Despite all the jokes, cliches and cracks about marriage being unexciting and unfulfilling, recent research has shown that married people have more passion in their lives than do single people. WebMD recently posted an article called “Passionate Marriage is Alive and Well” that I found very interesting and very encouraging, but not necessarily surprising.
According to the article, Edward Laumann, a professor of sociology at the University of Chicago, compiled the most comprehensive data on intimacy in the United States. According to his data, Married couples are intimate more often have a more varied intimate life and get more emotional and physical satisfaction from intimacy than do singles.
Based on his study, Laumann also found that our happiness with out intimate relationship has an even greater impact on marital happiness than many of us might think.
When passionate marriage works well, it works very, very well. However, when it doesn’t work well, it’s awful. “When (intimacy) works badly, it can take away 50% to 70% of marital satisfaction,” says Laumann.
The key to keeping our marriages passionate is to remember that passion ebbs and flows with the marriage and that we have to have realistic expectations of our relationship.
It is the dilemma of modern relationships: reconciling security and adventure — eroticism and domesticity — in the same place,” says Esther Perel, a couples and family therapist in New York City, and author of “Mating In Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic.”
This doesn’t mean we should expect less passion in our marriages or settle for a less than ideal intimate life.
What it means is that we should be striving for balance. Yes, our best friend can also be our ideal lover, but they cannot be all things at all times. By the same token, neither can our marriage. Like all relationships, marriages are not constant; they change from week to week, year to year.
The more we focus on building and strengthening our marriages, the more we will be able to strike a balance that helps us to enjoy a great deal of lasting passion in our marriages, rather than burning hot in the beginning and then running out of fire.