Need we say more? Call it chemistry, heat, lust or desire – passion is a necessary ingredient for long-term success. If you’ve been together for a long time, it may sometimes seem like passion has taken a hike and been replaced with comfort and familiarity (both good too, by the way). You may even fear that it’s gone for good. As someone who believes we are each responsible for our own desire, may I say: baloney. It may mean you have to work to uncover it from layers of stress and distance (and yes, contrary to popular belief, work and passion are not opposites), but passion lives inside you, regardless of who you are with, just waiting under the pile of life to be re-ignited. It can be quite a fun journey back to passion, actually.
Edward Hallowell, in his 2010 book Married to Distraction, states, “Distraction is to an intimate conversation as water is to fire. To love, you must slow down; you must attend to the other person.” In our cyber-paced world, the new love is spelled a-t-t-e-n-t-i-o-n. Attentiveness means
putting away the gadgets and not letting “the age of interruption” steal you of intimate connection with your partner. Without attentiveness (and her cousin, priority), intimacy is in danger of being extinguished.
I call this the ability to “go with the flow”. It is absolutely mandatory for fluid communication and connection. Who wants to be with someone who throws a hissy fit every time plans change unexpectedly? The ability to be low-key and “just go with it” telegraphs confidence and ease – two very attractive qualities (see #5).
I love this quality. I really didn’t know what it meant beyond the dictionary definition before I married my husband, and then it was particularly drilled home once I had our children. Put simply, selflessness is the ability and tendency to think about the other person – first. It’s the willingness to be second, wrong, or inconvenienced just because doing so would show love to the other. Of all the qualities, this one might be the most rare. These days everyone seems to be worried, “What about me?” The truly selfless love asks instead: “What about you?”
Empathy is often confused with sympathy, but they are not the same. Sympathy is “You poor thing! It must be horrible to be you right now.”
Empathy is “I know how you feel” or “I can only imagine the pain you are going through.” Empathy is the aptitude and willingness to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. This is a top-ten quality because without it, you might just never see things from your partner’s point of view. Without empathy, you would miss some very important pieces of information, like why they said what they just said, what makes them think that, and how they could feel they way they do. Developing and exercising empathy makes you a better person as well as a better partner, and could very well lead to the expansion of quality #8.