Sustaining intimacy and fulfillment in a romantic relationship can be challenging. Often, couples find themselves lacking true connection with each other as the daily routine of their lives take over. Intimacy is a creation that has to be tended to and cultivated. When we take time to consciously connect, we find that intimacy blossoms and our relationships become more fulfilling and rewarding.
While there are many ways to build and sustain intimacy, there are some basic practices and steps that can foster a deeper connection. This article provides advice on how to create a long lasting, meaningful relationship.
All of us have some sort of constant commentary running in our heads. This chatter keeps us from fully being in the present moment--the place where true intimacy arises. When we can drop out of our story, or our mind chatter, we can be present with our partner and see the other for who she/he really is. Relax and breathe deeply into your belly for four counts. Discover how mindful awareness of your breathing can silence the unending chatter in your mind and be the key to health, vitality and inner peace.
How many times do we think we are listening, just to find out that we have not heard a thing? Too often, when someone is speaking to us, instead of listening to the other, we are thinking about what we will say when it is our turn. Perhaps when our partner is communicating about something that is challenging for us to hear, we get defensive or angry, and we miss what our beloved is actually trying to tell us. To create intimacy, we must practice truly listening to our partner by dropping out of our mind chatter and being present. This opens the door to authentic communication and deeper understanding. Our partner feels heard and in turn, connectedness and openness grows.
Making eye contact is an act of intimacy. Taking time each day to truly look at the other person will create and sustain connection. Looking into each other’s left eye (corresponding to the right brain hemisphere) will give you access to being fully present with your partner and deeply connected to each other’s soul.
Laughter and orgasm originate from the same physiological center in your body. Both initiate the release of endorphins, which promotes a sense of well-being and mood elevation. Make practices, such as expressive dance or poetic improvisation, part of your daily routine to set free your creative energies and experience joy.
When we have been in a relationship for a while, it becomes easy to think that we know the other person, forgetting that, just like us, our partner is always changing and evolving. Taking the other for granted can lead to the common trappings of “he/she always does that” or “there he/she goes again,” which prevents us from seeing who our partner really is in the present moment. Taking time each day to find something to be grateful for about our partner can help prevent us going down the path of unconsciousness. Tuning into the breath and cultivating conscious listening allows us to step out of our preconceived notions and into intimacy with our beloved.
Communication is key to a fulfilling relationship. In order to create an atmosphere of trust and support, we must learn to listen outside of our own emotional triggers and defenses. This is not to say we have to agree with everything our partner says or that we are totally free of our own reactions. Rather, we should first listen to what the other is saying, process our own emotions and share our point of view. When we create a safe space where we can be fully honest and open with the other, deeper intimacy arises.
Like every new habit, finding time to add intimacy practices to your daily routine can be quite challenging. If you find yourself wondering when you will fit this in, take an honest look at your schedule and reevaluate your priorities. Maybe you can watch 30 minutes of television instead of one hour in the evening. Maybe you can take five minutes before bed to eye gaze or wake up 10 minutes early to spoon with each other. Once you begin to experience a new level of connectedness that results from these practices, you will look forward to doing them.
While sex is an intimate act, it does not foster true intimacy if done unconsciously. Intimacy arises in every moment that we are present and connected with our beloved. Esther Perel, a psychotherapist, sums it up when she says, “Foreplay is not something you do five minutes before the real thing. Foreplay starts at the end of the previous orgasm.”
ust like interrupting when your partner speaks can create distance between partners, not communicating also can create walls. Sometimes, when we have a difficult emotion come up or we need to share something that will be hard for our partner to hear, we resort to avoiding the conversation altogether. However, by not being open or honest with our beloved, true intimacy cannot arise.
Holding space for--or being present with--our own emotions and the emotions of our beloved, even when those emotions are difficult, will lead us through these difficult conversations and into new levels of connection.
Sustaining long-term intimacy is real and attainable. By following these steps and making a commitment to practice, you can achieve new levels of happiness and fulfillment with your partner and in your life as a whole.
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