Bring Back the Love and Intimacy

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Human beings are forever looking for loving connections. Every one of us is constantly searching for a special someone and until we find that person, we yearn to fill our empty lives with love and intimacy. This constant need to fill a void in our life compels us to enter into one relationship after another; if we don’t get what we seek in one, we move forward and keep looking. What do we seek? We all need someone to share our thoughts, hopes, desires… We all search for a person who thinks as we do, who gets us totally, with whom we can talk anything and everything or simply share companionable silence, a person who is our best friend, whom we cannot do without in our life. We all need love and intimacy, and we all find this in different ways. Some people find this within themselves, others in a good friend, their partners or someone else – so long as you find this in a healthy and constructive way that honestly works for you, and not in a way where you are hiding or running from something.

Why Do Some Relationships Work while Others Don’t?

Jack and Ruby were going steady for six months. They looked good together and seemed perfect for each other. Everyone thought they would end up together. Guess what? Ruby fell for an Englishman and went and settled abroad. Jack was crushed and still is bewildered, “Everything was great, I tell you! The sex was amazing. We had a lot of fun. Then some English chap with a funny accent comes along…” Ask Ruby and she would tell you, “Yeah, I love Charlie’s sexy accent… But that wasn’t why I left Jack. He never listened to me! And he only had sex in his mind!”

People tend to confuse intimacy in the relationship with being physically intimate, which is just sex. Sex can cloud our minds into thinking that we are in love. But, there are so many aspects to love that when the sexual attraction wanes, we are left with wanting more. What we all look for is not simply sex, but something more – a relationship that could last.

I have always wondered why some religious leaders abstain from sex? Maybe this is to have clarity of mind and search for intimacy and personal growth? Who knows!

Many people believe that women look for love and intimacy in a relationship, sex is secondary to them, and men are happy so long as the sex is exciting. This is not true, men as well as women, if they want to settle down, look past mere physical attraction. For a relationship to truly work out, the two people need to achieve a harmony of their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual selves. Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? Not at all! Ask yourself these four simple questions.

4 questions | bring back the love

4 questions for you

  1. Do we have similar values?
  2. Do we share a vision of our future? (Together?)
  3. Do we have comparable self esteems?
  4. What binds us together despite the differences?

Values are at the base of our decisions and behaviours. We are not aware of them all the time, but they exist in us at all times. If you have common values, you are increasing your ability to agree on things and want the same things in life and relationships. Just a quick and obvious example: You value monogamy, but your partner doesn’t. I guess that makes the point.

A vision of the future helps to keep the path together. If both of you want to adventure and travel the world, then that is one thing; however if one wants to settle and have a big family but the other wants to only travel the world, what should you do? Look at the top five things you both want in the future and see if they match. Some ideas: Children, place to live, work, free time, and education.

Comparable self-esteem will also help to hold values and visions aligned. This is probably the hardest to explain, and since this is just a blog and not a book, I will try to be to the point via an example. Is there a film star that you have a crush on? Can you imagine having a relationship with him or her? What will happen from a value and vision perspective? How would you feel when you are with them: Will you look at them as equal or look up to them? This is why the word “partner” is important – an easy way to understand equivalent self esteems. If you are at the same level and feel like a partner, then you have equivalent self-esteem.

We live in a fast-paced, consumeristic world today and we all expect immediate gratification. Our craving for love and intimacy leads us to enter into a physical relationship with a person that we are attracted to. When we discover that our need for intimacy in the relationship is not fulfilled, we wake up to this fact and break it off. It turns out that our mothers were right after all when they warned us to wait until the right person comes along.

But What of Those Who Have Been in an Intimate Relationship for Years?

I met this Indian-Australian couple at a party a few weeks ago. Ajay and Leela had recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. Looking at the two people who were still obviously very much in love, I wondered aloud, “How do you do it?”

Ajay laughed, “Oh! I always remember birthdays and anniversaries!”

