Keeping desire alive is one of the Four Piilars of a Healthy Relationship. It is the place where you continue to choose to be together because you find your partner attractive. In fact, it is where there is mutual attraction.
If you think about it, this means there are actually four aspects of attraction that you need to take care of:
- you are attracted to your partner
- your partner is attracted to you
- you are attracted to yourself
- your partner is attracted to themselves.
This attraction probably happened between you without much effort in the early days of your relationship. I know when I fell in love with my wife-to-be I found her highly desireable. I didn’t need to look for the ways in which she was attractive to me – they were so obvious and vibrant. And in this period I also found myself attractive. Being in love brought out the qualities in me that I enjoy and value. I was at my best.
Of course this period, although delightful, does not stay forever. So we need to consciously nurture desire.
I also recognise that attraction comes in different dimensions and it is worth remembering. The beauty we see in our partner and in ourselves is not only external or physical beauty. Consider attraction in the following 5 domains:
A healthy relationship does not require attraction to be super-strong in all 5 domains – but it does need to be there to some extent in all and high in several. It is unlikely you will thrive as a couple if you find your partner repugnant in one or more of these categories. You know for yourself which are most important and which you can live with, without being at a peak.
A Short Exercise
Here’s an exercise I do in my Deepening Intimacy Workshop – maybe you will find it insightful.
- Make a list of all the things you find attractive about your partner in each of the 5 domains above.
- Make a list of all the things you believe your partner finds attractive in you – again in the 5 domains.
Looking at the first list … how often do you tell or show your partner these things in him/her you find attractive. Could you communicate them more often? When will you do that?
Looking at the second list … what do you do to nurture these qualities in yourself? What could you do more of so your partner finds you even more attractive?
And it can also be fun and connecting to do this exercise with your partner, exchange lists and see where they match – and where they don’t. I am certain you will discover something new about your relationship if you do this.