How can we achieve an everlasting intimate relationship? This question lingers throughout the ages not because no one provides an answer, but because it is complex.
The difficulty in achieving everlasting relationship lies on its process. This is the reason why hundreds if not thousands of divorces happen each year.
In fact in America, statistics suggests that one divorce happens in every 36 seconds. That’s 2,400 divorces a day, more than 16,000 per week and more than 800,000 thousand a year.
Of course countries around the world outside United States are excluded. Meaning there’s more left untold.
Is there any way to minimize this ugly statistical report?
Yes, there is. But no one will truly achieve everlasting relationship without understanding the basic psychology behind it.
It is important to note that a relationship involves connection between individuals (intimate relationship involves two people). And when two or more people form a connection, conflict may possibly arise.
In the context of intimate relationship, conflict is often the reason why the union is broken. To attain a healthy and thriving relationship, we should understand its foundation first.
Needless to say that there’s a lot of work needed to be accomplished on both parties. The couple should understand that success in a relationship depends on them.
Thus both of them must strive for harmony.
What does it take to achieve an everlasting intimate relationship?
In this article I will discuss the foundation of a healthy everlasting relationship. To do that, let me use a psychological theory of love.
Robert Sternberg proposed a principle that helps predict the quality and duration of a relationship. Sternberg called his theory the Triangular Theory of Love.
This theory suggests that there are three interconnecting elements that play significant role in achieving successful relationship. All the components must be present in order for a relationship to last.
Here are the vital components of a healthy everlasting intimate relationship…
In a context of intimate relationship passion means desire and excitement towards another person. Romantic passion involves a powerful feeling to be close to a loved one, strong feeling of attraction and a burning desire to be with him or her at all times.
Intimacy in relationship means trust. It is also a type of connection between two people that develops over time. This connection starts at birth between you and your parents. As we grow older this tie expands into a broader context.
As soon as you explore the external world (going to school, work, meet acquaintances) the concept of intimacy has upgraded into a whole new level.
Therefore intimacy is a process that takes time. It takes time to build that deep trust in someone.
Some suggest that intimacy comes with different forms. It encompasses cognitive, experiential, emotional and sexual aspects.
Cognitive intimacy happens when two people share their opinions or thoughts on certain things. If two parties found it easy and comfortable to exchange ideas, they have healthy cognitive intimacy.
Experiential intimacy is a tendency wherein two people do things hand in hand. This does not mean that two people would always talk to each other. Sometimes, two people understand symbols or signs. It could be a smile, motion, or other bodily cues.
Emotional intimacy involves sharing of feelings. Emotional intimacy is best illustrated by showing sympathy and equal emotional response to a certain event. Let him or her know that you feel bad when the situation is bad and joy when good things happen.
Sexual intimacy involves sensual expressions between two people. Having this type of intimacy allows both parties to comfortably engage in sexual activities without shame. It is a level of understanding that is built from mutual trust and secrecy.
Commitment is another vital component of a healthy everlasting relationship. It is typically involves exclusivity, love, honesty, openness, promise, and loyalty. A relationship that is not built on commitment will be easily shaken by challenges that may come in a relationship.
According to Sternberg, in order for a relationship to flourish, these three components of love must be established.
When we go back to the stat report earlier, those divorces were the result of lack of these three elements.
When we examine the theory, the three components of love illustrate a triangular structure. This means that when one of the components is missing, the triangle will collapse. As a result, relationship or marriage will break apart.
The only question now is how can we maintain such harmony between these three components? How can we retain passion, intimacy and commitment in a relationship to make a relationship last longer?
Well, there are several options. But this heavily relies on individuals’ way of attaining relationship goals. For the sake of this discussion however, I will give some suggestions to achieve or improve passion, intimacy and commitment in your relationship.
To remain passionate in your relationship you should…
Take a break. What this means is that, sometimes you need to be distant from the person you love. The more space you create, the more you become eager to be close with your love one. By doing this you ignite excitement and passion.
Treat your love one the best way you possibly could. To do this, you need to realize that he or she is not just your partner in a relationship. Instead, he or she is your companion in business, in rearing your children, fixing and doing household chores, and your best friend. Why not treat him or her the best way possible? Be passionate.
Grow. Despite the speculation that passion does not last forever, clearly it depends on how you handle it. Every experience that you encounter helps you gain new knowledge. Use what you have learned from your experiences in every step of the way. Ultimately, over time, you will achieve a lasting passion in your relationship.
To maintain intimacy you should…
Communicate. One of the basic ingredients of a successful relationship is good communication. There must be a constant exchange of ideas and opinions between the two parties. Constant communication enhances harmony and reduces misunderstanding.
Conflict in any relationship almost always emanates from lack of communication. This is true even in business.
To make a relationship last longer, both parties must work together to settle any misunderstanding before it creates conflict.
One thing you can do to promote good communication is to choose the right words to say. Take care of the tone of your voice. Words and voice intensity are important components of communication. Any changes on these components may change the message you intend to deliver.
Conflicts most of the time arise from negative and irritating words. So be mindful on your utterance. Stay polite.
Always be reminded that communication is a two-way process. Listen to your love one when he/she speaks.
Know thyself. This concept is a thousand years old or maybe older. Knowing oneself is the key to understanding others – thus promotes intimacy. If one does not truly know who he/she is will most likely find difficulties in relating others.
Understanding oneself is easy to say than done. Many people think that they know themselves but in reality they don’t. So they always wonder why their relationship fails.
Knowing yourself allows you to effectively understand others too. As a result, you will become a good companion with others.
To develop commitment, you should…
Spend time with your partner. If you are working in a demanding job, chances are you have less time for your love one. This situation may impair the process of communication between the two of you. To avoid possible conflict, you should find ways to make time to spend with your special someone. Make him/her feel that you don’t take him/her for granted. This is an important step to keep your relationship going.
Involve your love one in decision making. Part of a committed relationship is trust. If you trust someone means that you can count on him/her. One way of showing trust is by involving your love one in decision making. Consult his/her opinion on every decision you are about to make. This makes him/her feel that he/she is important to you. The more he/she feels that way, the more committed he/she will become.
Take travel or tour together. Spend your leisure time with your partner in places where free of stress. Make happy memories during your vacation. This is the best time to share with him/her your future plans. Of course, always include him/her in your future plans. Make your love one feels that he/she is always part of your life.
To achieve an everlasting intimate relationship, one should understand the psychological principles behind successful relationship.
Like any thing in life, intimate relationship is complex and full of challenges. If you don’t know its basic components, you will likely end up in tragedy.
The triangular theory of love is a great help for those who want to be enlightened the secrets of a thriving relationship.
To achieve healthy and successful intimate relationship, you should maintain passion, intimacy and commitment. Doing that requires you to understand the vital components of love.
This is the only way to make your relationship smoothly going.
Good luck. May the long lasting happiness be with you!