Closeness and emotional connection require attention to maintain and deepen over time. Initially, two people who are drawn to each other may be swept away by the power of their mutual attraction and the pleasure of getting closer. The early days of a relationship can feel like a delightful whirlwind of powerful emotions.
In a long-term intimate relationship, however, the rush of feelings that accompany discovering love modulate. It’s not so much that they diminish, as come to occupy proportionally less of your attention than in the beginning. Developing careers, young children, and other responsibilities require consistent attention and nurture. It’s easy to take your relationship for granted, or to mentally postpone making a deeper connection with your partner until there’s more time to focus on it.
Make Time for Love
The trouble is, that time rarely shows up. Life is busy and demanding and it’s easy to just try for quickie sex now and then, the last thing before going to sleep. That often does not satisfy the need for deepening emotional connection. You may discover that bickering and misunderstandings are increasing, and feel that somehow your partner isn’t as tuned in to you as you would like.
Intimate relationships need consistent attention, to maintain the sense of emotional connection and closeness you desire. But how to find the time for it?
Create a Connection Ritual
I often suggest to couples in my practice that they create a ritual of having a quality connection every day – for ten minutes. That may not seem like much time, but the reality is if you try to have a profound two-hour conversation every day it just won’t happen.
How can ten minutes a day make a difference? Do an experiment: gaze into each other’s eyes for a minute (without talking, tv, phones, or other interruptions), then take a minute or two to share what you appreciate about your partner, and finish up with a long five minute hug. Deepen the experience by synchronizing your breathing so you inhale together and exhale together. For the hug, close your eyes and focus on your breath and your partner’s breath.
Caresses, kissing, clear communication from the heart, eye gazing, gently touching your partner’s face with your fingertips – all these are elements you can add to your ten-minute connection ritual. I encourage you to innovate as you develop meaningful ways to nonverbally express your connection with your partner.
What makes this work is being intentional about it. Decide when you’ll do your connection ritual — and show up and do it. Every day! It will pay powerful dividends in increasing the quality of your relationship.