Sunday, January 11, 2009

Keeping the fire of Passion and Love alive – Openness and Patience

by Russ Hardesty, PhD

Keeping the fire of passion and love alive! (Three part series) Growing passion and intimacy thrives in an environment of creativity and playfulness. Passion and intimacy do not arise from a lone idea or from a concept from a ‘love manual’, but from creating the environment for sustainable innovation. This magic and juicy environment of sustainable innovation allows for shared attitudes, values and beliefs that lead to meaningful actions and events.

Keeping the fire of Passion and Love alive – Openness and Patience

“Leading researchers have concluded that long-term relationships can be just as passionate and romantic as new love.”* Growing passion is the result of a relationship that is open to possibility and change, and abounds with patience. Passion is fueled by innovation which taps our creative and imaginative faculties. Artists, athletes, and performers all know the value of openness and patience. Olympians spend a life time preparing for the few moments of a race or event. How much more can we prepare ourselves for a passionate relationship that lasts a life time?

Openness and Patience sustain growing passion

We can learn from the creative efforts of partnerships such as Pixar that questioning, risk, trust, openness and patience sustain innovation. Similarly, sustainable passion is a creation of two partners bringing into existence new dimensions of relationship that neither has experienced

Openness releases creativity

Balancing openness and patience is critical. Too much openness brings about a lot of activity without desired results. Over focusing will restrict the creative spirit. Openness to serendipity allows the discovery of untapped possibilities for passion and intimacy. Openness requires that both partners can grow more comfortable with ambiguity for short periods of time to allow the ripening of their ideas and solutions. Patience allows the time for this discovery. When a couple agrees on a specific path, it is time for action and not continual revising, rethinking or adding more things.

Patience creates safety

Being patient with one’s partner has its source in “active trust”. Active trust creates a safe place, that magical and juicy environment where passion is fueled. Obsession and urgency fuel love in the beginning of a romantic relationship. If these aspects are not transformed into calmness and attachment, the romance will fade. Calmness and attachment occur as partners face challenges with patience. With patience they can work through challenges, adjusting their previous beliefs about relationship and reality.

Active patience

Active patience can be likened to persistence. Active patience allows partners to be constantly aware and actively involved in creating their desired level of passion. Active patience is essential to overcoming obstacles and practicing new and bold thoughts and behaviors. Confronting disbelief is one of the greatest challenges to partners. Active patience allows new ideas and thoughts to ‘ripen’.

It is not unusual for a thought casually shared with your partner to reappear days or weeks later. Your partner may have adopted this thought as if it was originally their thought. Active patience may be required to achieve the desired outcome rather than the ownership of the idea. Demanding or expecting compliance or change can destroy the sense of safety which allows the rich and juicy environment that nurtures deepening passion and intimacy. When a partner senses impatience, they will be less likely to put forth effort to try something new. Or they may take the quickest path to avoid or minimize their own discomfort. Active patience involves an ongoing commitment to the goal of sustained passion.

Keeping the fire of passion and love alive

Keeping the fire of passion and love alive requires innovation. Innovation keeps the relationship vibrant and energized. This energy brings fulfillment and accomplishment for each partner and for the partnership. Curiosity, along with acceptance of input, honest feedback given and received, and readiness to adapt to change are essential for sustained passion in a love relationship.

*Helen Fisher – Rutgers University and Arthur Aron – State Univerisity of New York-Stoneybrook

Action Steps

  1. Make an honest evaluation of the 5 key traits for sustained passion
    1. Questioning
    2. Trust and Trusting
    3. Risk taking
    4. Openness
    5. Patience
  2. What action steps can you take to achieve positive movement in each of these traits?
  3. Describe your relationship as you grow and gain competence with each trait.

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Reader Comments

"...My spouse and I have been married for 32 years and I've experienced our relationship from giggly in bed, to passionate in bed, to mad in bed to "sleeping" in bed...As we grow older the intimacy definition changes for me. Intimacy also for me is just sitting quietly, or driving for miles quietly or walking just hearing our footsteps crunch the leaves, holding hands. My usual struggle in intimacy is in my head - I have to intentionally stop my daily to do list, my past and future stuff and live in the present moment..." Pam

it's ... smaller things to celebrate that create the real passion

“We have found that passion ebbs and flows but we set a goal for our relationship a number of years ago that is working for us. At least every six months we do something that will create a lifetime memory. For us, we love to travel, so it's been pretty easy to find something big to do that will create that lifetime memory, but sometimes it's the finding of smaller things to celebrate that create the real passion.” Steve Rae

What'll arouse passion more than the feeling of being forgiven?

“The "typical beliefs that people have when the “fire” seems to have gone out of a relationship" I believe are a) that you feel your partner should have changed or should not have changed and b) that you feel you should change or that you should not have changed.

Acceptance of yourself and your partner leads to forgiveness. What'll arouse passion more than the feeling of being forgiven?” Brian Massey

A word from Russ Hardesty

The realm of relationship is mysterious; filled with magic, surprise, excitement, passion, intimacy, loss, disappointment and creativity. I am fortunate to have a life partner who is at once a mirror, teacher, lover, nurturer, student and companion. In this place of mystery, I continue to grow into a mature, loving and free man. I welcome feedback, suggestions, and comments – which is a gift to me! Thanks for joining the expedition! Russ