Recovering Passion in Your Relationship
With all the demands of life from child rearing to demanding careers, it is easy to lose passion in a marriage. variety of issues.
When couples first meet they quite naturally prioritized each other making each other feel special and desired. Emotional bonding occurs, love chemicals are released into the body (oxytocin) and romance comes pretty easy. Some couples are able to maintain passion at a fairly high level while others feel the "spark" leave their relationship after years of child rearing or 60 hour work weeks. Some then are just more fortunate than others, they may have had great modelling from their own parents, they may be more vigilant about not losing passion and others may have entered counselling early in their relationship when they realized they were losing the "spark".
Marital counselling can help couples regain passion by taking a closer look at the patterns created in the marriage and staying open to sometimes even minor changes that would promote more closeness. Regaining passion can be on one or several levels. Couples can regain and in some cases create for the first time intellectual passion where they improve communication dynamics, emotional passion where they develop a higher degree of empathy for one another, and sexual where they increase the quality of their sex life. It is often the case that sexual activity is more rewarding if the first two areas are addressed.
There can be a cascade effect of improving a frustrating communication pattern that results in more emotional closeness and improved sexual relations. How couples feel about one another is pivotal for passion to exist. If one partner feels disregarded, not heard or low priority there will be a prolonged negative impact on passion. If that same partner starts to feel heard and that they are more a priority the impact can trickle down to increased passion.
The Role of Marriage Counselling
Marriage counselling can provide couples with an opportunity to freely discuss how they feel about one another in way that is different from what they are already doing at home. Normally it is hard for couples to hear each other out especially if disappointed or frustrated with one another. Often one or both are defensive and counter-attack when they feel criticized, leaving only more hurt feelings and decrease in passion.
In counselling both partners are heard, they are encouraged to say what they want more of (or less of) in order to increase or regain passion. One partner for example may want to be more of a priority in their partner's life so for them focussed conversation in the evening creates that feeling. The other partner may want to increase casual affection before re-establishing a more active sex life.
Whenever resistance to improvement is encountered in counselling, whatever is behind that resistance is fully explored. Issues that impede passion may be long-term and date back to an affair one partner had early in the marriage that was never discussed. The affair could be the "white elephant" that kept the couple distant over the years.
Other long-term patterns can include repeated criticism by one or both partners that have reduced mutual respect. It is very hard to cultivate passion when respect has been lost. Counselling then would focus on having the couple re-learn more respectful interaction patterns that would be designed to increase a stronger emotional climate in the marriage.