Many people believe that if you want to kill the passion in your romantic relationship, you should just get married. It may not happen right away, people believe, but it is inevitable. While it is true that some of the initial passion and excitement that some romantic partners feel for each other may dwindle over time, it is also true that it is possible to get it back.
The good news is that passion in a romantic relationship, much like in life in general, is something that can be created if the two people in the relationship are willing to engage in personal development, both separately and together.
The following are some tips to make your marriage passionate:
1. Forget the “fusion fantasy” to create a passionate marriage.
“The fusion fantasy, or what is known as the idea that ‘two shall become one’ is lauded as the zenith of emotional bonding — but it is the cause of lack of intimacy and passion,” says Schnarch. “We go into marriage looking for someone to complete us, and that creates all the problems,” he adds.
Instead, you have to be willing to grow as an independent, mature person — what Schnarch terms a “differentiated person” — to have a passionate marriage … or even to have a healthy and happy relationship as a couple. “You are more capable of an intensely intimate sexual relationship as you mature and become more differentiated,” Schnarch says.
2. Pursue your separate interests to sustain a passionate marriage.
Instead of jumping into activities together to create or revitalize a passionate marriage, it may be best to start with the personal passions that made you interesting and attractive to your partner in the first place. Take a class, play an instrument, go out with your buddies to a museum — and bring back to the marriage a fresh sense of excitement and passion.
“It is sometimes too much closeness that stifles desire, not distance between you,” says Perel, “Fire needs air. Desire is about wanting — and love is about having. Desire needs a synapse to cross … Thus separateness is a precondition for connection: this is the essential paradox of intimacy and sex.”
3. Novelty is the key to a passionate marriage.
“Desire is numbed by repetition; eroticism thrives on the mysterious, the novel, and the unexpected,” says Perel. Next time you go to a dinner party with your partner, try to look across the table at your partner as if he or she were a stranger — you may not know him or her as well as you think you do. “We try to turn our partner into someone who won’t surprise us,” Perel says, explaining that it makes us feel safe and secure to know we won’t be caught by surprise. But the problem is, that leads to boredom, the enemy of the passionate marriage. Instead, break out of your comfort zone and try something new, or a little daring — then see what your partner does in response.
4. Flirt with your partner to feed a passionate marriage.
Never forget that foreplay begins outside the bedroom. “Teasing and flirting to create anticipation is seductive,” says Perel. “Flirting comes from the French fleuret — the tip of a sword — with which you tease about what could be. That is a massive turn on,” says Perel.
You cannot simply turn to your partner and say, “are you in the mood” and expect that to be enough for s*e*x and passion. Good s*e*x begins long before you get into the bedroom, starting with how you treat each other with your clothes on. The way you look at each other as you pass in the hallway, the way you touch each other as you pass the pepper, how often you laugh at the other’s jokes, the small compliments, even saying ‘I’m sorry,’ as you hold hands — all can build excitement and erotic tension.
5. Make a date for s*e*x — and build the passion until then.
Every marital therapist on earth (and probably on Mars and Venus, too) advises couples to “Make a date for s*e*x,” and we all just roll our eyes at the banality of the idea. But it really is central to a passionate marriage. So hey, think of it as building anticipation — extended day-long foreplay. Take pleasure in planning the details; imagine what you’ll do, what underwear you’ll wear (or not). Light candles, wrap a little present, put on your favorite music from your s*e*xy youth, rub each other’s backs. And agree, in advance, to take your time.