by Tony Robbins: When you think of all the relationships in your life, it’s easy to see there are different types of love…
We love our family, our pets, our friends and even our careers. We find fulfillment from each of these relationships, and that makes them important for our overall happiness. Yet romantic love is the true essence of life.
There are two types of romantic love: passionate love and compassionate love, also known as companionate love. When you combine these two types, you create an ideal relationship filled with commitment, intimacy and physical desire.
Passionate love is the type you often associate with the beginning of a relationship, when you feel intense emotion toward the other person as well as strong sexual attraction. It seems like you can’t stop thinking about that person, and you want to be near them all the time. You talk for hours because you want to know everything about them.
There are downsides to passionate love. You can idealize a partner that you are passionately in love with, turning a blind eye to red flags. You can also idealize the relationship itself, believing that it’s perfect and you are soul mates. That leaves you open to disappointment when the passion does begin to fade. Remember that in relationships as in life, the greatest rewards come from staying committed and doing the work.
Companionate love feels less intense than passionate love, but the truth is that it’s intense in a different way. This type of love is characterized by true long-term commitment, total trust in the other person and strong communication skills regarding your own feelings, concerns and needs.
Partners must be careful not to let companionate love take over the relationship. It’s easy to get comfortable and start acting more like friends or roommates than lovers. That’s because it’s so common in our society to think, “The passion just fades after a while.” Don’t fall for it. You can have both types of love in your relationship.
WHY IS PASSION IN A RELATIONSHIP IMPORTANT?
Love and relationships fulfill many of the six human needs, such as significance, variety and giving. They’re exciting and inspiring, and they make life interesting. Passion in a relationship contributes to greater fulfillment – both in and out of the bedroom – as well as happiness and well-being. It can even predict relationship success.
As Tony says, “The quality of your life equals the quality of your relationships.” Wouldn’t you rather have a deep, passionate love than something that feels more like friendship? While companionate love is also important to a successful, long-term partnership, the bottom line is that life is too short to live a single moment without passion – especially in your relationship.
SIGNS OF A PASSIONATE RELATIONSHIP
1. You want to know everything about the other person. Long conversations don’t have to stop once you’ve been together for a while. There’s always more to learn – and you want to know it all, good and bad.
2. You love everything about each other. This doesn’t mean you idolize each other. It means that you recognize your partner’s flaws and love them anyway. This fulfills their need for significance – one of the deepest of the six human needs.
3. You look forward to the future together. Common vision is a powerful thing. Are you excited about spending your life with your partner? That’s an important sign of passion in a relationship.
4. You make sacrifices for each other. Giving is the sixth human need, and it’s the biggest key to a passionate relationship. After all, “The secret to living is giving,” as Tony says, so finding ways to give in tangible and intangible ways, especially in moments of spontaneity, can keep passion thriving.
5. You’re affectionate with each other. Touch is intimate – even small gestures like hand holding while walking or touching your partner’s knee when you sit next to each other means you’re connected in a special way.
6. You can say what’s on your mind. It can also mean sharing negative feelings without fear of your partner acting irrationally. You know how to communicate and resolve conflicts without fighting so that you can say what you feel without fear.
7. You have fun together. Yes, fun! Passion in a relationship isn’t all about lust in the bedroom. Strong couples have date nights, make new memories and laugh together. Variety is one of the six human needs, and it’s important in relationships, too. Keep things exciting.
8. You can be vulnerable together. Emotional intimacy is a hallmark of companionate love, and is just as essential as physical intimacy to a passionate relationship. Are you comfortable being vulnerable and telling your partner your most intense dreams and fears? That’s passionate love.
9. Your partner inspires you. They push you to grow and become a better person. Growth is the fifth human need: If you’re not growing, you’re dying – and that includes your relationship.
10. You’re committed to making it work. Sometimes life happens and relationships become less passionate. But you’ll recognize it, communicate about it and fix it, and that’s one of the signs of a passionate relationship.
You’ve probably heard people say, “Passion doesn’t last,” or “Passionate relationships never work out.” It’s true that passion in a relationship might dwindle, but you can get it back. Listen to Tony: “Focus determines direction. If you’re focused on building a beautiful, passionate relationship, that’s what you’ll achieve.”
Don’t settle for a relationship that’s just “okay.” This is your life partner – your one true love. Wouldn’t you do anything for them? You’ve already built a deep, lasting connection. Now you must commit to saving that connection and rekindling the passion in your relationship.
Relationships aren’t going to be all firecrackers all the time. But when you have passionate love, there are always embers burning. You can have a fulfilling relationship with your partner – the time to start is now.