YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- With Valentine's Day approaching and love in the air, wouldn't everyone, especially the long-married among us, like to know the secrets to lasting intimacy?
Yorktown Heights residents (and married couple) Patricia Johnson and Mark Michaels , the authors of four books on relationships and sexuality, offer the following secrets to great relationships:
- Love is Profound Interest
If you’ve been together for a while, chances are you’re less thoughtful, less focused on your beloved, and less appreciative. You have the power to change this and recreate some of what it was like during the early stages of your relationship by becoming profoundly interested in your partner.
- View Your Life Together as a Co-Creation
By their nature, relationships are co-creations. When things are going well, this awareness will serve to nurture your connection. If you can remember that, you may be able to look at your partner and whatever you are facing with more compassion.
- Take Pleasure in Serving One Another
This suggestion may seem radical, but the best way to find fulfillment is to turn your attention away from your needs or wants, your partner’s failure to meet them and your emotional state, and instead focus on your sweetheart. Doing so is likely to help you get outside of yourself.
- Maintain a Sense of Mystery
True intimacy is about having the skill to be at once separate and connected and being able to tolerate the sometimes paradoxical demands of striking this balance. Seduction involves both mystery and the promise of at least partial disclosure. Although every “other”—even someone with whom you’ve spent many years—remains fundamentally opaque and mysterious, it’s easy to forget this when you know a great deal about another person and have spent a lot of time together.
Look for the couple's next title, "Designer Relationships," published by Cleis Press on Sept. 15.
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