Many of us, when we speak about Love, treat Passion as an entirely separate thing from it. We often hear about dates 'falling into lust' at the beginning of a relationship when the two people are so into each other, so attracted and mesmerised by one another, they want to spend as much time together as they can and to make love as often as possible. The feelings at such times seem deep, exciting and endless.
On the other hand, there are many couples, especially in long term relationships, who have lost their 'chemistry', and their Passion for each other. They do things mechanically and without motivation as part of their settled routine. Many have not even had sex for years or affirmed each other in any way.
These twin situations have led some people to believe that any intense passionate feelings when two people have just met cannot be relied upon as a good barometer of lasting Love. That because it is tied to 'lust', the 'real Love' comes much later on or not at all. We also talk of having a 'Passion' for something: an interest, hobby or activity that gives us great joy. Thus we can usually tell how meaningful something is to us by how we feel about it; the way it moves us to want to express our feelings for it and be devoted to it to greater levels.
And that's what Passion is, in a nutshell: the intensity of feeling we have for someone or something. It is not a thing in its own right, like Love. It has to be associated with something else to have any value. It gains its existence by demonstrating how much we actually care about something that's important to us. Thus the degree of Passion is the giveaway sign.
Passion is like a marker, a ruler or yardstick, but it is not Love itself. Passion is essentially the intensity of the Love we feel. If we have rapidly lost our Passion for someone it's not because we didn't love them in the first place, or we only felt lust for them. It is more likely because, over time, as the person has revealed him/herself, our Passion has gradually decreased in its level, or increased, and we are feeling differently about them. So lust isn't really separate from Love. Both are the same at the beginning because both can take off or fall flat, depending on the level of Passion we feel for the object of our affection.
The driving force behind Love
It seems that Love has a chance to blossom and reveal its true self when Passion subsides, but not too much. If we use a numerical scale for assigning levels of Passion, say 7, with seven being the greatest level and one being the lowest, lovers who have recently met and are passionate about each other (the 'lust' phase), would be rating a 6 or 7 in their feelings. As the couple settle together, passion will steady itself to a 5 or 6, depending on how much the couple continue to affirm, nurture and validate each other. Those who have started to take each other for granted, but are still in love because the Passion is strong (chemistry) will have a steady rate of 4 or 5. But it seems that, for Love to continue with the couple indefinitely, the level cannot fall below 4. Level 3 in passion becomes highly problematic and levels 1 and 2 mean the relationship is dead or on its way out - unsustainable.
In essence, Love cannot exist without some kind of Passion because Passion is the driving force behind it. Passion allows people to come alive to one another. It gives a kind of adrenalin rush, regularly, but not constantly. It is fired up by interaction of one kind or another. When that does not happen, feelings subside too and inevitably change to something else more detached or negative.
If you are trying to work out how you really feel about someone just now, especially whether you love them or not and should marry or settle together, but you can't feel much Passion or you don't feel rejuvenated, excited or getting that butterfly feeling, please don't go there. Your Passion is at too low a level to start something with a long term commitment. Yes, your feelings of Love might increase, but then the person would feel more like a dear relative to you than a lover simply because Passion is the fire that lights your Love. When that fire goes out, so does the Love, eventually!
How much Passion do you feel in your current relationship? Try this QUIZ to see.
©Elaine Sihera (Ms CYPRAH) 2012
Emotional Health and People Management Consultant
"Happiness is a state of being. We are the ones who decide whether we wish to be happy or not, by the script we use inside our heads."