Affirmation that is genuine and free of agendas keeps the passion alive in a relationship, and makes it strong enough to get a couple through their dry times. “Affirmation” includes all the ways to say, “I love and appreciate you, and not just for what you do for me, but for who you are.” Affirmation between two intimate partners says, “I want to connect with you deeply, and make your life better, happier, and more successful through that connection.” Sadly, in today’s fast-paced, multitasking culture, many couples rarely slow down long enough to affirm each other in this intimate way. When a partner says, “I love you” the relationship is kept safe, but additional intimate affirmations, through touch, the five senses, and mindfulness, may be necessary to help the partners connect more deeply.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote in a love sonnet, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” Browning understood that saying “I love you” is just one part of showing love. Affirmations like, “That was a great dinner” or “Thanks for picking up my dry cleaning while I was stuck at work,” although necessary and appropriate, are based on what your partner did for you. In contrast, affirmations like “You bring out the best in me” or “ I value your insight” reveal your appreciation for who your partner is as a person. When partners back up their words of affirmation through sexual touch, the five senses, and mindfulness, their heart intimacy and physical intimacy grows and deepens, strengthening their relationship.
Sexual touch, the five senses, and mindfulness are forms of affirmation that go beyond words. Satisfying sexual touch recharges a couple’s chemical attraction for each other. The five senses are a couple’s gateway to sensory enjoyment that create powerful memories of how good it feels to be alone together. Through the senses, partners find ever-expanding options for affirming each other. Mindfulness helps partners pay attention to their own emotions, thoughts, and sensory experiences, in balance with tuning in to how their partner is responding.
Explore affirming your partner with intimacy to holistically grow and strengthen your relationship.
- Affirm through sexual touch. Touch your partner in a place on his/her body that you often neglect to touch. Try a range of firm touch to light touch. Your careful attention to touch tells your partner that you are passionate about him/her.
- Affirm through the five senses. Use color and lighting, scent, sound, taste, and temperature to create powerful positive memories. Scented sheets, mood music, fresh flowers, and flavored body gels are great. Remove things from your lovemaking space that direct the five senses away from your partner, such as a screen full of e-mails, or the sound of incoming texts.
- Affirm through mindfulness. Notice at least one time this week when your partner is genuinely affirming you, through words, sexual touch, or the five senses. Accept the affirmation. You deserve it!