Giving one’s self entirely to a romantic relationship and trying to please your partner as much as possible may certainly contribute to the maintenance of a love affair, however, the most important strategy to pursue if you want the relationship to grow stronger and more meaningful is to seek intimacy. The more intimate a relationship between two individuals, the thicker the bond that ties them together. Intimacy means more than just sex. The ultimate foundation of intimacy is the ability to tell each other “secrets”. These are self- disclosures that one partner shares with the other which, in a real sense, exposes their vulnerability. It’s very much like letting your guard down and allowing your partner to see you in your absolute “nakedness.”
Self -disclosure is an important element in building trust and confidence in relationships. Without it there would be no real intimacy. One partner reveals something of themselves, for example, and the other partner reciprocates. It isn’t a confession, nor is it the seeking of solace and forgiveness. It’s simply a way of engendering trust and commitment.
Self -Disclosure as a form of gaining intimacy can also be therapeutic. It’s a powerful way of defusing stress which can interfere with the quality of time we spend with our partner. This is particularly true with job related stress. Nothing can dampen a romantic evening more than a bad day at the office. That’s why taking time out to “dump” on each other before dinner is a great way of relaxing and enjoying each other. It’s a means of relieving ourselves of feelings and emotions that bother us. One way of obtaining the most from the experience is to place aside a specific time of the week at a favorite haunt, maybe after work, and just take turns talking about the vexations and annoyances that might have occurred during the week. The key is not to criticize nor judge, but to listen. The objective is to unburden ourselves of stress in a secure and loving environment, without fear of being told we did something wrong, or it was our fault. By openly discussing the issues that hurt us we often find the solution to the problem ourselves by merely listening to our own voices as we relate the incident. This can only be achieved when two individuals have reached the point in their relationship that allows them to bare their souls to their partner in a mature, caring and empathetic manner. This is true intimacy.