Survival Guide For Couples: Reigniting Intimacy
Part 3 – Seven Powerful Secrets For Achieving Delicious Intimacy
Would you like to experience delicious intimacy in your relationship? Good! Welcome to the final edition in a special 3-part series Survival Guide For Couples: Reigniting Intimacy. In last month’s column, I explained the four main culprits for erosion of intimacy: 1) Unintentionally hurting each other, 2) Over reactivity or drama, 3) Turning away or the White Elephant Syndrome, and 4) Taking each other for granted. Today, I will share powerful tips on how to get some juicy intimacy flowing with your partner. These are the secrets to a healthy, long lasting relationship.
Seven Powerful Secrets on How To Get Some Of That Intimacy!
1) Imagine Intimacy – Imagination is powerful because beneath the images of the mind, you can tap into the realm of possibility. Like a goal or a dream, envision what you want with your partner. What you imagine, so it is. Then, be grateful NOW for what you’ve envisioned, before it’s even actualized. Gratitude is key because it’s the gateway to welcoming it into your life.
2) Be Trusting and Trustworthy – Author, John Gottman, has spent much of his career researching and writing about the behaviors of couples. He reports that trust is built in a culmination of lots of little moments between 2 people. An example of this would be a husband saying to his wife, “Sweetie, I see that you are having a tough time right now. What do you need? How can I help you?” Or, a wife telling her husband, “Thank you for fixing the wobbly door knob. It’s things like this that make my day run a little easier.” Another interesting trust-builder is asking for help. These examples of small gestures turn out to huge for building a trusting relationship.
3) Be Vulnerable, Honest & Authentic – If you’re struggling, say so. It’s an amazing opportunity for intimacy with your partner. Here’s what vulnerability, honesty and authenticity sounds like, “Honey, I’m really upset about something and I need a sounding board. Can you help me by listening to my problem and let me know if I’m over reacting?” By letting your partner into your world, he or she feels included and helpful while you feel taken care of.
4) Pause, Feel and Breathe – This tip is especially for those couples that tend to have drama in their relationship. Whenever you feel stressed and ready to spew your reactive comments and judgments toward your partner, do these three things instead:
- Pause: Stop what you are doing/saying
- Notice how you feel: Acknowledge to yourself what you are feeling (anger, frustration, sadness, etc.). Labeling your feeling is the first step to calming your emotions.
- Take ten deep breaths: Getting oxygen into your system always begins the calming process.
In Part 1 of this series, you learned about the over-reactive Amygdala in your brain and how it goes into the ‘fight-or-flight’ response. Using these calming techniques will give your frontal cortex, the rational part of your brain, a chance to be in charge instead.
5) Blame-Free Zone – Have a place in your home where you and your partner agree is the “Blame-Free Zone.” This is a safe room (or part of a room or area) where absolutely no judgments, criticisms, verbal attacks are allowed. This is your place to pause, have fun, and relax. Asking for time alone in your “Blame-Free Zone” is perfectly fine. This zone is the area where you and your partner can re-group, which gives you the opportunity to change your patterns of drama and repetitive arguments.
6) Practise Communication – Next time you have a meal together, turn off your cell phones and just talk. Take turns asking questions and listening. True communication is more about listening than offering suggestions and solutions and can sound something like this:
“I had a stressful day at work today.”
“Why, what happened?”
“There was a last-minute change that I had to make in my presentation.”
“Wow! How’d you handle that?”
“I was able to pull it off, but I had to reschedule my lunch plans with a prospective client to make it happen.”
“But you did it. That’s fantastic!”
In this conversation, you can see that the communication included active listening, support and validation, which are key for intimacy.
7) Professional Help – Sometimes, couples need extra help to achieve an improved state of intimacy. If you tried the techniques above and still are struggling, pursue one or more of the following:
- Seek a marriage counselor or relationship coach
- Attend a personal growth course together
- Attend a meditation or couples retreat together
Any of these suggestions can be the very thing that turns your relationship around for the better.
This blog is featured in Tamara’s monthly column in My Authentic Life Magazine called Talk To Tamara. Click here to see the article.
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