You weren’t anything special. You weren’t a prize-winner or especially deep or intellectual or clever. You were a simple romance story that drew me in so that I could not put you down until I knew the happy-ever-after was there and was satisfactory. You weren’t devoid of clichés and a predictable plot, and yet, you taught me something important, significant and potent: that passion is an important part of my marriage. It is something worth fighting for and it is possible to have as a regular feature, maybe until death us do part.
As young singles, then engaged, then newly married, I feel as though we were very clearly and definitely given the warning that how we feel about each other at the start just wasn’t going to last. I definitely heard and took on board the message that infatuation floods in at the start of your relationship and then fades and what you’re left with is a whole lot of work. Love (and therefore marriage) is action, commitment, making choices, bearing with, forgiving, trusting.
What I wish I had been told more of is…
“You can have a passionate marriage and you should pursue it.”
“Flirt, like, all the time.”
“Don’t let the sun go down without a snog.”
“The more you have sex, the happier you’ll be, all round.”
As the feelings portrayed by you (book) put me in touch with the beauty, mystery and fulfilment in passionate love I realised that the love in a long-term relationship is like burning embers. The initial spark becomes a roaring fire that sometimes feels too much to bear. Then it dies down. But it doesn’t DIE. Or at least doesn’t have to. Perhaps it burns away gently and so rather than just working on communication, tolerating each other, living together, understanding each other, we also need to work on stoking up the flames.
I want to fancy-the-pants off my husband after six years… ten years… twenty years. I know I’m nowhere near there and perhaps will be proved wrong but I want to believe it is possible rather than accept the general belief that passion dwindles down to nothing, but that’s ok, that’s just how marriage is: you end up living with a friend. To me, believing that is pouring water on the fire.
Even in the difficult times.
Sometimes, physical intimacy is all that will connect us when we’ve nothing else to give, or say, or do. It repairs connection in a way that can’t be explained.
Thanks for reminding me. Also, for reminding me how anything we read can teach us something, even when it doesn’t set out to do so.
Note: Sorry to my family for “ew” content. I am conscious of not wanting to dampen my point and clog up my writing with defensive back-tracking… “I know some seasons and physical, emotional, mental problems are a factor… etc etc etc.” That’s the beauty of this whole thing – take it or leave it. But I wanted to say in the notes, I DO know that. Yet there are also choices to be made, at all times. Expressing passionate love can take different forms.