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Lust Just Doesn't Cut It

There they were, seventeen years after they first met, sitting in my office wondering what went wrong. They had long ago stopped practising any kind of loving or caring behaviours toward each other. They were unhappy and frustrated.

They readily admitted that in their courting years, they had bypassed the caring, hand-holding, cuddling behaviours in favour of the more exciting forbidden fruit. They had never really practised being respectful or courteous to each other. Soon, the kids were born and life moved along. As they talked about their past together, they realized they had been “in lust”, not in love. The question became, “Could two people who had not been particularly in love, but had been sexually attracted to each other, now find the formula to fall in love 17 years later, with the added difficulty of a couple of teenagers running around the house?”

Our challenge was to find the spark that had gone out of their relationship, if it was ever there. They needed to feel a spark, a desire for each other, or they were finished as a couple. In my view, the fact that they were in my office looking for help left me feeling hopeful.

Relationships can be restarted if one person is truly committed to working at it and, almost by sheer will, bring the other person along. Of course, it is much easier and more often successful if both persons are willing to work at the relationship. Working at the relationship is the key.

Lust is like a Roman candle— booming, bright and full of fizzle.

“I didn’t marry you because you were perfect. I didn’t even marry you because I love you. I married you because you gave me a promise. That promise made up for your faults. And the promise I gave you made up for mine. Two imperfect people got married and it was the promise that made the marriage. And when our children were growing up, it wasn’t a house that protected them and it wasn’t our love that protected them – it was that promise.”

Thornton Wilder