Every person in a relationship
is responsible for co-creating whatever they experience in the relationship.
If you are in a relationship, review the two lists below and see what you are
creating more of: intimacy or distance. If you want to create
more intimacy, this list is a good guideline for how to do so behaviorally.
If you are unable or unwilling to do the things on this list consistently, you
may need help in learning how to do so.
FACTORS WHICH PROMOTE INTIMACY AND CLOSENESS BETWEEN PARTNERS:
consistent attention for one another and the relationship
one another and the relationship
healthy verbal communication
physical contact (frequency and type mutually agreed upon)
eye contact -passion, excitement and fun together
of physical and emotional safety at all times
surprises on occasion
expression of caring & tenderness as defined by your partner
expression of feelings
conflict resolution skills when conflict emerges
regular time alone together, without distraction
resentments expressed and resolved
expectations which are regularly communicated
what you want
and/or doing what is truthful and honest for you
honest and straightforward with your partner
of your partner's personality and characteristics
your partner's growth as an individual
responsibility for your relationship/life problems
understanding the impact of your family of origin on your relationship
time to listen to what your partner thinks and feels
the present and envisioning a positive future together
solutions and positivism
FACTORS WHICH PROMOTE DISTANCE BETWEEN PARTNERS:
attention to one another and the relationship
respect for one another and the relationship
healthy verbal communication
lack of eye
passion, excitement and fun together
physical and/or emotional abuse
predictable, routine interactions
expressions of caring & tenderness
conflict or avoiding resolution of conflict
time alone together
unspoken or unresolved anger and resentment
or unrealistic expectations and assumptions
afraid to ask for what you want
and/or doing only what you think your partner wants
deceiving, game playing, passive aggression
change your partner's basic character
your partners' growth as an individual
your partner for most or all of your relationship/life problems
the impact of your family of origin on your relationship
your know what your partner thinks and feels
problems and negativity
INTIMACY AND PASSION ALIVE
Intimacy can be evaluated in
many ways. These are nine questions that can give you a sense of whether your
relationship is in need of an intimacy tune up. Remember that there are no right
or wrong answers!
Nine Intimate Questions
(often, often enough, not enough, or rarely)
often do you show affection for each other?
often do you laugh at each otherís jokes?
often do you say something nice to each other?
often do you compliment your partner in front of others?
often do you make love?
often are you playful with each other?
often do you look each other in the eyes while talking?
often do you give each other a little surprise?
often do you say "please" or "Iím sorry"?
If you are disappointed
or dissatisfied with your answers or if you wish more of them were "often" or
"often enough", then consider this a sign that your relationship needs reviving.
Given that most of us
are working very hard and that a stressful life existence can be considered the
"norm", it is likely that our relationships are not getting the attention that
they deserve. Here are some pointers for you to consider without adding yet
another demand in your already busy world. These tips are intended to help you
cope and increase the intimacy and passion that are necessary for a healthy
It takes WORK.
No surprise but if you can remember that a relationship requires us to put
energy into it on a daily basis than you will be able to foster the growth of a
healthy and developing union.
2. You are a TEAM.
We are required to make many decisions in life regarding our careers as well as
our social and community involvements. Regardless of what decisions you make,
remember you are part of a relationship. The decision you make will affect the
relationship. Before you make a decision, ask yourself this question, ďWhat will
the choice I am making do to the people I love?Ē. Try to make the decision that
will have the least negative impact on your relationship and your family.
3. Be PROTECTIVE.
If you do not protect your relationship who will? Separate your partnership and
your family from the rest of the world. It might mean refusing to work or worry
on certain days or nights. You might end up turning down relatives and friends
who want more time with you than you have to give - saving energy for your
relationship. It may mean even saying no to your children to make sure you have
time with your partner.
4. Good enough is as PERFECT as it gets.
The reality is that we all have to make sacrifices and compromises in life. You
may have to settle for a job rather than a career that demands too much time or
travel. You may have to settle for less income in order to have a job that
allows you the time and energy for a healthy family life. Most of all, you will
have to accept that there is not enough time at this point in your life to do
and be all that you might aspire to be.
Unless you constantly communicate, signaling to your partner where you are and
getting a recognizable message in return, you will lose each other along the
way. Create or protect communication-generating rituals. No matter how busy you
may be, make time for each other. For example, take a night off each week, go
for a walk together every few days, go out to breakfast if you canít have dinner
alone, or just sit together for 15 minutes each evening simply talking, without
any other distractions.
6. Manage your ANGER.
Try to break the cycle in which hostile, cynical attitudes fuel unpleasant
emotions, leading to aggressive behavior that stress others and create more
tension. Donít confuse assertion with aggression. Watch your non-verbal signals,
such as the tone of your voice, your hand and arm gestures, facial expressions
and body movements. Deal with one issue at a time.
7. Declare Devotion.
True long term relationships require repeated affirmations of commitment to each
other. Donít forget that love is not only in what you say but also in how you
act. Do the dishes without being asked and of course, the age old custom of
bringing flowers to the one you love!
8. Give each other PERMISSION to CHANGE.
It is fascinating to note how much more couples know each other early in their
relationship than they do once they have been together for years. The reason?
People stop paying attention. If you arenít learning something new about each
other every week or two, you simply arenít observing closely enough. You are
focusing on other things, not one another.
9. Have FUN.
Human beings fall in love with the ones who make them laugh. They stay in love
with those who make them feel safe enough to come out to play. Keep delight as a
priority. Put your creative energy into making yourselves joyful and producing a
relationship that regularly feels like recess.
10. Be TRUSTWORTHY.
People trust the ones who validate them. Always act as if each of you has
thoughts, impressions, and preferences that make sense, even if your opinions or
needs differ. Realize your partnerís perceptions will always contain at least a
few truths, and validate those truths before adding your perspectives to the
11. Forgive and FORGET.
Donít be too hard on each other. If your passion and love are to survive, you
must learn how to forgive. You and your partner regularly need to wipe the slate
clean so that anger doesnít build and resentment wonít fester. Holding on to
hurts and hostility is a way of blocking real intimacy. It will only assure that
no matter how hard you otherwise work at it, your relationship will not grow. Be
compassionate about the fact that neither of you intended to hurt the other as
you set out on this journey.
12. Cherish and APPLAUD.
The most fundamental ingredient in the intimacy formula is cherishing each
other. You need to celebrate each otherís presence. Be gracious. Acknowledge all
those small acts of kindness each other performs in the everyday tasks of life.
People are amazingly resilient if given at least a little reinforcement for
Remember that there are
no perfect relationships. Keep these points in mind and may they help you foster
the love, intimacy and passion that we all need and deserve - even if we are
Adapted from Supercouple Syndrome: How Overworked Couples Can Beat Stress
Together. By Wayne and Mary Sotile.