How do you build a strong love relationship? What are the most important things in a relationship? And how do you increase intimacy in a relationship? We glad you’ve asked because there are five ways you can build a strong intimate and long-lasting relationship.
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to discover how to create and maintain a healthy, loving relationship. I had been to couples therapy, I had earned a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology, and I had been doing my growth work for many years.
But still, my intimate relationships were fraught with conflict and pain.
I seemed to attract and be attracted to men who were highly critical and controlling. Being driven by shame, I thought that if I were just a little bit nicer or slightly more perfect, my partner would be happy.
I believed that I was responsible for making others happy. Which also meant that I thought that I was accountable for their pain. In my childhood, I had been conditioned to play the abused wife to a critical and controlling older sibling, and I continued to play out this pattern with my intimate partners.
But the pattern was outdated.
Although I found safety by appeasing my older sibling in childhood, this behavior was a trauma response that kept me from having a deep and loving connection as an adult.
As a psychotherapist and relationship coach, facilitating people in disentangling from unhealthy relationship dynamics begins with cultivating sovereignty. Once a person is aligned with their higher self and embodying their wholeness, then they are ready to love and connect in a way that breeds intimacy.
5 Ways You Can Build a Strong Intimate Relationship
Stay curious about yourself
It’s easy to project your own experience and feelings onto other people.
Projections are the mind’s unconscious attempt at making sense of the past in the present moment.
When you feel triggered in relationship to your intimate partner, stay curious about yourself. What are you feeling? What’s the feeling beneath that feeling? What’s the more profound experience underneath that? This is the first step in cultivating a clear mindful connection.
When we own our experience fully, we’re no longer entangled in the projections of younger parts and can choose a new response.
Cultivate a deep sense of self-love
As you stay curious about yourself, it’s important to love all the parts of yourself.
Knowing that the world around you is a reflection of your inner world, your self-love is essential to experiencing a loving relationship.
Your inner young one, your shadow, your pain, and your disowned parts all need to be welcomed and loved to meet your relationships from your wise, mature self.
Claim your anger, own your subversive motives, and be loving to yourself as you do. The practice of turning toward yourself with love allows your relationships to have room to breathe. Otherwise, you may lean too heavily on your partner, and this can stifle real love from emerging.
Try Self-Forgiveness and Loving Kindness Meditations by Jack Kornfield; people who practice loving-kindness meditation regularly are able to increase their capacity for forgiveness, deepening connection to others, self-acceptance, and so much more.
Stay present in yourself
When your mind is over in your partner’s world, figuring out what they need to do for everything to be better, you’ve left yourself.
Even if the thing your partner has said or done was distorted or shadowy, staying in yourself is the way to create a good connection. To do this, you need to share with your partner about what’s happening and how you feel in a relationship; they need to understand how their words and actions impact you. Sharing this will let your partner know the effect they’re having on you. As a sovereign being, you embody self-responsibility, sure, but this does not mean that you are not affected by your partner. This is the paradox of the relationship.
Your Time and Attention is the most beautiful gift you can give
Once you’re able to be curious about yourself, love yourself, and stay in yourself, give your partner the gift of your dedicated time and attention.
Relationship happens in the present moment, and being truly present with your partner builds connection and intimacy. Even if you’ve been married for 20 years, you’ll never know what it’s like to be them. See the mystery within your partner, and attend to them as if they’re a precious jewel you want to discover again and again and again.
Be explicit about what kind of relationship you want to create together
It’s all too easy to fall into unconscious assumptions about how to be in a relationship. To proactively communicate about your desires, your fears, and your boundaries, you consciously co-create the type of relationship that can thrive throughout your lifetime.
How do you want to be together?
What do you want to create together?
What kind of life do you want to live together?
What do we want to put more attention on?
Create a vision for all facets of your life –– work, family, spirituality, sexuality, community, and so on and see how everything will start to flourish.
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