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What Is Nurturing in a Relationship?

by Melody Causewell

Relationships have their ups and downs. Focusing on the positive may help couples improve their relationships. Being able to identify some of the nurturing aspects of partnerships may help you increase those positives and lead to higher relationship satisfaction.

Attachment

Positive attachment styles may make for more nurturing relationships, according to research published in the "Journal of Social and Personal Relationships" in 2001 by researchers from The University of Utah. In this study, researchers Gallo and Smith found that those who had more secure attachments to early caregivers had healthier romantic relationships as adults. This suggests that positive and warm early relationships teach individuals how to respond to their partners later in life. Partners who enjoy healthy attachment to each other may find their relationships highly rewarding and nurturing.

Trust

Trust in relationships may make the partnership that much more nurturing, according to Canadian research published in the "Journal of Personality and Social Psychology" in 2013. In this study, researchers found that people who enjoyed high levels of trust in their partners tended to expect that their significant others would act with their best interests in mind. They also found that those with higher trust levels remembered past incidences in a way that preserved the relationship as opposed to relying on self-protection. This suggests that trust between partners can be a healing force, promoting more positive emotional responses and increased relationship satisfaction.

Autonomy

Freedom of individual choice may lead to more positive feelings in relationships, according to University of Houston research published in the "Journal of Personality and Social Psychology" in 2005. In this study, researchers Knee, Lonsbary, Canevello and Patrick found that when both partners entered the relationship autonomously and without outside pressure, couples had higher levels of satisfaction as well as healthier responses to conflict. Ensuring that unions are not coerced by outside forces may lead to more nurturing relationships.

Sex and Emotional Satisfaction

Sexual satisfaction may lead to increases in emotional satisfaction, according to Australian research published in the "Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health" in 2003. In this study, researchers Richters, Grulich, de Visser, Smith and Rissel found that while most people wanted to have sex more often than they did, couples who reported higher levels of physical pleasure during sex tended to have higher levels of emotional satisfaction as well. This suggests that sexual experiences that are highly pleasurable for both partners may lead to increased feelings of warmth and emotional closeness, critical elements for nurturing relationship quality.

About the Author

Melody Causewell has been a writer in the mental health field since 2001. She written training manuals and clinical programs for mental health organizations. She has published feature articles "Leaven" magazine and has been published in "Natural Awakenings." She has a degree in psychology, a Masters degree in social work and is a La Leche League leader.

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