Understanding and using these 6 ingredients effectively are key to enjoying a fulfilling love life.
Think for a moment about the things that fuel your inspiration and motivation to be in a relationship. Are they the magical moments when you discover your feelings of love for your partner? The tingle the first time you hold hands? Your first kiss, the intense desire to be with each other?
When we first start dating someone, our thoughts tend to be consumed by the other person. We might spend a great deal of time thinking about the next date, because all we really want is to just be with that person. As a relationship develops and you start spending more time with your partner, things usually start to change. You no longer have to think about when your next date is going to be, so romance is no longer "just being together." Each of us bring our respective backgrounds, attitudes and baggage into our relationships.
All these factors complicate our love life. The intense desire for romance and to be together is replaced by a more complicated set of needs and desires. Keeping intimacy and romance alive is not an easy task. My experience has indicated that there are essentially six ingredients that will help you keep intimacy, love and romance alive in your relationship. They are: trust, mutuality, honesty, intimacy, affection and sex. These six ingredients, when used effectively in the right amounts, will help you build a star-studded love life.
1. Trust: Feeling Safe With Each Other. Trust is a basic component of any friendship and is essential in a romantic relationship. Trust develops when you feel safe with you partner. It also develops when you know you can share yourself with your partner, and your partner will not harm or betray you.
Realistically, in a committed relationship, we let each other down from time to time. When trust is broken, it needs to be rebuilt before it is possible to work on the other aspects of a loving relationship. Easily taken for granted when present and devastating when absent, the bond of trust is fundamental to intimacy. I would encourage you and your partner to constantly build and affirm the trust that exists between the both of you.
2. Mutuality: Freely Choosing To Love Each Other. Each person must want to be in the relationship. Having a mutual relationship involves a decision to choose each other above all others and to make your relationship a priority, to be willing to grow together and to adapt to each other's changing needs.
I realize that there will be times when you want to have your "alone time," but in a mutual relationship, partners generally like to be together—even with the normal ups and downs all relationships experience. We all know what it feels like when someone we are with doesn't want to be with us. I'm sure you can think of a bad blind date or when your partner convinced you to try something that you know you would hate. Power plays and manipulation destroy the potential for intimacy, love and romance. When one partner always wants everything to be their own way, and resorts to nagging, threatening or manipulating to get it, the relationship is sabotaged.
Think about how good it feels when your partner makes you feel loved and desired through a twinkle in the eye, a gentle caress of the hand, or a loving comment. This quiet understanding naturally breeds security, confidence and romance, and you will naturally be mutually devoted to each other.
3. Honesty: Openly Communicate Your True Feelings. Honesty is as necessary to a healthy love life as sunlight is to flowers and trees. If partners do not have the ability to relate their needs and desires truthfully and without manipulation, their love life will fall apart. Communicating honestly and openly in conversations about intimacy and sex takes vulnerability, commitment and practice, but the rewards of being open and honest are well worth it.
4. Intimacy: Being Soul Mates And Feeling Close. Based on trust, freely entered into by both partners and fueled by honesty, intimacy is the intangible quality of unity, understanding and synergy that can move a relationship to the deep level as soul mates and lovers. Like the other ingredients, intimacy ebbs and flows over the life of a relationship. Other factors such as children can certainly challenge intimacy, and if that's the case, then each partner will need to work extra hard at it. When intimacy is low in a relationship, partners are not motivated to communicate on anything more than a superficial level, physical contact is perfunctory if not completely missing, and satisfaction and joy are lacking.
5. Affection: Giving Joy And Comfort To Each Other. Affection is an important part of a creative love life. However, many times the grind of every day life takes its toll and fills the space that should be saved for laughter, fun and pleasure. Lack of time to nurture the sensual side of your love life can lead to misunderstandings, and those can lead to less desire to take time to talk and resolve issues. When a relationship loses its spark, it loses much of its purpose. Too often this leaves partners wondering why they are in the relationship in the first place.
6. Sex: Joining Together Physically And Loving Each Other. The culmination of a star-studded love life is sex. A pleasurable sexual experience is the most intense and intimate thing a couple can share together. It's very important for couples to cherish their sexual relationship and guard it forcefully. A richly rewarding and stable sex life is not just a fringe benefit, it's essential for a relationship. In a healthy relationship, sex and love are inseparable. Sex serves a very serious function in maintaining both the quality and stability of the relationship, replenishing emotional reserves and strengthening the bond that exists.
Understanding all the ingredients—trust, mutuality, honesty, intimacy, affection and sex—will help you create your own star-studded love life. Far from being add-ons, these ingredients are key to a fantastic, fulfilling relationship.