Sandra A. Doron LCSW
Our relationship is a good one. We are both kind and giving to each other, and we have a reasonably compatible marriage, except in one important area: there is little passion left. We are both aware of the problem, and would welcome a response from you. A COUPLE IN SEARCH OF PASSION
Dear Couple in Search of Passion:
Your letter is unique in more ways than one. It appears right before Valentine’s Day, so it is timely and very relevant. I have touched upon your issue in an earlier letter, but welcome the opportunity to elaborate a bit in preparation for the day that many Americans are waiting for. It is also unique because you are writing as a couple, and this indicates to me that you are both motivated to work on enhancing your marriage. All the honor to you!
Whatever our age, whether married or single, men and women yearn for passion, intimacy and love in their relationship. Valentine’s Day conjures up thoughts and images of love, affection, red lingerie, red hot sex, flowers, chocolates, romance. Whatever our age, passionate yearnings are present. Women most often need to feel that they are loved before they can fully respond to their partner’s sexual needs. Women want romance and intimacy that does not start with sex, but with hugging, touching, kissing, playfulness, candles, or an elegant dinner. Men, on the other hand, most often express their love through sexual intercourse and other sexual activities. When they are aroused, they feel passionate, and can then fully enjoy the hugging, touching, kissing and romance that women need as a pre-condition to sex.
Since men and women are different, but all of us yearn for love and intimacy, it makes perfect sense to work to understand these differences, and to keep them in mind, without blame or indignation, as we consider what we need and what our partner needs so we can all be satisfied and fulfilled.
We fall in love because this person who comes into our lives makes us feel special, important, and wonderful. We feel understood and highly valued by them. Suddenly, we have this burst of enthusiasm and energy that we interpret as “falling in love.”
HOW DO WE MAINTAIN THAT GREAT MOMENT—THAT MOMENT WHEN WE FIRST FELL IN LOVE?
The hidden secret, that many couples are not aware of, is that our partner must continue to feel special, important, and wonderful. Those couples who know this, AND ACT ON THIS KNOWLEDGE, will continue to make their spouse /partner feel special, important, and wonderful, all the days of their lives. Their affection for each other will become even stronger once the children are grown and the couple is alone once again. This spouse or partner was always the priority in the marriage.
Since women seem to be the ones who have spent a lifetime specializing in and learning about romance, it certainly makes impeccable sense for women to teach their men about romance. One of the most common statements from a wife or girlfriend to a therapist is this: “If he really loved me he would know what turns me on.” In reality, the only way to get what we want is to let our partner know what our preferences are and what we need.
To get started, try slipping into some of these Valentine’s Day teasers:* • Stroll around the block and hold hands • Give your partner a back rub • Rent a classic love story video and watch while cuddling • Build a fire in the fireplace. Turn out the lights and talk. • Tell your spouse how glad you are you married her/him • Send your spouse/partner a love letter • Plant a tree together in honor of your marriage • Reminisce back to the time you were dating • Do some of the same things you did when you were dating • Go away for a weekend. • Buy new satin sheets— preferably red ones
*Some of these ideas were taken from Doug Fields, author of Creative Romance.
Ellen Kreidman, in her delightful book Light His Fire, gives us 51 ideas, many of which would be delectable for the bolder, more daring woman—especially appropriate on Valentine’s Day. Two examples are:
• Write on the bathroom mirror with bright red lipstick: “You are the most important person in my life, and I LOVE YOU.”
• Blow up a dozen red balloons, already stuffed with different messages, telling your partner in each message why he is so special. Watch his radiant face as he bursts each of these balloons.
WHAT CAN I DO IF THE SPARK IS OUT IN MY MARRIAGE?
Ignite that spark! Remember that it’s never too late. Men love to hear that their partners think they are physically/sexually attractive—no matter what their age. Kreidman says that men in our culture, from the time they are four years old, rarely get compliments about their physical appearance. Men almost never compliment other men, so it is up to women to let men know how attractive they are. No matter how accomplished men are, or how successful their career is or was, men are turned on in a most amazing way when women comment on their “sexy eyes”, ““beautiful smile”, “great body” or “great legs.”
Some of you may be familiar with the story of a famous professor of Human Sexuality at a prestigious American university. Since he was conducting his own research on sexuality, he asked his students a few important questions:
1. “How many of you have sexual relations three times a week? Please stand up.” (about half of the students stand up, and everyone else cheers and claps) 2. “How many of you have sexual relations 1 time a week?” (About ¼ of the students stand and everyone cheers and claps.) 3. “How many of you have sexual relations 1 time a month?” The students politely clap.
Then suddenly one man, very old and decrepit, leaning on his cane, looking as if the wind would blow him away, stood up, with a wide smile covering his face. He bellowed out for all to hear: “I only have sexual relations once a year.” Everybody sat there in shock. The professor then asked: “Then, why are you so happy?” The old man, in a moment of sheer ecstasy, replied: “This is the day!”
This site was last updated 02/10/06