It feels so good to be loved! Caring friends, a spouse you feel grateful for, and close family and community all contribute to an optimal life. In modernized societies, intimacy with other people is even more important because it helps us thrive in a busy and ever changing world. What most people don’t realize is that intimacy requires skills that can be learned at any stage of life. You can improve your success in your love affair, marriage, and relationships with children and friends in very practical ways. Relationships that work require skills, not luck or magic.
This means you can achieve a happier and more rewarding love life than you thought possible, no matter how good you both look to each other in the morning! And you can repair a damaged friendship or bond with a child, even if you don’t see how this can be done right now. You wouldn’t expect a child to know how to read prior to learning the alphabet, would you? So why should you have already learned the skills necessary for the quality relationships that you want if no one has ever taught them to you? Your kids won’t know either, unless you teach them. This multigenerational problem of failed and unhappy marriages and partnerships can continue, almost like a curse, within a family. But you can change the direction of your own intimate life and the lives of your descendants by improving your relationship skill levels now!
Let’s begin this conversation by focusing on your romantic relationship. While we all have high hopes for love, few people, even those who consider themselves well married, are able to maintain pleasurable levels of romantic love throughout their lifetimes. Romance is an experience that requires the use of specific expertise and most people are not sufficiently trained. Because we all change as we mature, the learning process must continue throughout life.
A Vicious Cycle Between Lovers
The more frustrated and desperate Dave feels for love and affection from his overly busy, sexually disinterested wife, Ellen, the meaner his demeanor gets. The meaner he gets the more Ellen feels pushed away. The further away she feels the less inclined she is to show love and physical attraction. The less inclined Ellen is the more desperate and demanding Dave becomes. The more desperate Dave feels the further away Ellen wants to go. And the cycle continues on in a downward spiral.
Dave and Ellen need to learn that they are involved in a vicious cycle before they can break it. Then they must learn how to interrupt it. To interrupt this vicious cycle both partners must become more compassionate of the other’s feelings and position. This is not an innate inclination, even for people who love one another. It is a learned method for reversing vicious cycles. Dave needs to reach out in kindness, offer support to Ellen so that she feels naturally inspired to offer the affection he requests. Ellen must acknowledge that her beloved’s needs are important, remember that pushing Dave away worsens the problem and allow herself to behave lovingly until she feels her underlying loving feelings. Neither partner has an easy job, and yet both will become better partners and people by learning these skills.