Passion seems too good to be true. And it is…well, not really; it just can’t stand alone very long.
In discussing passion’s role as one of the three parts of perfect love — the other two parts being intimacy and commitment — I promised to tell you how to feed passion with intimacy. It’s an epic task, but with equally epic rewards.
We can’t hold on to passion without intimacy, because by itself passion starts to feel empty. It doesn’t stand up in the face of life’s challenges. When illness strikes or a job loss threatens the roof over our heads, passion doesn’t seem nearly as important as it did when we were craving physical gratification.
The problem is when we add intimacy to give passion a foundation, passion eventually seems to fizzle out. Truth is — it’s tough to hold on to passion, with or without intimacy!
Passion is fueled by mystery. And intimacy means getting to know all about each other, understanding fears and dreams, seeing and hearing and smelling and tasting what makes us human. Daily life can ride roughshod over intrigue…and, yes, passion.
Of course, we can just forego passion. But then we no longer have perfect love…and what we do have can be threatened by the lure of passion. There’s always somebody around the corner…the guy with the big smile and the sporty convertible, or the sexy upstart down the hall who is checking out her options.
Besides, you don’t really want to sacrifice passion.
Now that we’ve established a need, how do we fuel passion with intimacy?
Intimacy is psychological knowledge of each other and a connection based on that knowledge. If you act as though you already know everything there is to know about your partner, you’ll get in a rut. Instead, recognize there’s more to know (and more to share). Imagine you are peeling back another layer, and then another and another.
The mystery doesn’t really end. We just act as though it does. As long as we’re realizing more of our potential, there will always be another layer of us to know.
When you and your sweetheart continue to ask questions (like you did at the onset of your relationship) to express interest, you learn more; and some of it will surprise you. But this doesn’t work if you ask as though you already have the answers or don’t really have time for them. Ouch!
Getting to know each other takes effort and genuine interest — especially when the phone’s ringing and the dirty dishes are calling.
It also extends to all areas of who you are. Yes, you can ask your partner how his day was. You can ask her how lunch with her client went. You can also ask if blue is still his favorite color or if she’d like yellow flowers for a change.
I bet there are questions you’ve never asked, though: What is it that men like most about men’s magazines? Do women really want men to read poetry? What makes me more or less attractive than when we met? Would you rather make love with the light on?
OK, I don’t really know what you haven’t asked…and I’m writing this column for publication in newspapers. What are you most afraid to ask? What are you most afraid to ask for? What are you most afraid to say? What are you most afraid to do?
When we venture out of our comfort zone, we learn something. We grow. And that means sharing the mystery of life with a partner.
It also means sharing more passion…and intimacy!