Young couples often confuse love for passion. This is because most of us don't really know what love is. Love is something not discussed in a graduate class or written about in a professional journal. It's a confusing topic to many people. In most cases, couples mistake love for sensual gratification. As such, love is often synonymous with passion; however, this can be a very dangerous comparison to make. Let's dig a little deeper into this issue.
How Men and Women Understand Love
Confusing love with passion is easy. For a man, feeling loved and loving is most often aligned with physical intimacy. Men feel love when they are making love. Women feel loving and loved when they are emotionally close with their partner. While both physical love and intimacy are important to a relationship, they are not the basis of sustainable love.
Love That is Based on Passion Can Fade
During the first months of marriage, feelings of loving and being loved are everywhere. This is because both the male and female notions of "love" are fulfilled. Youthful vigour and the absence of children make it easy to maintain a high level of physical intimacy and closeness. If these pining and passionate feelings are what we base our notion of "love" on, it's no wonder more mature couples feel that they are out-of-love. The longer you are with someone, the more difficult it becomes to maintain that initial level of passion. Children, careers and responsibilities make it more difficult to stoke the fires of passion.
Passion Can Limit Your Relationship
Now, I'm not saying passion isn't important to a relationship. Couples need to feel a physical attraction to one another; however, this attraction is just one piece of the puzzle. If a relationship is based primarily on passion, what happens when the fire begins to wane? And believe me, it will. Physical beauty fades, and our notions of "attractiveness" change over time. If your relationship is based entirely on your passion for your partner, you're in for a rude awakening as your relationship matures.
If love isn't based exclusively on passion and intimacy, what else should we be focusing on? What can sustain a relationship through the years?
The answer is commitment. Commitment is a selfless love that has very little to do with sensual pleasure. Commitment is a love so powerful that no matter what happens, there will always be dedication and loyalty. This kind of emotion is an expression of love that supersedes all passion.
Passion vs. Commitment – Finding a Higher Love
Expressions of passion are extremely important to a marriage. They make us feel good and bring us closer to our significant other. However, passion is not the glue that holds a family together. While we greatly appreciate when our partner provides us with attention and gifts, it doesn't sustain a relationship. It simply boosts our egos and strengthens our self-esteem. Commitment provides us with a higher state of love. Commitment ensures that we're dedicated and loyal to our partner even when the passionate gifts become fewer and further between. Unfortunately, many marriages are not based on a selfless love and this is why so many end in divorce.
The first step to strengthening your commitment is engaging in selfless love. This can be something as simple as taking out the trash, or asking your spouse how their day was. Small acts of kindness and caring will create a strong base of commitment in your relationship. Before long, this commitment will become the fibre of your marriage.