The understanding, trust and intimacy that comes with closeness is healing for relationships and individuals. When you are "on the same team" as another, this kind of closeness happens naturally. Cooperation in close relationships increases feelings of well being for both partners, but can be inspired by just one. Cooperating and having understanding, trust and intimacy in a relationship really isn't nearly as difficult or complicated as one would think. Many of us human beings tend to enjoy making things challenging when they are actually quite simple, especially with the things we want the most but have never had. Although most of us can remember times when a relationship was flowing very nicely and there were wonderful feelings of closeness, this usually seems to be fleeting and conflict, tension or distance prevails. However, this doesn't have to be the case. In my opinion, if you've done something once, you're capable of doing it all the time. It's possible to have relationships that are predominantly close, loving and harmonious and for the conflict, tension and distance to be rare occurrences or even non-issues.
I am speaking from personal experiences, as I used to have great difficulty in my close relationships. At work, my coworkers and I would laugh and get along perfectly. My girlfriends and I could chat all night. However, my husband and I could barely be in the same room together. I didn't notice the discrepancy then, but I certainly do now. Why is it that we can usually get along so well with people who we aren't that close to, but our most important relationships suffer? It is because we expect the people that we are in close relationships with to meet "our needs". We are usually very focused on what they aren't doing to please us or what they are doing to "make us" angry. This doesn't bode well for the relationship.
For me, and I'm assuming many other people who put love into practice, it has been challenging at times. In the past there were times when I wouldn't even remember to be loving and revert back to old behaviors such as blaming and expecting another to be a certain way or do a certain thing to please me. Then I discovered a way to put love into practice that works miracles for me in all of my relationships. It has healed my relationships from the inside out and was so simple to do. That doesn't mean it was always the easiest, there were times when I was tempted to (and occasions when I did) revert to old ways of thinking and relating. I've never read about this technique in any book, it was something that I noticed worked so incredibly well after doing it a few times "accidentally". I noticed that on some days my relationship with my mate was incredibly easy and joyful and that we were very close. Thank goodness I journal, or I wouldn't have made a connection. One of my regular practices when I journal is briefly describing how the relationship with my mate "felt" on that day and what my thoughts, feelings and actions were. I started doing this after reading a great book about habits in an attempt to create some habits that would effectively improve my relationship. I noticed the pattern and decided to test it out. I was amazed at how effective it was.
The practice I engage in all the time is acting as if we (whoever the other person is or people are and I) are the very closest of friends who truly love each other very much. I act as if I trust them completely. I act as if they are the most important person in the world when I am with them. I act as if what they want for themselves is as important to me as it is for them. I act as if I've known them for my entire life and understand them completely. I do this no matter what is going on around me or what is happening in the relationship. If the other person is in a bad mood or had something happen that is very difficult, I treatif they said something hurtful because of their mood. I know that they are my very closest friend and they truly love me, so of course they were reacting to their bad mood. I understand that it wasn't personal. When someone I am with is in a great mood and things are going smoothly it's effortless to do this and it feels amazing. However, the times that it really counts is when there are challenges or when I don't feel like it because I feel that the other person doesn't "deserve" it or even that they deserve to be punished. These are the times that build bonds and heal both partners. The times when you really don't want to be loving toward another is a perfect opportunity because these that the times when if you can get out of your own limited experience and be loving, this is when true love, trust, understanding, intimacy, friendship and closeness are built. It's so easy to be with someone and be loving
The miracles that this has brought to me in my relationships can't be measured. Before I learned this way of being, I was isolated often even when I was in the company of others. Sometimes they were doing their thing and I was doing mine and with very little provocation from the outside world, a thought would enter my mind and I would suddenly feel lonely and distant. From this thinking I would behave lonely and distant. This only created more distance and loneliness and if you think about it, how could it not? When someone feels lonely and distant around others, they act lonely and distant from them and it's very difficult to connect with someone who is behaving that way. It's likely this person with withdraw or become resentful and give the silent treatment. However they behave, if it's from a feeling of distance or any other unloving feeling, behaviors will reflect that, others will react to it. This is how hell is created in relationships. It usually starts as small negative feelings that one person allows to dictate their thinking and their behaviors, the other person reacts and there is a snowball effect. Eventually, partners really have difficulty getting along, they fight and behave like enemies. There's no love in this approach, love is never painful.You can decide to give love and be loving, even when you are angry, even when you are sad, even when you feel insecure. You can decide to be loving at all times. If you have to start this off by "acting as if" you are loving and that your relationship is close and truly loving, then so be it. You'll notice when you put this "acting as if" into practice, there will come a point in time when you won't be acting anymore. I won't pretend to know why or how this works, I only know that it works incredibly well.
You decide what's appropriate and what will work for your specific relationships. Remember that the biggest part of acting as if is the thoughts and feelings behind it. If you want to act as if your mate is your best friend in the world, what would you be thinking primarily and what would that feel like for you? From there you can act. If you have just met a man, acting as if in this way is probably best done in more "silent" ways. You may not want to act as if you are close to a man by telling your friends that he is your boyfriend after one date. Instead, clear out a few drawers for a time in the future when he may need it for his stuff. If you have been dating for a while and you'd like to have the closeness of living together, you can "act as if" by getting ready to move out of your apartment and into one you can both share.
The key to this is infinite patience. To "act as if" and then expect a response is not loving, and it isn't giving love it is taking. This is a life time practice to cultivate love within you, not something that you do for a little while to get something. Putting this into practice every day throughout your life time, not only with your mate, but with everyone, is what will create true love and closeness that lasts.
My evidence that this works is this: when I am with a friend or with my mate or even with an acquaintance, when I make a conscious effort to be loving I feel infinitely more close and connected with that person than I would have if I didn't make any effort. This is true even if at first it is just pretend. Don't take my word for it, try it out for yourself and see if it works.