One of the chief complaints for many couples who come in for relationship counselling is that of a waning or absence of the “passion” or “spark” they once enjoyed between one another. This can serve as a predictor for further decline in cases where the longing for “wanting more” out of the relationship is not adequately addressed. Couples may soon find themselves struggling with a host of ensuing problems including affairs, alcoholism, workaholism, apathy, anxiety and even serious depression.
So what is it that contributes to this almost predictable decline in many longer-term relationships, and how does a couple sustain or begin to reclaim "that loving feeling" again?
Some of the clues in unravelling this dilemma may begin to emerge as we have a closer look at the evolution of our sexual roles over time.
Since the early 1960's the feminist movement has played a necessary and vital role in bringing a balance of power between the sexes. During this time women took on more masculine traits to compete in a patriarchal society and became more competitive, hard, directed, independent, and in the process, to some degree, traded off some of their essential feminine qualities, that of true radiance, sensuality, and flow; that which the masculine is instinctually attracted to. At the same time, men adopted more feminine qualities by learning to nurture themselves, getting in touch with their feelings, becoming more vulnerable, and in the process traded off some of their spine, their presence, direction and confidence; that which the feminine is instinctually attracted to.
Many couples now find themselves in this “modern-style” ideal of intimate relationship. That of two independent people, whole unto themselves, coming together as equals and evenly splitting the responsibilities of the household, finances, and childrearing. In the process of our well-intentioned efforts of moving toward equality, internal balance and self-responsibility, it seems we may have inadvertently eroded or cloaked some of the more essential aspects that create sexual attraction between the masculine and feminine.
This has lead to women complaining that men are becoming weaker, are less committed in intimacy, and are seemingly lost in their lives. Men too are moaning that women are becoming hardened, more resistive and sharply independent, to the point where they are no longer attractive to men. Modern men and women are beginning to discover that equality, by itself, does not make for a deeply passionate relationship.
A question like “Do you want to take your lover or be taken by them?” will reveal your deeper sexual essence. If you have a stronger feminine or masculine essence you will likely have an almost immediate gut response one way or the other. Now ask yourself how clearly is your core sexual nature manifesting itself in your intimate relationships now?
So how do we take the next evolutionary step beyond the “old-style” male domination, beyond idealistic feminism, and beyond the safe but lukewarm 50/50 partnership so typical of today without losing the valuable ground we've gained?
What is called for is a “new-style” of intimacy. One that celebrates, embraces, and evokes the attractive differences between the sexes rather than deny them. One in which we finally let down our guard in intimate love and relax deeply into the true gifts of our natural masculine and feminine sexual cores and operate from them coupled with an unyielding honour for self and other.
When we are ready to stop hiding our real desires, thinking them unfair or taboo, and begin to listen and operate from our deepest sexual essence, we may begin to reclaim the passion we once knew in our relationship and begin to evolve it into one that is spiritually erotic, sexually deep, and passionately committed to love.
Trevor Warren, M.A., R.C.C., C.R.S.
CoreQuest Counselling Group