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Building or Strengthening Your Relationship

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Building or Strengthening Your RelationshipPart of what sparked my interest in writing this article was a very stressful episode my wife and I went through. As many of my readers already know, I underwent arthroscopic surgery for a rotator cuff injury to my left shoulder. The post surgery experience with physical therapy proved to be more daunting than either one of us ever expected.

Aside from post surgical pain, I was dealing with the side of effects of prescribed pain killers like oxycodone (No one will ever convince me that its not an evil drug), stretching exercises at physical therapy, wearing a brace and sleeping upright at night and dealing with feelings of depression that frequently accompany surgery.

My wife and I, married over forty years, noticed that this experience brought us even closer together than before.

That is the topic of an article written by Robert Epstein for Scientific American magazine, called "Keeping Love Alive, Scientific American Does Its Part."

His research on relationships revealed that emotional intimacy is fostered and maintained by the following:

1. Strong sexual attraction.

2. Engaging in physical activities together such as going on bike rides and the gym.

3. Gazing into each other's eyes. This is not staring. The difference between staring and gazing is that, in gazing two people consent to look into one another's eyes. As Epstein points out, there is an agreement to be naked in front each other.

4. Doing new things together, whether its travelling or going to new events and adventures.

5. Feeling vulnerable and allowing your partner to provide comfort or allowing yourself to give that comfort.

Epstein states that studies show that, world wide, people in other cultures who are in arranged marriages, gain the same type of intimacy and closeness through these types of activities.

So, if you want to work on improving your relationship, these are a few of the ways to do it.

In addition, if you are looking for an intimate relationship then these same activities are also important. That mutual gaze can really help ignite a friendship into a romance.

Please remember, relationships take hard work.

What are your experiences, please share them, and your opinions and comments?

Allan N. Schwartz, PhD