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Romantic relationships – Part 2

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3. Confident Relationships Cont’d

You will discover the strength of being in a “Confident Relationship” when you:

o Limit physical contact to casual demonstrations of affection.

Although there is certainly room for more physical displays of affection, it is still in your best interest to deliberately limit your physical contact. Romantic and sexual arousal is one of life’s great experiences, but intimate physical interaction at this level will confuse your heart (1 Corinthians 6:18-19). A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself: ‘If we don’t get married, could I look this person’s spouse in the eye without guilt or regret?’{{more}}

o Spend personal time together with deliberate boundaries.

When dating, it may be safe to meet in places with bright lights, end dates at appropriate time, and talk about appropriate physical displays of affection. These simple principles provide emotional freedom within safe parameters.

Confident Relationships is the level at which most relationship mistakes take place. It is common for the two persons to be at different levels of attachment or to entertain thoughts of increased intimacy, even though it doesn’t fit in the relationship yet. Additionally, the ‘Confident Relationships’ stage helps you figure out if a love relationship is actually real.

4. Connected Relationships

This is the step you take when you get engaged. You have concluded this is the one you wish to spend the rest of your life with, so you exclude all others. The act of engagement takes the relationship to another level of intensity and provides time to plan the wedding. You will get the most out of your engagement when you:

o Courageously talk about everything: your dreams for life, strengths and weaknesses of your family, good and bad habits, fears you carry in your heart, and ambitions that drive you. You need to convince yourselves that you can handle life together without secrets.

o Increase your displays of affection

You will naturally begin to explore more intense ways of expressing your love to one another. It is easy to think: ‘We are going to get married anyway, so there is no need to wait;’ but self-imposed caution is still in order (1 Thessalonians 4:3). Someday your kids will ask you, “Did you wait until you were married to have sex?” You are designing the answer today.

5. Committed Relationship

This is the exclusive relationship we call marriage, where you merge your money, your decisions, your bodies, your social life, and your journey of growth. You will see the best and worst in each other. You will build great memories together. You will make ridiculous mistakes together. You will face setbacks and obstacles. And you will become intimately acquainted with someone who is every bit as imperfect as you. As a result, everything in marriage is intense and works best when you:

o Pursue selfless interaction

Your partner will know you well enough to comfort you at a deep level or create damage. Listening without giving quick solutions, showering your spouse with compliments, and developing non-verbal responses that create a safe environment are vital in marriage, even though they are optional in most other relationships.

o Explore physical ways of expressing love. The power of sexual intimacy is now yours to explore together without restrictions.

Prepared by Dr Jozelle Miller

For appointments for psychological assessments, call also 4579285.

Dr Miller is Health Psychologist at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.

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