelings connected with this chemical are intense but wear off over time as our brain is unable to produce the ever increasing amounts of the drug which are needed to sustain the euphoric effects. 

The drop off of excitement is sometimes misunderstood as the falling out of love.  The facts are that as a relationship grows in love and trust, the capacity for excitement grows too.   The real thrill in a loving relationship takes time to develop and comes about as partners realize that the other is there for them and feel safe with one another.  The deepest erotic and passionate feelings come from feeling free and safe enough to let go of all inhibition or worry.

- There is no scientific evidence that romance or passion declines significantly due to aging or with the mere passage of time.  As long as the partners and the marriage is in good health passion in a relationship is a lifelong entitlement.  If passion does decline it is more often due to relational problems like anger and resentment, fatigue, stress or emotional problems like depression or anxiety.                 

- The real keys to romance are safety and consideration. Put another way a major obstacle to romance in a relationship is selfishness.  Selfish “ain’t sexy”. While flowers and jewelry are fine, the real things needed to restore and maintain romance and passion in marriage are expressions of kindness and consideration.  As my wife says, the sexiest thing she has ever seen is me vacuuming.  Being reliable, keeping our promises and showing that you care about your partner’s needs create an atmosphere of trust and safety in which your partner is freer and undistracted to experience the joy of sex.         

Tips for Re-kindling Romance  

1. Kissing and tender affection. (that is not simply a prelude to sex) and saying things like “I love you”.                                                                                                                                             

2. Pay attention, Listen to your partner and Notice what s/he likes and what make him/her happy.  

3. Unexpected gestures of kindness and consideration that make life more pleasant and  easier for your partner. (e.g. sending flowers for no reason or vacuuming or doing the dishes.)                                                                                                                                                  

4. Make romance a high priority in your marriage. Plan and protect a structured schedule a structure for romance.  Romance needs to be seen as a regular part of your overall life not just something that happens once in a while or when you have time. Make reservations in advance. (e.g. setting and protecting a date night, getting the hard to get tickets for the show she wants to see or restaurant she wants to dine at.)                                                                                                                                                  

Many folks either despair that the romance has gone out of their marriage or there is nothing that can be done to bring it back but that is simply not true. Following these simple tips can help you not only to increase the level of romance in your marriage but also deepen your appreciation of how precious having a loving relationship is.  For Valentine’s Day this year, remember, if you want to increase the passion in your marriage, consideration not candy will do the trick.  

Rev. Michael Heath, LMHC prepared these remarks for Bridge Street 2 13 2013   www.revmichaelheath.com/

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