Interdependence-this refers to your “couple identity” or the amount of togetherness you might need within a romantic relationship. Obviously, this can be a source of great joy or can be an aspect wrought with frustration and disappointment. When a person feels a high amount of interdependence, they want their significant other with them a great deal of the time.
They feel an immense closeness and almost feel “complete” with them by their side, and “incomplete” when they are not near. This interdependency creates high amounts of intimacy in couples where both people value interdependence and find strength in each other. They enjoy the physical contact and emotional sharing that comes with interdependence.
Intimacy-besides the obvious physical aspect, there is also an emotional aspect to intimacy. When a couple shares deep emotional intimacy, it opens the doors to greater and more fulfilling physical intimacy because the partners feel completely loved, understood, and protected by each other.
The amount of emotional intimacy in a relationship can vary as widely as the amount of interdependence, and again, it can create a phenomenal relationship, or one of great turmoil. To allow oneself to be completely vulnerable with their partner is scary to say the least.
This vulnerability can be something physical-i.e. a part of a partner’s body they are less than pleased with- or some secret they hide deep within themselves. Allowing the exploration of this vulnerability will only heighten the feelings of intimacy and love, however, if one of the partners exploits that vulnerability, this can be detrimental to the relationship, and will probably become the beginning of the end.
When the full trust and love is present, the doors open and the vulnerability becomes a great opportunity for intimate sharing, which ultimately leads to even greater emotional intimacy and love.
Self-efficacy-this refers to one’s level of motivation, self-image, and belief in one’s capabilities to complete any task at hand. Self-esteem, sense of self, and a high sense of accomplishment are all characteristics of high self-efficacy.
People use many words to describe self-efficacy without using that term, such as, influential, confident, accepting, motivated, calm, cool, collected, controlled, even-keel, and adaptable. They are known for getting the job done, and whether that be in work, their family, or their romantic relationship, they tend to know what to do, how to do it, and just get the job done.
In a romantic relationship, this can be a source of great growth for a couple. If one or both of the partners has a high sense of self-efficacy, they will accomplish great things as a couple both within the relationship, but also in their community and family. Family is usually very important to someone with high self-efficacy, and they tend to have a strong influence on the partner.
Relationship Readiness-this refers to the preparedness of a partner to enter into a romantic relationship. People with a high relationship readiness tend to have clear goals and visions for their romantic relationship, as well as for their lives in general. They have clear cut career goals, family goals, spiritual goals, financial goals, and of course, romantic goals.
They understand the hard work and emotional investment necessary to have a relationship that will not only last a lifetime, but be the most rewarding aspect of their lives. When two people share the level 3 (see previous article) relationship, there is virtually nothing they can’t overcome, accomplish, or create!!
Communication—yes, that all too elusive piece of the puzzle that so many relationships crave but just can’t find. The key to the golden door, the ticket to the kingdom, the pass to the world of passionate ecstasy for life! Having the capacity to be sensitive to the emotions, body language, and speech of your partner through listening not only with your eyes and ears, but also with your heart. Some people are very adept at this, and others will really have to work at it before it becomes “natural”.
Some people will clearly share their needs and feelings when someone engages them, but probably would not take the initiative to let others know their feelings very often. Others are willing/able to squelch feelings deep down, and while this might seem like a safe way to “keep the peace”, it also leads to mistrust and a lessening of intimacy over time.
Being able to openly and honestly share your thoughts, feelings, and emotions without fear of being judged or hurting the other person is an aspect of a level 3 relationship, and will ultimately bring greater joy and intimacy.
Conflict resolution-this brings us to the all important aspect of a relationship called conflict resolution. How do you deal with disagreements, differences of opinions, differing values, morals, and even ethics? Are you flexible in finding middle ground or a compromise or do you stand your ground for what you believe? In a relationship, there are always going to be differences of opinion, and therefore knowing your conflict resolution style and that of your partner’s is a rather important thing.
Do you avoid conflict at any cost; giving in just to keep the peace; or do you sit down, evaluate the possible solutions, and together come to a conclusion that is mutually acceptable? Or do you often feel attacked and then retreat because you feel your thoughts, emotions, and feelings have been devalued?
If you can step back from any situation, look at the bigger picture; what is the ultimate goal; then you will probably have a very positive conflict resolution aspect within your relationship.
This can be a very tough dynamic for many couples. If we take ourselves out of the equation, put our egos in check, and focus on what the ultimate goal is, not only will we make ourselves and our feelings known, but it will be in a non-threatening way that will lead to greater communication and can lead to sharing of more vulnerabilities which lead to more intimacy in the relationship.
Sexuality-yes, it is a very important part of any romantic relationship, and there are many aspects of our sexuality that a couple need to share with one another. Sexuality involves the needs-i.e. frequency, expressions, boundaries, etc- of the partners when it comes to physical intimacy. If one partner is very open to certain sex acts, but the other is not, this can become a source of great pain and loss of intimacy.
Open and honest and candid communication about what ones likes, dislikes, boundaries, and fantasies are in the beginning, can save both partners from loads of stress and disappointment in the future.
Being open about your values about sex can be a great place to start. Do you value sex as just an animal instinct that serves certain needs or do you see it as a beautiful sharing of two people; body, soul, and spirit? Are you a hopeless romantic that is always coming up with creative ways to seduce your partner or do you like to just spontaneously grab them and take them to the bedroom (or wherever your thoughts take you)?
Again, being candid about your expectations, even though sometimes uncomfortable in the beginning, can lead to intimacy and a level of physical sharing never thought possible, so give it a try! I think you will be glad you did!! 😉
Expressions of Affection
Expressions of Affection-this refers to how you like to be shown you are loved or thought about or appreciated by your significant other. Do you appreciate hearing words of appreciation, love, etc? Perhaps numerous phone calls, texts, IM’s, etc. throughout the day? Or do you like it when your partner performs certain household duties without being asked, such as taking out the trash, vacuuming, dusting, doing the dishes, organizing a closet, cleaning the garage, etc?
Or are you a person that gains the most happiness through touch? When your partner swoops up behind you and hugs you and then begins to swirl you around and playfully kisses your neck, ears, lips, and forehead? Are do you prefer little (or maybe not so little) tokens of affection-flowers, candies, jewelry, cars, yachts, jets, etc)?
Knowing what you like AND communicating this to your partner, is very important. Sometimes we think they should know what we like, but they just are clueless, and we get upset about it. How easy would it be (not to mention how satisfying) to let them know how we like to be shown we are loved? When they know, they are much more apt to give love in the way we want or need to receive it, and both partners will be happier for the sharing.
How can I help
Well, I have shared a lot of information with you in this article, but this is really just the tip of the iceberg, and I would love the opportunity to share more at a deeper level. If your relationship is wonderful and you would love to see it get even better, I would love to help get you there. If your relationship is perhaps one of the weaker aspects of your life right now, but you want to make it great, I can definitely help get you on the path to intimate bliss with your partner!
If it is just a better relationship with yourself, this is a relationship that should never be under-valued, and I would love the opportunity to help there, as well!