Desire. The enigmas of all enigmas. The holy grail of relationship bliss. If only she desires me the way she used to. If only the passion was like it was years ago – how good it would be! What do I need to do to bring it back? Who do I need to be for her to desire me and make love to me like the good old days?
I have a different question: Why do you care?
When we first connect, sparks fly. It’s awesome. Our head-over-heels love for each other, and fantasies about what life will be like create amazing energy and passion. What a beautiful feeling and experience.
It’s not clear exactly how long this relationship-phase lasts, but usually not longer than 2-3 years. By that time, real life has set in. With every pair of socks left on the floor, missed dinner dates, fights over bills, and arguments over which cable show we are watching, our original fantasies about life together diminish — many never to return again. Desire takes a hit – big time.
But at the same time, what doesn’t take a hit — what isn’t diminishing — is character. Replacing the innate passion and desire of a new relationship is the budding of your relationship ethos. Your values. Your commitment to gratitude. Your commitment to provide & protect. Your commitment to love, honor and sacrifice. Your commitment to commitment. The lifelong journey of defining who you are, and then striving for and then living up to your definition, has begun.
The long-term work of cultivating appreciation. Of learning effective communication. Of facing your fears and accepting your limits. Recognizing her inner beauty and seeing her soul. Eliminating all criticism. Prioritizing and sacrificing for her needs. Learning to love her, through, and sometimes in spite of, the difficulties. Learning how to be a father, and taking on the massive responsibilities of running a family.
And what about desire? Isn’t it still important? Yes, it is — but not in the same way. Eventually, the responsibility for desire shifts from her to you, and from you to her. Your desire becomes another area of your development — something you need to work on, for you. Are you madly in love with you wife? Do you feel passion and excitement during intimacy? If not, why not? What do you need to do to feel that way again? What area do you need to work on? Perhaps you are being too selfish. Perhaps you don’t appreciate her. Perhaps you are too into superficial, external attributes that you cannot experience real-life love and passion. If you are not showing up in the bedroom with lots of love, excitement & desire — it’s really on you, not her. And it’s mainly your loss, not hers.
And vice versa. As a woman, if you are so mired in resentment or boredom or anxiety that you don’t feel desire for your man, that sucks. Mainly for you. I’d hate to go through life like that — married to a someone whom I don’t feel passion for. What do you plan to do about it? How do you plan on overcoming this obstacle to intimacy? What is your strategy to rekindle your romantic feelings?
This is not to discourage working together as a couple to solve real issues. Often times, small grievances can cause big problems, and we need to work together to address them. But ultimately, how you show up in relationship — how you feel about your partner — is your choice and your responsibility. Couples who’ve been married for 30+ years didn’t get there because their partner “made them happy”. They survived & thrived for 30 years because they took responsibility for their own feelings, happiness and even desire.
When my clients ask me – “how do I bring her desire back?” I say – “You don’t. Never do anything to inspire or chase desire.”
Define what you believe is the best version of you as a husband, father and man. Find a woman who wants in on that.
Then work towards that goal. Live it & sacrifice for it. Commit to it till your last breath.
Become a man of character because that’s who you want to be, that’s who you are – not to be “desired”. Let your wife worry about her own desire. Just as you need to worry about yours. The one who enjoys passion and desire for their partner most — not the one who is desired most — is the real winner.