‘Passion is momentary; love is enduring.” – John Wooden
I’ve posted comments here a few times about the difference between passion (in the sense of the physical attractions and interactions between people) and true love. John Wooden’s little quote certainly applies to that scenario. The momentary enjoyment of passion for someone may masquerade as love in the minds of the participants for some time, maybe even years; however, eventually it is not enough gloss over the things that are missing without a base of true love. Saying “I love being with you” (in the sexual sense) is not the same as saying “I love you”. It is the realization of this mistake that eventually leads divorces. Eventually there just isn’t enough sex and pleasure from it to cover up the things that aren’t there in the relationship. Eventually the haze of lust lifts and the warts that were hidden by it show through or the scars that were caused by other aspects of the relationship are no longer hidden.
Love, on the other hand, grows out in the open, midst the warts and the pains, the ups and downs in the relationship. Love embraces and builds upon the concept of friendship. People truly in love will often self-identify their life mate as being also their best friend in life. Don’t misunderstand that I’m somehow saying that you should substitute being a friend with your life mate for a healthy sex life. This is not an “either or” thing, but it needs to be an AND thing. There are many other dimensions to a loving relationship that also need to be cultivated and developed; such as trust, dependability, honesty, openness, vulnerability and understanding. Look into any failed marriage and you will see that some or all of those things never developed between the partners. Those things are also traits of someone whom we would call an adult; someone who has grown up. It is not uncommon for the behavior of one of the parties in a divorce to be characterized as childish and that is probably true, that man or woman just never grew up and never accepted the role and responsibilities of an adult. For them being married was a big game of “playing house” in between the good parts in bed.
To get back to the basketball coach tie-in, I’ve often heard that this or that player has a true love of the game or the sport. They are not just passionate about it; most athletes have a passion for the sports that that participate in; however those who truly love the game embrace it at a different level and that dedication is something that coaches and other’s can see in them. It is an appreciation for the game’s history and traditions. They are recognized as students of the game. They study it. They appreciate its finer points and they understand where it came from, where it is and where it might go (in fact many of them go on to take the games to the next level). Many of these athletes end up as coaches of the game that they love. They had a passion for the game while they were actively playing it and they went on to turn that passion into a true love of the game.
In life, many of us never take that next step up from the passion that got us
together in the first place. We never explore more about our life partner than their body. We never care enough about what they want outside of the sex to understand why that isn’t enough. We never become friends, because we are too busy and too satisfied being lovers. How sad, if that is the case. The greatest opportunity that one will ever have in life to truly be happy may be with that person with whom you are already enjoying great sexual passion. If you cannot take that next leap of faith with them and truly open up and commit yourself to a loving relationship, then prepare yourself for the failure to come – the sex part is just not enough to carry you through. It’s interesting how many times I’ve talked to guys who were clueless that they were about to be divorced because they thought everything was going great (at least in bed) or who thought that having great sex would make up for everything else. It turned out there was nothing else and now they’re asking – “what happened?”
I can’t lay all of the blame on the guys here; because many women go into the relationships that fail for the same reason. The women, however, tend to be the ones who recognize that they want and need more from the relationship that just the passion. Some speak up about it (the clueless guys call that nagging), but some just suffer in silence until they reach the breaking point. I guess if I had some advice for them (and here I’m stepping way outside my comfort zone) it would be not to keep quiet; maybe nagging is the wrong way to do it, perhaps teaching is a better way to look at it. Remember that I’ve already said that most of the guys are clueless as to what you really want in a relationship, so it is up to you to help them understand. Watch a few puppy training shows on TV and figure out how to use the “correct and reward” system that the trainers use. If that sounds too simple or silly, it isn’t. There is no more loyal companion, willing to give you unconditional love, than a well trained puppy/dog. (Don’t get upset guys, remember the reward part and it only gets better if you can learn and embrace how to play your part.)
Enough already about dog training. I may be wandering too close to the kinky side by going there. The point is still that you need to develop the relationship beyond the passion in order to get to a truly loving relationship. That requires work. Those who do work at it are the ones who celebrate their 50th wedding anniversaries instead of ending up in divorce court. Live in the moment, enjoy the passion; but, make the effort to build an enduring relationship with the one that you want to be there to celebrate that 50th anniversary.