The earth’s atmosphere is stabilized by a very thin ozone layer which keeps temperatures on the planet in check. If you haven’t already seen Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, I urge you to do so. It crystallizes the fact that the fragility of our atmospheric conditions requires a renewed commitment to a sustainable way of living. It has changed how I think about what really matters on a daily basis.
The greenhouse effect and fragility of our atmospheric conditions provides a sound metaphor for how the language of sustainability translates to the concept of Making Love Sustainable. The atmosphere in which love thrives can be defined and cultivated. Just as is the case with global warming, small daily changes can make a huge difference in our planet’s well being- the same is true about daily loving acts in a relationship.
Sustaining an atmosphere for love to grow starts with how we think about our partner, both when we are together and apart. Our thoughts set the tone for the time that you share as a couple. In turn, the quality of your time together is influenced by your ability to talk to each other. Taken together, these factors coalesce and define the quality and quantity of touch and intimacy in a relationship.
Our thoughts are incredibly powerful, they keep us connected or they drive us apart. When was the last time you monitored the emotional quality of your thinking about your partner? Giving people the benefit of the doubt, giving up the need to be right, and looking for what is loveable in your partner will help you to choose thoughts that sustain a loving atmosphere.
The art of conversation is yet to be fully discovered between the sexes. Men and women have very different ways of expressing and listening to each other. Begin your work in this area with this sensitivity and don’t take missteps personally. The goal of talking should be to develop a sense of communication; and sometimes that means engaging in conversations that may not be particularly interesting to you, but promotes an atmosphere of togetherness.
Being together doesn’t mean constant dates, but every now and again, it is nice to take time away to really be with someone. However, on a daily basis, creating an atmosphere of togetherness can be accomplished through small acts: Instead of reading the paper, offer to help with dinner. Share a funny story, recount part of your day, or offering to listen to your partner’s day is a more sustainable choice than putting on the television.
While it’s true that happy couples share a satisfying intimate life, the reverse statement- a satisfying intimate life doesn’t necessarily imply a happy couple is also true. Touching- the sharing of your physical body with your partner opens both the height and the depth of a what a loving relationship can offer. It is the glue that holds couples together during their most challenging moments, and yet it is not the answer to a troubled relationship, rather it is the response to the work of sustaining a relationship.
Sharing physically intimate moments requires a leap — a leap out of our normal day to day physical boundaries and a willingness to go deeply into ourselves and another person. Creating a sustainable love environment of kindness and respect provides the safety net for the leap.