In his wide body of work at the heart of helping us to understand relationships John Gray’s material addresses how to honor our inner values, and help make us congruent in our thoughts, feelings, and actions from the inside-out. He uses the Mars/Venus analogy as a way to notice that men and women are indeed different. If we can honor the masculine side in men and the feminine side in women, then we become more whole, more self-aware, and attuned to supporting our spouse, rather than trying to make them be more like us. It frees us from clinging to notions that are focused on dependence and independence, rather than interdependence.
Interdependence is a paradigm that focuses on we, and how to pool our talents and abilities to get a richer end result. We are in this together. When we cooperate our results are the very fabric of the human value of living in harmony and community. We understand that while independently we’re true to our own selves and self-reliant, but when we come together we actively honor, appreciate, accept, and respect each other; which in turn makes us more capable of nurturing others without the dependent feelings of jealousy, resentment, fear, or anger.
Passion increases from being in a safe and embracing relationship. When the other person experiences you at your worst, and continues to love you anyway, it is in choosing to see the best in each other that affirms your potential, and gives you the safe space to grow individually and as part of a couple. This is how to live in unconditional love. This is what makes us thrive as humans.
(1) Focus on Rewarding Positive Behaviors
If it has gotten away from you, then show appreciation and gratitude out loud for what the other person is doing right in the relationship. Even if it is tiny at first, this re-focuses your attention back on your marriage and why you enjoyed being married in the first place.
(2) Provide a Safe Emotional Space
Create romance by taking time to re-visit dreams, to provide an emotional space that lets you both lower your guard down. Even if the disagreements tend to outweigh the agreements, continue to make love together. If you drop the ball on intimacy, pick it back up. Reaffirm and re-commit to one another that despite the current downward trend, you both want to stick it out together.
(3) Make Love Often Despite Disagreements
Commit to having quick liaisons whenever one person is in the mood, but also plan romantic evenings so you make time to learn what the other likes. Never say no to sex. In a healthy marriage there tends to be ten areas where couples choose to disagree, so if you’re having a fight or disagreement it is not okay to withdraw physically. Set a date and time to work through the issue when you can both be more logical, but don’t neglect your sex life. Half the battle will already be won, and passion will remain intact because you both know that your needs will be unconditionally met and you will not be turned down or away.