Falling in love is easy. You chase those glorious falling-in-love feelings as hard as you can, and when you catch them, you clamp down like your life depends on it. You have excitement, focus, and interest— the ingredients of thrill. You develop intimacy as you share your history, hopes, and dreams. You pursue sensuality with presence and delight, intentionally choosing seductive underwear and planning an evening that will dazzle your date. Passion blooms without effort, a perfect triangle of thrill, intimacy, and sensuality resting on a bed of novelty.
Novelty is thrilling. That’s why it’s so easy to fall in love. But your initial passion rests on a shaky and impermanent foundation— by definition, new cannot last. Routine, safety, and predictability— the foundation of a stable, committed relationship—can feel ho-hum. And ho-hum is not good for thrill. Routine is the antithesis of surprise. If your partner strides in the door, kisses you passionately, and hands you a fistful of fresh picked poppies, you are delighted. Your heart jumps, and you feel like the luckiest person in the world. Now, imagine that your partner greets you that way every day for fourteen years. Does your heart still jump each time? Probably not.
The new becomes familiar, the surprising becomes routine, and you develop lazy love habits.
If you are not mindful, once the novelty wears off, you get bored with the same old plaything. You may stop doing what used to come easily—planning romantic weekends, listening with open nonjudgmental curiosity to your sweetie, wearing black lace instead of saggy cotton. The new becomes familiar, the surprising becomes routine, and you develop lazy love habits. Marriage Inc. replaces Dating Inc. You stop paying attention to your lover and your love relationship. The thrill fades away, your former passion neglected like a forgotten squirrel in the dog toy basket.
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could go back to the beginning and find each other new again? Well, you can. To break complacent habit patterns, to move out of Marriage Inc. and into becoming passion, you must make love intentional. After the initial throes of falling in love, you cannot rely on lust and novelty to keep you interested. You must nurture thrill with loving intention. And there are two main ways you can do that.
First, by intentionally developing mindfulness—noticing, appreciating, and connecting with the present moment and with your lover in this present moment. When you pay deep attention, you can create novelty over and over again with the one you are with and replace boredom with fascination.
Second, by setting intentions to bring the thrill back by planning romance, bringing creativity to your sex life, and generally kicking routine in the butt. Decide to bring your sweetheart poppies. Or surprise them with something new. And when you receive poppies, be mindful that poppies, and your sweetheart, are inherently beautiful whether this is the first time you have ever seen them or the hundredth. For believe it or not, every moment together is new and exciting if you simply set your mind to it.
Mindful Practice: Three Steps to Rekindling Passion In Your Relationship
Loving intentions guide your behavior in the present moment and help you create an intentional relationship.
- Step 1: Pick a relationship goal. Goal: I want to have more kindness in our relationship.
- Step 2: Choose three intentions that will guide you to act in ways that will move you toward that goal. For example: Intention 1: I intend to speak with a kind tone when I feel impatient. Intention 2: I intend to leave a meaningful and loving note for my spouse each morning. Intention 3: I intend to meditate for thirty minutes most days to continue to strengthen my mind and cultivate patience.
- Step 3: Review your intentions daily. After you create your loving intentions list and then commit to spending two minutes each morning reviewing that list and setting your intentions for the day.
At the end of each day, take time to review your progress. How did you do? Did you turn your intentions into actions? Some wins, some losses? Can you tweak your intentions to make them even more actionable tomorrow?
Your list is like a map, and if you use it well, it will help guide you to where you want to go. After a week of intentional practice, you should begin to experience how this exercise can help you make tangible movement toward your relationship goals. You may then wish to incorporate this practice as an ongoing awakened lover skill.
Excerpted from Buddha’s Bedroom: The Mindful Loving Path to Sexual Passion and Lifelong Intimacy. Reprinted with permission: New Harbinger Publications, Inc. Copyright © 2018 Cheryl Fraser.