It Doesn’t Begin in the Bedroom
A marriage can’t be sustained with romance alone. But added to security, meaningful communication, and meaningful touch, it can be a tremendous source of energy and growth.
Wise husbands and wives will take time to practice small acts of touching: holding hands in a walk through the mall, stopping to rub your mate’s shoulders for a moment, taking the time to gently hold your spouse at the door on your way out. These small but important acts can work like “super bloom” to a plant and green out a relationship.The most successful relationships are those in which each person feels safe sharing his or her feelings and needs. This is where our personalities and parenting histories strongly affect us, because many of us are fearful or uncomfortable about sharing such intimacies. Life is more predictable—more secure and stable— when you know that both of you are working toward a loving, lasting relationship. This is the foundation for true intimacy.Many men don’t realize it, but more than 80 percent of a woman’s need for meaningful touch is nonsexual. Sex does not begin in the bedroom. It actually starts in the everyday acts of truthfulness, consistency, kindness, touching, and talking that build a growing desire in a woman.
Genuine love doesn’t necessarily spring from feelings. Its basis is primarily a concern for the welfare of another. Although the feelings of affection will follow, genuine love is initially an action directed toward fulfilling an- other person’s needs. Persistent love — like the dripping of water on a rock — can wear away a person’s resistance. It’s nearly impossible to stay angry with or emotionally distant from someone who unconditionally loves and values you.
So many men and women treat each other as objects to be used. They may not verbalize it, but they maintain an inward conviction that their mate should do things that have never been discussed. This is like steadily pouring acid on intimacy. From time to time, my wife and I get together on a date, for breakfast out or just a retreat from home. During that time, we list our personal goals and commit ourselves to helping each other fulfill those desires. I feel so satisfied knowing that my wife is committed enough to sacrifice for my goals and that I have the same commitment toward her.
One way intimacy is blocked is when lives are filled with unhealthy behavior — poor health choices or sexual addictions that affect our daily conduct. To change those habits and addictions, we should first recognize our mistakes and admit when we’re at fault. Second, we must keep an attitude of wanting to improve. Third, we should share our feelings and needs with our mate and seek his or her understanding and support.Keeping your written relationship menu posted in a prominent household location provides a continual reminder of which values and rules you’re working toward. It generally takes about 30 days to start a new habit. So if you’re regularly working on attaining your goals, it will only take a month before you notice significant changes in your relationship.
4 ways of building intimacy
1. Stop waiting for things to get better — make a decision to work on them.
2. Acquire and practice new attitudes and skills that lead to fulfilling relationships.
3. Commit to changing your own behaviors first, without expecting your partner to change his or hers.
4. Support each other in your efforts so that neither of you feels alone or inferior.
4 Days to a Forever Marriage, By Gary and Norma Smalley.