Note:  This is the second of a two-part series. Click here for part one

This Valentine’s week, perhaps it is time to concentrate on how to strengthen the connection and improve the intimacy in your relationship.  How well connected are you with your intimate partner?  Answer the following questions, taken from Pat Love’s book The Truth About Love.  How often do you:

  1. Feel the sense of working as a team toward a common goal?
  2. Have a serious disagreement, then make-up with little effort?
  3. Look in your partner’s eyes and get a rush?
  4. Share a good laugh?
  5. Tell your partner just how much you care?
  6. Feel comforted by your partner’s presence when under outside stress?
  7. Get a thrill from your partner’s touch?
  8. Miss your partner when you are apart?
  9. Feel you partner’s support?
  10. Experience pleasure at the sight of your partner?
  11. Feel moved by your partner’s thoughtfulness?
  12. Enjoy the feel of your partner’s body?
  13. Get engrossed in a pleasant activity the two of you share?
  14. Experience tears with your partner?
  15. Feel touched by your partner’s vulnerability?
  16. Feel connected to your partner from a distance?
  17. Feel calmed by the comfort of your relationship?
  18. Feel comforted lying next to your partner?
  19. Have the experience of being in love with your partner?
  20. Feel appreciation that your partner is in your life?

If you answered “often” to most of these questions, congratulations.  It sounds like you and your partner have kept the connection strong.  However, if you can’t answer “often” to most of the above questions, then please consider Love’s suggestions about how to strengthen the connection between the two of you:

  • Ask yourself:  “What is best for the relationship right now?  What should I be doing?  What should I stop doing?  What does the relationship ask or require of me right now in order to be closer, stronger, better?”
  • Now ask yourself:  “How well am I tuning into my partner?  How well have I been paying attention to him/her?”
  • Try to learn more about your partner, and his or her struggles, fears, aspirations.  What does s/he worry about most?  What helps him/her manage stress?  Who is his/her hero?  Heroine?  What is s/he most afraid of?  What has been the saddest event of his/her past year?  The most humbling event?  The most humbling event of his/her life?  Which activities bring him/her the most joy?  What is s/he the  most excited about these days?  What are his/her goals over the next five years?
  • If you want to strengthen the connection with your intimate partner, you must be able to listen without interruption; continue to hear even when you disagree—and be patient enough to hear it all; tolerate constructive criticism; be calm when your partner is not; give information/feedback in a non-judgmental way; be a talker as well as a listener; and express yourself even when you know your partner isn’t going to like what you say.

If you do these suggestions, this could be the sweetest Valentine’s gift you have offered in a long time.

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