What is intimacy anyway? Intimacy is a hard one to verbalize but many of my clients describe it as a feeling sense that takes years to enrich. Intimacy truly is about connection on many levels – mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. And, in a long term relationship, we tend to let some of these areas “slide” and over emphasize other areas. Rich intimacy in all areas takes time and attention as anything of great value does. Volumes could be written about each of the following keys, but here is just a brief listing and description of the seven keys to lasting growing intimacy:
1) Mutual communication about thoughts, feelings and values
This means that quality time needs to be set aside for such open and honest communication. And, when one partner expresses such a truth, the other must listen without judgement, even if he/she doesn’t agree. And, when the one sharing feels 100% heard, then the other can respond from the “I” expression.
2) Skilled negotiation about conflict of needs and desires
This actually implies two parts: first of all, expression of both partner’s needs and desires to recognize if there is a difference – and then, coming to an agreement to reach a happy give and take, ensuring that each gets at least part of these needs & desires met.
3) Conscious sex
Conscious sex means sex in which both parties are fully present in the moment and willing to communicate about what is going on inside, what feels good and what doesn’t. And conscious sex does not just begin in the bedroom. It begins with every interaction and plenty of daily nonsexual affection and expression of appreciation, love and adoration for one another. With such regular expression of love, if either partner is feeling bored with what goes on in the bedroom, he/she will feel safe enough to express this in a respectful and loving manner. There is so much more that can be said about keeping sex conscious and great over the long haul – but it starts with this presence and “regular deposits of love” to build the degree of trust to try new types of touch, foreplay and sex to keep the sex fresh, alive and… intimate!
4) Individual growth
It takes two evolved people to create an evolved and continually intimate healthy relationship. And our growth is never finished. The wonder of your intimacy will grow as you individually grow and have something interesting and new to bring to the relationship. This individual growth includes unearthing limiting ways of thinking, believing and acting – and taking full responsibility to eliminate these and replace them with independent happy expansive ways! And, guess what? You have a wonderful built-in constant way to become aware of these limiting ways! It’s called an intimate relationship.
5) Relationship growth
Your marriage or partnership never “arrives” at its pinnacle of perfection! There will always be room for growth. A new shot of joy and intimacy will be infused into the relationship if a concentrated time and commitment is made, maybe through a workshop, a romantic vacation or private couple mentoring (coach, counselor or a spiritual/religious guide) to focus fully on the relationship and how it can deepen.
“If it can’t have some lighthearted fun in it, then why bother?” This is the motto I carry in all areas of my life. Relationships are most rich when we can observe and adore the precious child of each person and allow time for these inner children to come out and play! Regular shared laughter is a key ingredient to cementing the bond of lasting love and friendship.
This is where we step out of our enclosed unit and expand to the world and higher values of contribution and connection to a greater sense of all connection. And a wonderful relationship makes us stronger as individuals and as a couple to be able to contribute greatly. When we reach out to expand spiritually and give outside our small microcosm of friends & family, this is what truly makes a relationship grow and come to its full fruition.
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