Marriage & Family Life: Passion is the fruit of romance intentionally cultivated

by Adam Storey | January 28, 2018

Passion is the fruit of romance intentionally cultivate

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and with it comes rising expectations, mounting frustrations, and a little bit of panic for men and women (but mostly men) everywhere.

Some people might find it especially fitting that this year Valentine’s Day kicks off Lent. Valentine’s day tends to focus on romantic love, and while it can be stressful, I think there is also a great blessing here if we have the eyes to see it. 

I work with a lot of engaged couples, and engaged couples tend to be in the middle of romantic love. These are the couples that go over the top on Valentine’s Day. Their relationships are flooded with romantic gestures, nice dinners, love notes and well planned surprises.

And then they get married. For many couples the romantic gestures begin to fade, and so does the romantic love. I know people who have felt deceived by love. As they lose their passion, they lose their commitment because they think that, in order to be authentic, their choices must follow their emotions.

But this is where Valentine’s Day has something to teach us.

I believe that instead of having our choices follow our emotions, we need to recognize that our emotions can follow our choices!

Much of the passion that we see in the engaged isn’t causing romantic choices, instead it is the fruit of the romance that they are intentionally cultivating. And that passion is available to all of us, as long as we’re willing to put in the effort.

It does require effort. We all fall into routines that can remove some of the spontaneity and spice of marriage.

There is nothing wrong with the simple fidelity to daily life that makes up so much of marriage, but Valentine’s Day can be a reminder that our emotions are formed by our choices, and that passion takes work. It takes a commitment to the romantic gestures that no longer define our relationships, but which can greatly enrich them.  

This is a lesson that I need to be reminded of often, but this year I’m hoping Valentine’s Day can serve as inspiration to again show my love and gratitude for my wife, Kara, through romantic love.

I want to challenge all of us to find a concrete way to cultivate romantic love in our own marriage, knowing that these choices are what fuel our emotions!

Adam Storey

Adam Storey leads the Marriage Ministry Department for the Diocese of Des Moines, which seeks to work with parishes and couples, walking with all families in all their stages, in their joys and sorrows, their celebrations and challenges.