Ask anyone who is in a long term relationship, whether married or not, and they will tell you that these intense relationships can be hard to manage! They tell us that “it’s hard work” to keep a marriage going well and that it’s also about “give and take” and “compromise”. Achieving complete marriage intimacy is the goal of most couples, but how do we get there and what do we need to learn?
One of the first things we need to learn is to refrain from being overly critical of our partner. That doesn’t mean that we can’t disagree with them, but it does mean that we have to put in some effort to shift our focus. (This is one area where the hard work comes in!)
Once we’ve been with someone for a long time, we can easily get into the mindset of only seeing the things that we don’t like and completely fail to see the many positive aspects of the relationship. The problem with this approach is that it actually creates more of what we don’t want! The more attention we give to things that we feel need fixing, the less we focus on what is good.
When we make a little effort to shift our focus onto the positive characteristics of our partner and our relationship, we find that it gives rise to a strengthening of those qualities. We will discover that we experience the good feelings like love, consideration, warmth, enjoyment and fun more often and with greater depth – creating the marriage intimacy that we long for. (In fact, we don’t really create more as such - we just recognise what was always there!)

So let’s test this theory. Write a list of all the lovely things about your partner's personality and the wonderful things that he or she does. If you’re finding this difficult, try thinking about the day to day elements such as:

  • playing with the children
  • working hard to earn money for the family
  • being affectionate
  • being loyal
  • having a good sense of humour
  • being ambitious
  • generous
  • stable
  • sincere

These are just a few examples to get you going. There are literally hundreds of positive, descriptive words to choose from to describe our partner when we make the effort to, but this is just the first step. Once we’ve remembered what we love and like about our partner, we need to stay focussed on these qualities and consistently give our attention to them.
When you notice your partner exhibiting one of these qualities – tell them how much you like that about them! You’ll find more often than not that your partner will appreciate the positive comment. The result of working on this is that they will be more likely to compliment you and your special qualities.

Can you see where this spiral is going? Yes – it’s going up! Over time your marriage intimacy will increase, simply by paying attention to what’s good. Try it and see for yourself!

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