Ask Athena: I Want the Passion Back in My Marriage | Ask Athena | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice
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Ask Athena: I Want the Passion Back in My Marriage 

Dear Athena,

I feel like my marriage is a mess. I don't know what to do. We have only been married for six years, but it feels so empty. I love my partner. I think they are a wonderful person and a good parent and they have a good job, but we never have sex and we just live our life in the same house. I know we love each other very much. I want to stay together. I want the passion back. Is it impossible?

Signed,

Unhappily Married

Dear Unhappily,

I read once how scientists discovered that in the beginning stages of an infatuation, the body releases oxytocin — a hormone that creates a feeling of euphoria from your beloved's touch, binding you together and leaving you wanting more of that feeling. But nothing stays new forever.

It's completely normal for that intense excitement to dwindle and for the floating-on-air vibe of new love to feel, eventually, like dragging your feet. And when life gets busy, couples can drift and form habits that don't encourage togetherness.

The first item on the agenda is to change your expectations. Everyone hopes the passion and elation that is so prevalent at the start will last forever. But since it can't, you must create a new, deeper kind of loving connection. You can achieve this state through facing adversity together.

When you argue, instead of getting defensive, meet the disagreement with empathy and curiosity. It is so important for maintaining a long-lasting relationship to accept each other and your differences. We don't stay exactly the same people over time; our opinions and ideas evolve. If you can't find a way to appreciate that growth or difference in the person you love, then what's the point?

Think about the way you relate. It's important to consider that your partner may not need affection and attention in the same way as you. Ask your partner when they feel the most loved by you. Ask for examples, and then share your answers. You might discover it's when you remember to change the toilet paper roll. Very often, connection derives from the simplest gestures — ones that show we are listening and that we care. This practice might mean stretching your comfort zone, breaking patterns and going out of your way to show acknowledgment.

When you feel distant, make a date. And find a way to connect for a few minutes every day — not in front of the TV or with the kids, but just the two of you. Actually look at each other. Make an effort to touch each other more. As for sex: Talk about your fantasies, change locations often, make it more romantic. Even if it feels a little silly at first, you'll be sharing new experiences and creating new memories. And that's one way to get the passion back.

Yours,

Athena

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