Emotional Fitness

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The 4 Building Blocks of a Loving Relationship

Use these little tips to renew your relationship.

Fulfillment comes from building the life you have dreamed of. To create a great and loving relationship, you first need a strong foundation. Making sure that the cornerstones of your love are solid will give you the ability to weather the storms of real life. Here are four areas that, with a little effort, will support your connection.

Love - Although love is the bedrock of romantic relationships, it is only a part of what makes a relationship great. What most couples don’t understand about love is that it doesn’t exist in a vacuum, nor does it stay alive simply because we say the words “I love you.” Love requires that you take action and do things for and with your partner that show you care.

Learning how love grows and matures naturally, with the passing of time, will help all couples remove self-doubt and insecurity from their relationships.

Intimacy - Remember that sex is only a small part of an intimate relationship. True intimacy is really knowing your partner and feeling that they "get" you. Couples can learn to reverse the negative effects of too little intimacy by creating new behaviors with an “open to intimacy” attitude. Ask each other exactly what intimacy means to you and what you need from your mate to feel more of it. From a gentle caress to an overflowing heart, the art of intimacy always begins with the desire to be as close as humanly possible.

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Romance - Flowers and dinners out are commonplace at the beginning of a relationship, but it is surprising to learn how few couples recognize the importance of keeping romance alive throughout their lives, even when the novelty or the desire to impress is long gone. The key is that seemingly little things can make an astonishingly big difference. A cup of coffee, a text message, or a spontaneous romantic kiss will work. Follow your heart (and your partner’s lead) and commit to making romance a part of your daily life.

Sex - It can be a challenge to discover effective ways to integrate healthy sexual behaviors into your relationship. For example, one of the most difficult tasks for couples is just learning how to talk about sex. Even in our relatively open society, many people are too embarrassed or feel too uninformed to even broach the subject with their partners. For many couples, sex can present the most difficult of relationship challenges. By using an intuitive and gentle approach, couples can open up to one another in ways they may never have considered.

Use these little tips to renew your relationship or to revitalize it. Being proactive will get you there quicker and easier, and it’s more fun than you might think. Once you create a strong foundation, the joy of reconnecting with the one you love will make your lives richer, and you can build the relationship you both truly desire.

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Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist, columnist, and radio host. His latest book is The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.

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