Part 2: Three Essentials For A Long Lasting Love: Friendship, Intimacy, and Managing Conflict

Part 2 of 3

The second essential for a long lasting love is intimacy. But what does intimacy really mean? Is it feeling close with your partner, sharing your deepest emotions or making love? How do you build intimacy in your relationship to have long lasting love?

Strengthening the quality of intimacy in your relationship begins with learning new ways to communicate. This type of communication that I’m talking about is about sharing your deepest feelings, reaching out to your partner to learn about their perspectives, and together developing a shared meaning of their life together. When you do this as a couple, you feel closer and more connected emotionally. Happy couples have a unique ability to create a shared meaning of their lives together.

In addition to building emotional intimacy, physical intimacy and sex is a critical part of all relationships. Intimacy is about passionate sex, and in order to strengthen this area, you have to combine two things; sex and communication. Many couples struggle in this area, and have difficulty talking about sex. Couples need to learn new ways of communicating about sex in order to build intimacy and passion in their sex life.

There are great benefits to physical intimacy in addition to a closer relationship you’re your partner. What most people don’t know is that research suggests that spending more time kissing and touching one another in nonsexual ways can lower cholesterol, lower stress, and improve relationship quality.

Just 15 minutes worth of kissing one study showed, can reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. So I recommend spending time being more physically affectionate towards your partner, either kissing, or touching one another several times a day. A six second kiss, six times a day has great potential.

Another way to increase intimacy is to compliment your partner, and let them know that they are special to you, and that you choose them to walk through this world with you.

Initiating sex is another way to improve intimacy; however this is an area that couples struggle with. They’re afraid that maybe they’ll be rejected if they initiate or maybe they just don’t feel comfortable making the first move. Most couples don’t know how to talk about their likes, and preferences when it comes to sex. To make this more comfortable, and safe for couples to initiate, I suggest making a signal for how to initiate sex with each other, or to let your partner know you’re in the mood. For example, have a candle lit in the bedroom when it’s time for bedtime, or wear a special pair of pajamas that sends the signals that you’re in the mood for intimacy. Another great reason to have a better sex life is that research suggests that having sex three, or more times a week reduces stress, blood-pressure, cardiovascular disease, pain and many more health benefits. It also increases the hormone oxytocin, which builds trust, and brings couples closer together.

Carole Cullen