Monday, September 14, 2009

Four Small Additions Bring Joyful Relationships

A recent survey of 4000 couples married for at least sixteen years, prompted author Pamela Regan, PhD to write on the four key areas in relationships that seemed to make a significant difference with regard to how happy folks felt within their partnerships. These are the four points that seemed to make all the difference:

Physical touch: The group of partners in the study wanted to be hugged, cuddled or just touched about four times daily. They enjoyed the physical connection expressed in affectionate terms and liked small consistent doses throughout their day. A hug in the morning before leaving for work, a kiss or hug upon returning from the day, a quick touch on the arm when passing one another in the home, sitting close on the couch watching TV or reading in the evenings, these small actions all added to the feeling of closeness within the relationship.

Gestures of courtship: When partners first meet there are many displays of courtship within the relationship. Over time as the partnership moves on to one of long term intimacy and commitment, these small but important gestures often get lost in the day to day activities of life. Partners in this study were appreciative of efforts made about once in ten days to be mindful of courtship and make efforts in this direction. It doesn't have to be complex. Simple gestures are often the best. Running a bath for a partner tired and sore from a days work, turning down the bed at the end of the day, lighting candles at the dinner table, bringing home a bunch of daisies, offering a light back rub, these simple but thoughtful gestures go a long way to making partners feel special and loved.

Supportive action: Lending a helping hand without being asked can be one of the most effective ways of showing the love we have for our partner. The study group enjoyed these supportive actions on average three times a month. Cleaning up after a meal, helping out with the the laundry, raking the leaves, grooming a pet, making coffee in the morning, all these small gestures are non verbal ways to show the feelings we have for our partner as well as making their responsibilities in the home lighter.

Couple time: The partners in this study enjoyed an average of two dinner dates out and seven cozy nights in each month. Nights out are a special gift to a partnership. These times allow partners to reconnect with one another in an intimate way without the distractions of family and home. Cozy nights in work well to reinforce intimacy. Spending time talking and sharing the events of the day over a glass of wine or a cup of tea without the background noise of the television or radio allows partners to reconnect frequently and catch up on each others lives, a vital part of maintaining closeness between those in a relationship.

As we strive to improve the quality of our relationships and the joy we give and receive in interacting with our partner we may choose to add these four small changes to our daily lives. In addition to the self care we practice within our daily routine, we can enhance the quality of our partnership and our own lives by practicing compassion and consideration in our daily interactions. In this way we give ourselves the gift of intimacy.

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