There is so much to all of this, but if you remember these basic ABC's, and use them as a platform by which you grow your relationship, it will surely be full of love.
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"A B C
It's easy as 1 2 3
As simple as do-re-mi
That's how easy love can be!"

- ABC, The Jackson 5

When we first fall in love we like everything about each other. We want to understand every little thing our partner thinks and feels. We touch, we kiss, we play, we laugh, we make love, and we cry together. We merge.

As time goes by however, these things can fade away. That attention to each other can gradually erode. We can take each other for granted. We can lose our passion. Those loving bonds that were so strong in the beginning can start to fray, and the beautiful, radiant couple you started out as, begins to dim.

To keep your relationship passionate, fulfilling, and flourishing, there are three main ways to encourage a continuing and growing connection that keep the doors of intimacy wide open.

The three basics of intimacy are: PHYSICAL, MENTAL, and EMOTIONAL. It's obvious when you think of it, but like in any art - and love is an art - these values are in all of them. Like 1-2-3, or A-B-C, these core components are the underpinnings of any long-lasting relationship, and it's important to connect in all three ways.

The first is physical. Believe it or not, the sparky, sparkly, hyper-passionate physical aspect of love can wane. We can grow complacent with each other. We can lose interest and become indifferent, or just perfunctorily go through the motions. We forget to hold hands. We forget to touch each other in all those intimate ways that we did when we first met. Like sitting really close on the same side of the table telling each other long stories about our day, or snuggled into each other's arms while watching the big game, these constant little touches make continual loving connections that reinforce the relationship. They bond us.

And, those things that you first fell in love with like his eyes, his scent, or the sound of his voice - are still there.

But we need to remember to notice them. It's easy to take each other for granted. You can forget how his crooked smile makes you laugh, or that when he's nervous he stands very straight and serious. All those little quirks and nuances are endearing!

A simple touch, a soft smile, or a little kiss can go a long way. It's easy to forget the importance of these little demonstrations of love. Holding hands, looking into his eyes, touching his arm softly while you are talking together, are all little acts of love. These loving touches are the physical demonstration of a deeper connection. It is the first layer, and it's an important one.

The second layer is mental. It's important to stay mentally connected. We need to continue to learn and grow together. Socializing, camping, reading, taking walks together, cooking together, raising children together, are all examples of a growing connection that is stimulating and compelling, and finally life-history making.

Most especially, we need to nurture easy and open communication so we are able to talk through problems, differences of opinions, and can come to consensus over the myriad challenges that come up in life.

Finally, the third layer is emotional. This might be the most important of all, for this is the glue that binds a relationship into something more. An emotional connection creates the safety and security that allows you to laugh together and cry together. So much so that when you simply look into into each other's eyes you feel safe, you feel loved, and you feel seen - and he does too.

As a minister, when I marry a couple, I say this: "A happy marriage is a long falling in love. You keep falling in love with each other again and again." That takes work. That takes attention. Our relationship is like a fertile garden. We need to nurture it, weed it, prune it, fertilize it, until it becomes a thriving, ripened, flourishing garden that can feed a family and beyond.

There is so much to all of this, but if you remember these basic ABC's, and use them as a platform by which you grow your relationship, it will surely be full of love.

Diana Lang is a spiritual teacher and author of

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