“No, you don’t,” countered Leela, “You get by because you happen to have an excellent secretary!” She turns to me, “Ours was an “arranged” marriage. Ajay’s parents were orthodox and they wanted an Indian bride for him. So our families arranged for us to meet. We found out that we had read the same books… I love cooking and he loves gourmet meals, and even though we ended up arguing about cricket, we liked each other and we got engaged. We started out as friends, and over time, we learned to love one another. He encouraged me to study further, he is supportive of my career, and he is a good father too.” Her husband beams, “It was love at first sight for me! I was determined to win her over!”

Elderly couple - love and intimacy

Grow old together!

I could see that they understood each other well and complemented one another beautifully. Ajay is mercurial, but Leela is calm and grounded and brings out the best in him. The secret to their success – they made time for each other and worked on their relationship.

Their story only reiterated my belief in my four simple questions technique.

Another couple, William and Edna, have been married for 12 years now. They were going through a rough patch and had been separated briefly when Edna discovered that William had cheated on her. They wanted to start afresh and sought relationship counselling. The couple had been trying to have a baby for two years. They had both gone through a battery of tests, but the doctors did not find anything wrong and advised them to just keep trying. William complains that Edna became obsessed with taking her temperatures and getting the timing right. “I felt as though a light had gone out of our relationship. Our sex life had become mechanical. It was as if she was having sex with me only for the sake of getting a baby.” Edna argues that wasn’t the case, but agrees that they had been fighting a lot and they were missing the love and intimacy in the relationship. It was around that time that William had met another woman. He says the affair wasn’t serious, although he had never meant to play around. He still loved his wife and never meant to hurt her, but he was feeling lonely and he wanted to feel needed. Edna says she is still angry and hurt, but she admits that she was in the wrong too and is willing to undergo couples therapy and try to get their relationship on track.

Is Your Relationship Worth Saving?

Can you bring back the love and intimacy into your life?

Can you bring back the love?

While there is still hope for William and Edna, too many times couples who had been in a relationship or had been married for years simply pull away. The spark – the love and intimacy in the relationship – had long since gone! Why does this happen? Couples break off a long-time relationship when they can no longer put up with each other – when every fault seems magnified and when they can no longer forgive or forget. Here are some reasons that couples blame each other for: Ego, envy, selfishness, waning of sexual attraction, lack of love and intimacy in the relationship, holding grudges, lying, breach of trust, cheating, not having your back, slighting you, always picking fault, nagging, or even abuse.

On the other side of the coin, many relationships can be saved by undergoing couples therapy and the love and intimacy in the relationship can be rekindled. If you have been together for a long time or moving away will cause you both to hurt more – if you think that your relationship is worth saving – then both of you should ask yourself the same four questions:

  1. Do we have similar values?
  2. Do we share a vision of our future? (Together?)
  3. Do we have comparable self esteems?
  4. What binds us together despite the differences?

In the same way that the questions help you to understand if a relationship worth starting, they will also help you answer if the relationship is worth continuing.

Here are some other questions that could also help:

  1. Has your partner been kind and patient with you?
  2. Has your partner been supportive during times of adversity and always protected you?
  3. Has your partner always been your foremost well-wisher?
  4. Can you overlook each other’s faults?
  5. Does the good outweigh the bad?
  6. Can you forgive and forget past mistakes?
  7. Do you love your partner?

If you answered yes to the above questions, or at least to some of them, then you can again evoke the love and intimacy in the relationship that you once had. Couples therapy can help you voice your concerns and connect with your partner again. You can call the Centre for Emotion Focused Practice, South Yarra, and ask for an appointment for an initial consult.

People fall out of love; however, unfortunately, sometimes they end up detesting each other too. If they are married and have children, then the kids suffer along with them. Here at the Centre for Emotion Focused Practice, we offer couples therapy to get you back together, but if that is not possible, we help you to resolve your conflicts amicably so that you can move on without holding on to a baggage of hate.

Couples Counselling at the Centre

The following are practitioners at the Centre who have experience with couples and relationship counselling:

To get an appointment or to make enquiries, please call (03) 9820-5577.

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