Love is a commitment, not an emotion. When you first start dating and falling in love, everything is beautiful. But staying deeply connected in long-term relationships takes work, which is why men and women in truly healthy relationships regularly commit to nurturing their intimacy and deepening their connection.
The list to describe intimacy is long, vibrant and somewhat unique for every couple, as they each have their own dance in how they create closeness and space in their relationships. There is no closed door to how love works within healthy boundaries.
However, true intimacy is not emotion or thought-based. Emotions and thoughts come and go like the waves on an ocean, while lasting, intimate love is all about healthy mutual commitment.
That’s why the happiest couples in healthy, long-term relationships make conscious, action-based commitments to deepen their intimacy and stay in love.
They both motivate themselves to succeed and, when they experience conflict, friction or disappointment as all couples do. Couples see it as a part of their commitment to each other to work through their issues together. They perceive their conflict as a stepping stone to deeper love.
They educate themselves on the makings of successful relationships and invest in education, personal growth, work, time, energy, and full commitment to love.
Successful couples don’t lead by emotions or thoughts; they lead by their commitment to each other and their relationship, which makes them steadfast in their loyalty and leads to deeper intimacy and love.
Here are the 3 things men and women in long-term, healthy relationships do that strengthen their commitment, deepen their intimacy, and help them stay in love.
1. They love themselves, as much as they love each other
Men and women in committed, healthy relationships not only love their partners, they love themselves fully, as well.
Do you know yourself well? Have you stood up to your family relationships that injured your sense of worth, value, and your right to love? Do you have a strong support system? You trust your needs and care for them? Do you choose partners who have high emotional intelligence?
If your answers are “yes”, then luck is on your side and your relationship future looks bright. The more self-aware and committed you are to developing your own intimacy, the more likely you are to achieve it with your partner.
2. They are transparent, empathic, and compassionate with one another
These three things are nice to have in a relationship, but the lack of them is not always a deal-breaker. However, they help create a safe and welcoming feeling of connection between partners. The openness that is created between you as a result, is stronger than your inner fears.
That’s why the most intimate, long-term couples focus on caring for their relationship. When mistakes are made, they can carry on and have fresh starts. They talk about difficult topics — sometimes with empathy and compassion, and sometimes not. They know that perfection is not what is necessary.
What is important is that they are both committed to each other. They care for each other and hold the intention of staying strong together. They promise to keep working on it and making it good together by creating a trusting and nurturing environment.
3. They address conflict as a team
Couples in the healthiest relationships understand that conflict is not a deal-breaker, as long as it’s addressed clearly and authentically.
However, men and women tend to communicate in relationships differently, which can keep problems from being resolved. Women are often straightforward when it comes to confronting and expressing their concerns, while men tend to avoid confrontations.
That’s why couples who stay in love know that effective communication requires both flexibility and elasticity.
They address challenges in their relationship until they find a solution, even if it means the solution is to agree to disagree. Their commitment to each other is more important than anything else.
When blended with deep, healthy conflict can actually feel okay. The point is to focus on carrying on with your relationship in a win-win manner, while showing unconditional love for your partner that can invite an even deeper connection.
Staying in love is more about nurturing a caring and intimate connection with your partner, than it is being right or wrong.