Sure, there were some challenges, but you were so happy to explore whether you wanted to let this fascinating person into your bed, your heart and your bank account.
You planned dates, dressed to impress and opened up your vulnerabilities. You made this person your top priority and were made to feel like the most important person on the planet. And the sex? It was hot, it was fun and it was frequent. Yes, in fact, you were really good at falling in love. Because novelty and biochemistry were on your side.
How’s it working for you these days?
If you’re like most long-term couples, the thrill has worn off. Well, it’s not your fault, biology isn’t doing you any favours. When you were chasing your partner, there was a cocktail of lust hormones and pleasurable neurochemistry coursing through your body. And it drove you crazy: the brain of someone in love mimics obsessive-compulsive disorder. So you literally couldn’t stop thinking about your beloved.
But in a funny plot twist, once you achieved your goal, essentially, you became committed, your system shifted from pursuit to satisfaction. The novelty wore off, the prize was won, and hugs and complacency replaced sizzle and surprise. Fast forward a few years and you may find yourself in what I call Marriage Incorporated. Together, you do a great job of managing your family: the mortgage is paid, the kids make it to dance class on time and you even squeeze in a week’s holiday here and there. But it’s nothing like when you fell in love, is it? You may find that you’re more friends than lovers, roommates who run a business, instead of the passionate duo you were when you started.
So, I want you to ask yourself: is it possible to rekindle the passion and excitement? The answer is yes.
Extraordinary, deeply connected, playfully adventurous, tremendously loving and tremendously sexy couples are just like you. Except they make their love intentional.
Remember the excitement, the romance and the lust?
How many of us have read at least five books on relationships and sex this year? Who will join me in committing to putting the same energy into our love relationship as we do into our businesses?
In business, in fitness and even in your hobby, you don’t just sit back and wait for things to get better. So why do that in love? Research indicates that a solid romantic relationship is the greatest predictor of happiness, good health and a long life. So stop taking your relationship and your partner for granted. Take action. Instead of waiting for passion, become passionate.
Couples who want an extraordinary relationship need to master what I call the three keys to passion. What are they?
- Intimacy: emotional closeness, communication, conflict management: the feeling that no one knows you better or has your back more strongly than your partner.
- Emotion: excitement, attraction, adventure: butterflies in the stomach, glad to see you at the end of the day, feeling “in love”.
- Sensuality: eroticism, caressing, sex: the whole spectrum, from kissing goodnight to holding hands, from tender lovemaking to lustful passion.
- Now, I want you to rate your relationship. Great couples are strong in all three keys to passion; in other words, they have a balanced passion triangle. Currently, where are you strong and where are you weak? Maybe you have a lot of intimacy, closeness and communication, but excitement is almost non-existent and your sensual life is… well, not what it used to be. Or maybe you have a lot of lust and adventure, but very little depth or real relationship skills: high sensuality and excitement, low intimacy. Sexy but superficial is unlikely to sustain you in the long run; without the relational glue of intimacy, you may burn out and start looking for someone new to light your fire.
- But take heart. Passion is a teachable skill. It requires intention, effort and action, but starting today, you can choose to make love a verb. You can choose to improve the weak areas of your passion triangle, one step at a time. Here’s a tool I like to use to get you started.
Exercise: Set daily relationship intentions.
Most mornings, my beloved and I curl up on the couch (him with his freshly ground coffee, me with my first tea) and set a relationship intention for the day. For example, I might say: “Today my intention is to be careful with my tone of voice when I feel impatient. I aspire to speak in a warm and calm tone rather than a quick and unpleasant one”. I might say: “Today my intention is to create a romantic moment for us tonight”. Then we have our drinks, smile and finally close the deal with a hug.
So here’s your challenge: most mornings, commit to spending five minutes with your partner.