However your romantic coupling, there are 5 basic foundational ingredients that should be present in order to instill a sense that everyone involved is being nourished by the coupling.
1. Mutual Respect.
Respect and kindness both received and given are paramount to any healthy relationship. Respect allows for each person’s uniqueness to come forward and have a place. Without respect, one or all partners can become resentful, alienated and/or harbor feelings of shame for feeling like they are not good enough.
2. Communication of Feelings.
So often in relationships the fights and arguments that we have are in fact due to us not being able to effectively communicate how we are feeling. Whether or not someone has taken out the garbage is not the issue. The feelings that created the resentment is the real issue. These kinds of feelings can be anything from, not being appreciated for one’s efforts to not feeling the other person’s attention in the relationship. The thing to remember with arguments is that they only address what is on the surface, but the feelings that are driving the argument are what are important to flesh out.
3. Supporting Each Other’s Growth.
Everyone has a natural propensity for growth in his or her life-to test the boundaries of what their talents and abilities are. It is up to us as partners to help and support that growth. A healthy relationship should be something that we can lean on when we are feeling doubtful about our abilities. By supporting one another not only does it propel each person to be their greatest self, but it also strengthens the relationship by given a greater sense of support and love that builds stronger intimacy.
A wonderful way to view the word intimacy is to break it down into, (in to me you see), which is accurate to what intimacy feels like. Any healthy relationship, if it is to go deeper, will at some point require all parties involved to share more of themselves with their partner. What makes intimacy so hard and so important is that everyone has more vulnerable and tender parts of themselves, and the exposure of those parts can be frightening in a relationship as we can be hurt when others know our weak spots. When a relationship is able to make space and have love for more vulnerable parts of ourselves to come forward, a greater feeling of intimacy, love, and connection can occur. Intimacy allows for greater bonds to occur as each person is coming with more of himself or herself into the relationship.
5. Playfulness and Laughter.
The fifth and final ingredient, and one of the most important, is playfulness and laughter. We all want to enjoy our lives, to find things that make us happy. We all want to experience love and connection. Playfulness is one of the greatest ways we can appreciate our partners and our relationships. It is the crucial ingredient that brings a light heart to our interactions. If playfulness and laughter are not present in a relationship, it can become cold, void, and in some cases hostile. By inviting joy and laughter into our relationships, people are able to feel more tender and optimistic about their connection with their partner. Nietzsche summed it up best with his quote,
“A person’s maturity consists in having found again the seriousness one had as a child, at play.”