Love is Passion (and Commitment)
By: Jeff Pipe, PsyD
Maintaining a vital and passionate marriage requires regular adjustments, changes and growth. This won’t become clear until you’ve been together for a couple of decades.
By its very nature, passion recedes in the presence of sustained predictability and/or the absence of change and risk. So, You’ve got to keep digging in… digging into the relationship and into the layers of your own heart. Maintaining both passion and intimacy in a marriage requires change and growth - sanctification. And sanctification takes a lifetime. The beauty and horror of your heart will be progressively exposed to you across the decades of your life together. Embrace this reality and allow it to grow you; let the fear of it overwhelm you and intimacy slips away. Marriage requires frustrating, confusing, frightening, exciting and impassioned growth and change. It doesn’t stop when you hit your 40’s… or your 50’s… or your 60’s.
And can I pause here to say that it is no impressive feat to stay married. Dullards and those in denial do it quite well. Gutting it out in a bitter or empty or passionless marriage is nothing to take pride in. Doing so is neither honoring to God or loving to your spouse… it reflects a level of cowardice and dishonesty that contradicts the nature of the Gospel, the God we serve and the divine relationship marriage is meant to illustrate.
Better to divorce.
But please don’t divorce.
Show some courage and faith in the God you claim to serve. Love is a blend of passion and commitment. Every couple goes through conflictual and distant seasons where the passion empties out of the relationship and only the commitment sustains. This commitment must not be to remain married, but to nurture and sustain a marriage that reflects the passion, intimacy and sacrifice of Jesus for us. And building that quality of marriage requires ongoing risk and active pursuit of growth. There is no sitting still - not for long anyways - you are either moving deeper and closer or you are moving apart.
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Legacy Strategy, Inc. is a private counseling practice in Kennesaw, Georgia.