In this series I will wanderingly explore the concepts behind what defines the quality of a marriage.  How can a marriage be objectively evaluated? And even more importantly what can be done to grow it toward excellence?

What Does Sizzle Look Like?
In this post I’d like to consider the face of sizzle.
Because my definition of sizzle involves an emotional response I need to consider the emotional psyche as I try to give examples of “sizzle in action”.
wave.png (2.7KB; 400x175 pixels)
The human emotional response consists of waves of highs and lows.  Some highs are higher than others and the same applies to lows.  Some are record setting low points while others are only slightly lower than the norm.  Unlike the waveform I used as an example, I do not believe that a peak high must be preceded (or followed) by a peak low.  Life wanders through the ups and downs, all in varying degrees at varying times.
One thing is certain – when you’ve peaked in either direction you can only reverse course, at least until you once again reach a peak and reverse course yet again.  There’s no avoiding this, that’s the definition of a peak.
So we can conclude from this analysis that’s in life’s journey we are either moving toward a peak or away from a peak.  Life is anything but static so there’s no camping at a peak for very long.
Can sizzle exist in a continuum of ups and downs, or must it appear and disappear?
Sizzle, by my definition, sounds as if it should be a heightened sense of euphoria which does not end.  On the other hand, this flies contrary to my observations of the human emotional cycle.  So that would appear to answer the question with an resounding “sizzle comes and goes”.
If sizzle comes and goes, what ignites it?  Does it just happen?  Is it the natural result of the highs?
What are the real differences between the emotional highs and lows?  Aren’t they largely defined by what’s going on inside me and not the external events around me?  If sizzle must be ignited, there must be a threshold of ignition; a point below which there is no sizzle.
Of course this begs the question that if sizzle is tied to my emotional highs and lows then what good is it to gauge a relationship?  If I am at a below-the-sizzle-threshold low and use it as a barometer of my relationship the indicator will show my marriage is in serious need.  Conversely if I use it as a barometer when I am at an emotional high then my marriage walks on water – which may not be the case.
So where does this leave me?
That’s a very good question I ask myself.  In a flash I am seeing my self-appointed brilliance.  Remember that definition of sizzle?
siz·zle (szl)
an internal condition in which one is motivated at an emotional level by a constant state of unrest due to anticipation of what has yet to happen
I see it now, it’s the anticipation!  If my relationship has sizzle, then regardless of the highs or the lows I am anticipating that emotional condition.
Sizzle does not just turn on during the emotional highs.  Sizzle carries through the highs and lows.  Sizzle is that which is either the light at the end of the tunnel or the bright sunshine outside the tunnel.  Sizzle doesn’t turn on and off – it is. Granted we may feel up and down but with sizzle it’s all got that upward focus of anticipation.
So what does sizzle look like?  For that you’ll need to read The Face of Sizzle since this post has outgrown it’s britches.
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