What makes the difference in any relationship is that each whole person is there and available for the relating. There are three aspects to this, and enhancing any one will really help any relationship succeed. This relationship advice really applies to any relationship, whether the first date, a brand new relationship, or a marriage.
|The first essential ingredient is approval. This means being emotionally available to the other person. When we are emotionally available, we are loving. I mean something wider here than simply saying nice things, I really mean the loving, warm, caring that emanates towards the other when we are emotionally available to that person. For some, expressing emotions readily is easy. For others, it brings up a feeling of vulnerability and being unsafe.
These feelings are generally rooted in a deep hurt experienced during childhood. When this hurt is felt, we emotionally bind up and harden because we don’t want to be hurt again. Noticing this hurt is the first step toward healing it, which allows us to become more emotionally open and vulnerable with another.
The second essential ingredient is turn-on or chemistry. For romantic love to be successful, there has to be the enjoyment, really the exploitation, of that sex energy. Unfortunately this energy can get dampened, by schedules or cultural norms or other beliefs. And fortunately, it can actually be turned back on. This starts with deliberate attention on the turn-on in the relationship, then learning the skills necessary to cultivate it (seduction, structure, flirting, and maximizing sexual pleasure, etc).
The third essential ingredient is “realness.” By this I mean, honesty, I mean being real with the person now, being present with the other person moment by moment. This is really can be the most challenging aspect of relationship, and there really is no easy way to do it. All we can do is be real NOW, no matter what the circumstances.
A nice aspect of all of this is that couples can support each other in the different areas, especially if one is strong where the other is weak. For example, someone strong in approval can approvingly request and help the other be more approving! Or if one is weak in realness, the stronger partner can point out when a situation isn’t feeling very real to them.
And finally, knowing that simply being more approving, turned-on, and real will improve a relationship is a relief! Whether looking for dating advice, wanting to improve a good relationship, or thinking about marriage counseling, this knowledge takes much of the mystery out of relationship problems!