Build a Long Lasting Love
What does it mean to have an Intimate Relationship?
Do men and women think differently about intimacy?
First, it’s important to recognize that men often think of intimacy in terms of sex; women in terms of a heartfelt feeling and loving thoughts. So who’s right?
True romantic intimacy involves your head, heart, and body. You can’t have true intimacy without the first two components. It involves a loving relationship based on a foundation of good communication, expressed affection and caring, physical proximity and sexual intimacy. It involves physical and emotional connection to another individual who you care about tremendously.
A relationship that successfully nurtures intimacy is a relationship likely to last a long time.
How to develop and maintain intimacy
It’s easy to feel loving when times are good and you and your significant other are enjoying each other’s company. The challenge is to maintain this feeling and commitment over time … across challenges … when life throws you a curve ball. This is where the normalcy of working on your relationship kicks in.
When there’s tension in your relationship, remember your partner’s positive qualities and what drew you together early on. Hold these feelings close to the vest, remember these qualities and experiences during both happy and difficult times. Forgiveness is a love and marriage essential which requires understanding, empathy, and sacrifice without which a relationship is sure to fail. Making love and the passion of sex produces a natural high that can boost oxytocin levels which decreases the stress hormone cortisol and facilitates bonding. Laughter is the medicine that can help cure the weight of a hard day. All these feed the level of desire and commitment you have towards one another.
Enhance Communication. Being a ‘good listener’ is often more important than ‘making your point.’ Use healthy listening skills (focused attention, no distractions, listen for content, use statements that indicate your understanding of what’s been said) to nurture a positive relationship. For more information, click here.
Incorporate surprise, adventure and spontaneity into your relationship. Put time and energy into your relationship and make a conscious effort to sustain passion in your relationship.
Develop your Conflict Resolution Skills. Develop skills to resolve conflicts in a healthy fashion. Don’t leave for work or go to bed angry. Disagreements will occur, but anger toward your spouse is usually unhealthy.
Date Night. Plan ahead and schedule one night alone with your spouse/significant other each week or two for the two of you to be alone. Remember when you first met? Take the time to make this evening special … dinner, a show or movie. Be a romantic – give your spouse a greeting card, flowers or a share a poem you found off the internet that encapsulates the love and appreciation you have for them.
Remain Loyal. Remaining committed in heart, head and pants is foundational to all intimate, loving relationships. Loyalty means not cheating, not defecting and not ignoring. Family first.
Practice Forgiveness. Demonstrate the strength, kindness and humanity to forgive those close to you who you feel have wronged you. On the other hand, express a sincere apology when you have wronged someone you love.
Get it On. Physical intimacy can range from the gentle touch of two hands as you sit watching TV together, to “spooning” as you share words of appreciation and love with your spouse/significant other, to physical contact leading to sexual climax. Intimacy requires touching, and the more a couple experiences a full range of physical contact, generally the more satisfied they are.
Adapted from Psychology Today, Rita Watson (12/12/11)
Couples counseling can be very effective at helping individuals work through problems in a relationship. Effective counseling may be able to “save” a relationship or marriage. Don’t wait until one person is walking out the door, or serving the other with “papers.”
If you and your significant other are facing any relationship challenges, or you just want to enhance your already well-functioning relationship, please call BSS at 213-252-3090.