Passionate, Spiritual Relationships

How do you know what a great relationship would look like if there aren’t any positive models to emulate? You make it up. You dare to imagine your heart’s dreams. If, like many people, you find it difficult to clarify the details of what you want, you can work backwards. Identify what you do not want or what has not worked and translate that into the opposite to devise your ideal relationship picture. It’s a strategy we’ve used at various times to develop our version of a sexy, passionate and spiritual long-term relationship.

For instance, neither of us likes to be taken for granted, something that commonly happens even in good relationships. Complacency says to you “Oh this is good, this is secure, this is a sure thing,” and you start giving your attention and time elsewhere. In our evolving picture of a spiritual relationship then, this is not allowed to happen. You both understand there are countless disruptions that could end your relationship no matter how good it is now, so you pay attention to each other regularly.

Passion’s disappearance is a common expectation over long-term union, especially as lovers move into middle age and beyond. In a hot and stable relationship sexuality continues to be a vital force for nourishment and stimulation. Sexual expression is actively explored and cultivated, and encouraged to evolve over time.

In a conventional relationship partners may not talk freely about their feelings or their needs and wants. They may be reluctant to reveal what is really going on, keeping secrets, perhaps deceiving or even lying to each other. Secrets and deceptions build powerful barriers to intimacy. In a spiritual relationship lovers are willing to be vulnerable, to take risks. You reveal thoughts that may be scary, and ideas that you think the other person will not want to hear, but you tell them anyway because it is your truth. You share your insecurities as well as your triumphs. You let each other know what you like and do not like sexually. You talk about your fears and your desires. You recognize the human longing for touch and show each other affection, even in public—in spite of social conditioning that makes people embarrassed by open displays of affection, such as holding hands when you are walking down the street. As Johnny Mathis sings, “I feel like I’m clinging to a cloud, I can’t understand, I get misty just holding your hand.”

It’s irritating and fruitless that partners frequently want to change each other, to fix what they consider are their mate’s problems, or make their lover more like themselves. In a long-term committed relationship that is both lusty and spiritual, lovers have a deep respect for each other and a willingness to allow each other to be different. They endeavor to make those differences complementary rather than to change one another. It is not a blind love, pretending that the other is perfect, but it is unconditional—unreservedly loving despite your partner’s flaws. This gives you each the freedom to be yourself, liberated from acting only to please your partner or from pretending to be other than you really are. You can be comfortable in your own skin, because at least one other human being has accepted you fully.

Unconditional love does not, however, mean that your partner can’t help you discover ways to improve. Although your partner gives unconditional love despite your imperfections, this gift does not absolve you from doing your inner work. Instead it gives you a secure platform from which to grow. In ordinary relationships without a spiritual dimension, people may keenly hold on to their “stuff” which keeps them from growing emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. In the spiritual relationship, when your hot buttons are pushed, you welcome it as an opportunity to grow and to heal, even though this may be uncomfortable or painful. You are both willing to do your inner work so that you become fit for relationship.

The passionate and lusty spiritual relationship reinforces this urge to grow by focusing on the best in each of you. It is too easy and too common to be critical of yourself and your partner—to hide your glory, to dwell on your weaknesses and faults. Instead, you treat each other like god and goddess, you concentrate on the characteristics and behaviors that you most appreciate and enjoy, and encourage those to come out by reinforcing them with your attention. It is not expectation because expectation implies judgment or disappointment if it is not met. Rather, it is hope, belief and awareness that you have each made a commitment to bring out the Higher Self and you are willing to accept help along the way.

As you can see, starting from what we didn’t want helped us generate a picture of what we do want. In this case:

  • Complacency and being taken for granted evolved into paying attention to each other regularly.
  • Waning passion evolved into ongoing sexual vitality.
  • Reticence and secretiveness evolved into open, vulnerable communication.
  • Needing to change or fix the other evolved into loving unconditionally.
  • Staying stuck in old behaviors evolved into willingness to grow and learn.
  • Criticism evolved into encouragement.

Attention, vital sexuality, open communication, unconditional love, willingness to learn and encouragement to do so then became elements of our model for an enduring, passionate relationship.