Three years ago, when I was creating my OK Cupid profile, I was scrolling the long list of questions that would help me match up with my “Mr. Right.” I stopped when I came across the question:
Which makes for a better relationship? Passion or dedication.
I took a long pause as I faced what I believe to be a huge conundrum and the reason why many relationships fail. I knew the right answer for me was dedication, but I felt that most of the men I wanted to match with would put passion. I took a risk and publicly answered my truth, dedication.
I want to feel the immediate sparks, love at first sight, and all the exciting chemistry with the person I could possibly spend the rest of my life with; however, after being in relationship after relationship and not finding “the one,” it wasn’t happening. I had started to feel like the boy who cried wolf to my family and friends. I began to ponder what a meaningful partnership really looks like.
OK Cupid’s question is an important one, because it draws attention to two important components in a healthy relationship: passion and dedication. We need both. One does not supersede the other. Many relationships start off with fireworks, but fizzle out quickly. The passion doesn’t last for the long term. There was no foundation for a long-term commitment, or they weren’t right for each other to begin with. Instead, the physical chemistry was so strong that each person ignored the signs that they weren’t compatible. I have been guilty of this myself, and stayed with someone for two years because my attraction to him was so charged. I felt like this must be love, and it was something—intense and passionate—but after a long, honest look, we just weren’t compatible for the long haul.
My mother and father’s relationship development shows how dedication to creating long-term passion is possible.
They were set up on a blind date and when she saw him, she told me he was not her type physically, and by the end of the date he had a headache so she sent him home with Aspirin. He, on the other hand, was extremely attracted to her and wanted to see her again. He pursued another date with her. She decided to give him a second chance. He was smart, respectful, and funny, they had core values in common—and most importantly, he was good to her. She told me he grew on her. And so, over time, her recognizing the deeper more meaningful qualities he has, he became more and more attractive to her. They are still together 40 years later.
A year ago, I walked into work at the yoga studio where I teach, and a man was sitting behind the desk checking in his own class. I felt that familiar initial passion when I met him: attraction, curiosity, and a little bit of hope. It was the first time I had felt like that since my ex, so I was excited to get to know him. We started to go out, but this time it took a different route. We decided to dedicate more time to letting it grow. It was a slow process and there were little bumps along the way. Both of us struggled with the fact that our relationship didn’t have that immediate, intense passion that we were both used to feeling. We didn’t understand it, but we had honest communication, a strong friendship. We didn’t force it.
There were times when I was insecure, and wanted to hear the “I love you” and force the passion before it was ready. But we took it slow and spent time simply enjoying each other’s company, and being there for each other during the ups and downs of life.
Then something shifted, naturally.
The other day, my boyfriend looked at me and told me he did feel passion and excited about our relationship, and is genuinely in love with me.
In today’s society we have a need for instant gratification, and that translates into little patience to develop a relationship. However, it is possible that with dedication to a promising relationship, we can create long-lasting intimacy.
As a yoga instructor and practitioner, when I approach my mat, I know that every day is going to be a different experience; it’s a journey. Some days are good, and others, not so great. Does that mean we stop flowing? Do we give up? We can apply this to relationships. Flow, time and dedication create the agni (fire). Fire is passion, and to obtain enduring passion, it takes time and dedication. This is the love that will endure. Yoga Sutra 1.14 says when practice is done for a long time, without a break, and with sincere devotion, then the practice becomes a firmly rooted, stable and solid foundation.
As we practice and are diligent on our mat, so it is in our intimate relationships. Long lasting passion grows and develops over time, like our practice. Our practice isn’t something we jump into without thought or commitment. Instead we approach our mat with grace, curiosity and the willingness to let things unfold. This practice is a great practice to take off the mat and into our intimate relationships.
This practice helps us create a long lasting passionate and committed relationship with “the one.”
Author: Dana Kraft
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Author’s Own, by photographer David Tufino