My girlfriends and I try to get together at least once a month for a "girl's night" - generally this consists of lots of Italian food, lots of wine and lots of gossip. During January's girls' night we played a pretty interesting game. I can't remember the name, but basically there were about 100 cards with very personal questions and each player chose a card and got to ask the personal question to another player of their choice.
Most of the questions were pretty juicy and of course it was hysterical to hear the answers. (Don't worry friends - I promise not to spill your secrets for the entire Blog world to see!) But one question has been nagging me the past few days....
If you had to chose between passion and companionship which would you chose and why?
All three of my friends chose passion. For obvious reasons - it's important to feel a spark for the man you love, you can be friends with anyone - but not lovers, women need to feel that connection and desire, etc.
Of course, I was the only one out of the four who felt companionship was more important than passion. Which threw my mind into a tailspin on the way home that evening: Was it because I've been married for almost three years and have moved out of the "honeymoon phase"? Is it because I've been with Steven for 8 years? Is there something wrong with me for valuing companionship over passion? Have I let the fires of my marriage burn out??
Since that evening a single friend and I have been discussing the woes of her love life. She's an attractive, successful, intelligent woman who has so much to offer in a relationship - but she just can't seem to find the right guy to commit to. Over the course of our conversations she's expressed concerns of her own: Are her expectations too high? Should she just give up on "Mr. Perfect" and settle? What if it's not the men she's been dating but it's her - what if she's just BSC!?!?!
So again - I've been faced with this choice of companionship vs. passion. And I found myself telling me dear friend these words of advice:
I think too many women look at love as this wild, romantic fairy tale where some sexy man comes into the picture with sweat dripping down his chiseled abs. He literally sweeps her off her feet and carries her into his love den where their passion for one another is eternal and they survive off steamy sex and endless conversations about their undying love for one another.
As someone who has been married for a while - I can tell you, steamy sex and endless conversations about undying love does not pay the bills, does not put food in pantry and does not do the laundry! Passion doesn't nurse you back to health when you've got the flu and cannot get out of bed. Passion doesn't surprise you by cleaning the dishes just because he knows you've had a long day and could use a break from housework. Passion doesn't volunteer to babysit an 8 week old puppy for 3 weeks so that Santa can bring your little brother a puppy for Christmas. Passion doesn't buy you tampons when you've completely run out and don't have time to go to the store. Passion doesn't seek to make amends when there is conflict. Passion doesn't stand by your side and cheer you on when you think you can't carry on. Passion doesn't fight like hell to make a marriage work.
But companionship does.
Think about all the things that you would do for your friends. I'm not talking about your frenemies - those people who you pretend to adore but really would love to throw into oncoming traffic if the opportunity ever presented itself. I'm talking about your real friends.
Think about how you feel their pain when they are sad. How you look for ways to brighten their day when you know they have had a tough time. How you laugh together and cry together. How you would stand toe-to-toe with the meanest bully in the world to defend your friends.
Now think about that friendship amplified in your marriage or relationship. Think about how much stronger your friendship with your partner will be because you have committed to love them above all others. They are your person - the one person who is completely yours - devoted to you and you alone.
I'm not trying to discount the importance of passion. Attraction to your partner is a vital part of a relationship - but a relationship cannot survive on attraction and passion. I do feel attraction to Steven and "that spark" - but I know that there may be times in our marriage when that passion is not as strong as I would like. Passion is a feeling - it can come and go depending on a person's mood, depending on their current circumstances and abilities. Companionship is a relationship - no matter how I feel about Steven in any given moment - I *always* know that he is my best friend. He's my person - my God given person.
He's the man I want to sit on the front porch with when I'm ninety. We'll hold hands and drink sweet tea and talk about all the memories we've shared together. I would rather talk about all the experiences we shared as friends rather than moments of passion: How we grew up together. We survived our twenties and finally figured out "what we wanted to do when we grew up." Talk about the struggles and joys of raising our children. Talk about how wonderful our grandchildren are and how being a grandparent is way better than being a parent. I'm not so sure that those night's spent on bearskin rugs in front of the fire eating whip cream off each other will be so important to me when I'm ninety - but I'm sure that every moment shared with my best friend building our life together will be.
But maybe I'm just crazy and I'm the only woman in America who would chose companionship over passion.....
**PS - it's completely okay to disagree with me. All of my friends do! Maybe there are some insights I'm just missing. You won't hurt my feelings!