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How to maintain passion in a marriage

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[howdini, get yourself a guru] Hi, I'm Lisa Birnbach for howdini.com. Why is it that so often the love remains, but the passion withers in a marriage? Is it even possible to be in love without the desire that fueled your romance in the first place? Marriage and family therapist, Esther Perel, has written a book on the subject called Mating in Captivity, Unlocking Erotic Intelligence. It's a great book. Esther, thank you for joining us. >>My pleasure. Esther, you talk about loving your mate versus wanting your mate. What is the actual difference there? I would say if love is about having, desire is about wanting. And those are two verbs that have a very different energy and a very different movement to them. What about giving? Where does that fit in? In both. I have an exercise that I often ask people to do, where they divide a page in two, and on the left they write images and thoughts and associations about love and on the right about desire or sexuality. And there's certain words that often will appear in the category of love that have to do with protection, with acceptance, with reciprocity, with mutuality, with softness, with caring. Hunger, need, urgency, excitement, power--those are words that appear on the other side. Is it marriage that cools off those spiky feelings? When you love and you cultivate that sense of closeness, sometimes you end up sapping the very erotic vitality that brought the relationship into being because desire actually needs space to thrive. But what saps the desire is for one passivity. People become complacent, and they often tell their partner, "You don't make me feel sexy. You don't make me feel desirable," when they could ask themselves, "What is it I am doing? What's my responsibility in generating a certain kind of excitement between the two of us?" And I'm not talking about the excitement in bed. I"m talking about the energy between two people that makes them interested in each other, erotically speaking. The other thing is that desire over the long term is much more relational, and so if the relationship isn't good, isn't interesting, isn't vibrant, isn't lively, isn't connected, isn't caring, then you will instantly experience it in the realm of desire. It's like sex is the projector under which you will see all what is troubling in the marriage. And at the same time, the opposite exists, as well. And we used to think that if I don't desire anymore, then I don't love. But in fact, what we are seeing today--and this is a worldwide phenomenon of modern couples-- is that we love each other very much; we have no sex. It's universal. You hear about this all the time. When you have a breakdown of desire, you have a breakdown of the imagination, and you have people who no longer know how to stay erotically engaged. So it requires rethinking how does sexuality play itself out? Why is it that certain people create such overfamiliarity that they actually feel that they are living with their roommate or their brother or their sister? >>Yeah. Yes. And familiarity of that nature will kill the sex. Relationships become de-eroticized and people get so stuck in certain rules that they also start to desexualize each other. Those are actually the main elements that block desire more than time and stress and kids, because that answer is more true for young children and less so when children are older. Can marriages survive a desexualization? Yes, in the best couples desire ebbs and flows. The difference is that those that have a spark know how to resurrect it. It's not that they don't have periods where they are immersed in something else or other concerns or are preoccupied, but they have sometimes a way, when they have these little children and they know that this is not going to happen in the next week or two, of having a gaze and a glimpse to each other in the elevator. And they wink and they just say, "You remember? We will again." And they maintain that thread, that complicity, because the majority of couples separate in the first three years of their marriage. Hmm, so interesting. Esther, thank you so much. Thank you. >>For howdini.com, I'm Lisa Birnbach. [howdini-www.howdini.com]

Video Details

Duration: 4 minutes and 26 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: All rights reserved
Producer: Howdini
Views: 74
Posted by: howdini on Jan 11, 2011

Can you love someone if you no longer desire him or her sexually? Marriage and relationship therapist and author Esther Perel has advice for maintaining passion in a marriage and understanding the difference between love and desire.

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