The Four Keys to a Great Relationship

“A couple holding two small shells next to each other to form a heart shape” by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Want a great relationship? You need four things, in no specific order: time, attention, affection, and sex.

Time, Attention, Affection & Sex — Whats the Most Important to You?

For a better relationship, take a look at what you need in one or more of these areas. If you think about it, you might need more or less of something, and your partner may need something different.

For instance, you may complain you aren’t spending enough time together, but your partner might blame your relationship problems on not enough sex.

If you had more time with them, you’d have more sex.

See? These things are related. To have a good relationship, figure out what you need, and what your partner needs, and in what area. And then it’s a simple formula. Balance your time, attention, affection and sex, in a way that works for both of you.

Time. How much time do you need to spend together to make you happy? Frankly, it doesn’t even matter what you are doing, it could be hanging on the couch or running errands. But if “time” is your thing, you need it.

For me, time is my language of love. If you love me, you’re with me. If you’re not around, you obviously don’t love me. It may not make sense to you if you’re not a “time” person. I didn’t have parents around when I was a kid, so I need someone who is generous with their time.

If you want to hang out with me, and just ‘spend’ your time on me, I will fall in love with you immediately.

Attention: Some people need a lot of attention. To some, that might seem needy. But let’s give the “attention” needing people a break. They are usually the ones who can give a lot of attention/focus on pleasure; both yours and their own. They can clean the house, paying close attention to the details. They are attentive at work and they can cook a great meal too.

Don’t disrespect the attention people.

We all love it when people ‘pay’ attention. Attention is a form of commerce, but you can’t really bank attention. Think about how much you are ‘paying attention’ to your partner, and how you could be better at it in your relationship.

Affection: Affection is a totally necessary part of a healthy and successful relationship. And a good sex life. You need to touch and explore your sensual side in order to connect physically and make love. Affection can heal, solidify and ground your relationship, and is a precursor to real intimacy. And it’s a door to eroticism. Why wouldn’t you want it?

Some people just aren’t touchy/feely. But if you want better sex, and more attention, take the time to touch your partner more. Hold their hand. Touch their hair. Do it. Reach out. Do it now. Go on.

Appreciation: Maybe the most important part of this four part relationship pie is appreciation. The secret to the universe is, in fact, appreciation. Have you ever noticed that you always get more of what you appreciate?

Pointing out what you aren’t getting never works. But appreciating what you love about your partner always seems to up their game. And it makes us feel good when they notice what we’re doing well.

Think about these four key areas; time, attention, affection and sex.

If you want to improve your relationship, find some new ways to show your partner you’re thinking about them. Reach out. Spend time. Pay attention. And appreciate what you have.

It’s the secret to the universe.

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Dr. Tammy Nelson is a sex and relationship therapist and the author ofGetting the Sex You Want and The New Monogamy. Find information on recovering from infidelity, enhancing your sex life, and improving your relationship at her site.