Tag: intimacy

Growing Intimate Relationships

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As we enter into and exist in our adult lives, we begin to prepare for many things— establishing a satisfying career for ourselves, living on our own, purchasing property or our own car.  We put much time into the preparations of these occasions but rarely put thought into what it means to be married.

You plan a wedding; it unfolds, and then, is inevitably over— if you’re lucky, it’s on to the honeymoon, and you are still in the honeymoon phase. Then you come back, to your house, your car—to the bills you pay for both—and you come to ask have I prepared for the new future that’s right in front of me?

We had planned the wedding, but what comes next blindsides us—marriage. The real, everyday commitment that we’ve made is here. 

The questions below will help you establish, as a couple, a strong, lasting spiritual and emotional bond.

Explore and share these important steps with your partner before and after your wedding; as preparation and continued education are vital to your long-term marital success. Married for a long time? Now is the perfect time to recommit to a happy, healthy relationship.

  • Understand your own values. Explore each other’s values such as truthfulness, trustworthiness and integrity 
  • Be responsible for your words and actions. Communicate clearly and often with each other.
  • Develop a caring friendship with your partner. Learn each other’s likes and dislikes, such as foods, entertainment, recreation etc. Know that it is okay that not every interest includes both partners.
  • Ask yourself if you have the ability to be a compatible and harmonious couple. Can you laugh at yourself and each other’s idiosyncrasies?
  • Consider if you both have the same values around family. Communicate your expectations.  Do you want to build connections with each other’s family? Do you want to have children together? Discuss this in advance.
  • Explore and discuss how you will manage money. Many couples do not discuss this and later have challenges around how to spend, how to save, etc. If you work this out in advance you will be friends. Money is the #1 reason for arguments in a marriage.
  • What are you sex role expectations? Become clear about them and communicate them to your partner.

 The better you learn to communicate, the more likely you will feel heard and understood in your relationship.  You’ll find peace in knowing that you share similar values and goals, and experience happiness within yourselves and the relationship. 


How do I get close without getting lost while in a committed relationship?

Ever wonder how to know if you are being intrusive? It is much easier to get when someone else is being intrusive. Sometimes that can be confusing as well.

When we are in a committed relationship our confusion with boundaries becomes most evident. It can be quite confusing. Is it okay if I tell my partner what I think? Will I be invading their space? How come I get upset when my partner tells me what he/she thinks? If I want something done a certain way am I invading my partner’s boundaries? These questions can go on and on. Understanding our own boundaries is quite complex and worth the effort.

I have noticed that all working relationships have some degree of haze surrounding the boundaries of the persons within it. Relationships are alive and the people in them often overlap in order to achieve comfortable levels of intimacy. Relationships take on a life of their own separate and apart from the I or the you.

The question many of us ask, is how can I tell if I am getting lost within the life of my relationship? And yet some of us do keep our sense of self and do not get lost in the forest of our relationship. While others forget to leave breadcrumbs when they go into a relationship and so they get lost.

What prevents us from maintaining our identity in a relationship? Perhaps we did not have a clear sense of self when we went into a relationship and so the relationship became whom we are. It is possible to lose your sense of self-while in relationship if you are trying to accommodate the other person.

It may be time for you to look for your I.

In all relationships there is some melding of identity. Understanding and knowing your own boundaries will allow you to know yourself and who your partner is with clarity.


Divorce ?

When we marry most of us believe it really is for the rest of our lives. We often create a combined life as well as individual life. It is the combined life however that usually has the priority in marriage. Separating from our life partner is painful; feelings of anger, abandonment and yes relief may also be present. There is no escaping your feelings, whatever they are.

I have seen some people avoid their feelings by dating constantly or drinking or drugging. I have seen others plummet into despair for periods of time. It is natural to miss the warmth, friendship, financial security, and sex you had or hoped you would have.

If you have children parenting becomes much more challenging as your role does change and the frequency that you will spend time with your children will change as well. Questions like when do I introduce my children to the person I am dating will arise and possibly cause you anxiety, as there is no ‘right’ answer, only better ones.

Divorce is often one of life’s most stressful experiences. I refer to divorce as a mini-death. In some ways it is more challenging than a ‘real’ death in that the person you have separated from, possibly feel abandoned by, is alive. If you have had children together you will be seeing your X for the rest of your life. This for many is re-wounding, especially if you are unable to forgive yourself and you’re X for the divorce. It is common for both parties to have feelings of failure regardless of who initiated the divorce.

On the positvite side, a divorce can be a time of discoving yourself again, creating new relationships, learning and growing. In order to move forward taking responsibility for your part in the divorce rather than blaming your X for it is paramount. As well as, allowing yourself to grieve your loss and honor your feelings. Then you will be in a space to grow into your new life, the one you will create out of joy. The life you used to dream about having when you were married and unhappy but always thought you could not create it.


The ‘Space-Between’

My Colleague Hedy Schleifer uses the term ‘Space-Between’ when describing what occurs energetically between two people in a relationship. I find this term very useful and wanted to share my point of view with you.

Consider that Relationships live in the ‘Space-Between’ you and your partner? The space that often you can feel but do not see. This is the space where your children are, the space where they grow up and learn values.

Have you ever wondered what happens in this space when you yell at your partner, or belittle him/her? And the effect negative behaviors have upon your children’s development?

So, how can you keep the ‘Space-Between’ safe for your partner and for your children?

Creating a Safe ‘Space-Between’

  • Communicate safely and effectively with each other
  • Building trust and intimacy
  • Be willing to hear and actively listen to what your partner has to say
  • Value your partners point of view
  • Respect your partners feelings
  • Show empathy towards your partner
  • Show appreciation for what your partner does
  • Respect your partner’s point of view

Leave the following in another room:

  • Criticism
  • Contempt
  • Defensiveness – Defense is the 1st act of war
  • Stonewalling
  • Resentments

The ‘Space-Between’ is thriving when you have:

  • Affection in Public
  • Passion in Private
  • Fidelity
  • Quality Time Together
  • Confiding
  • Mutual Interests/Activities
  • Shared Decision-Making
  • Shared Housework
  • Shared Parenting

Growing an Intimate Relationship

Are you married now? Have you thought about being married? Do you ever wonder how you can have a lasting marriage? Do you want to re-marry but are unsure it’s right?

Think about how much work you put into preparing for a career. Weddings as well often take a large amount of planning and preparation. Think about what happens after the honeymoon, though. Have you simply planned your wedding, or have you prepared for your future? Isn’t it interesting that when it comes to your marriage, preparation is often not part of the picture.

Preparation and education are vital to a lasting marriage. Here are some important steps to explore and share with your partner before and after your wedding:

Increasing Intimacy

  • Understand your own values, qualities. Explore each other’s values and qualities, such as truthfulness, trustworthiness, integrity etc.
  • Be responsible for your words and actions. Communicate clearly and often with each other. This will help you develop great communication skills which are vital to a happy marriage.
  • Develop a deep and caring friendship with your partner. Learn each other’s likes and dislikes, such as foods, entertainment, sports, recreation etc. Know that it is okay that not every interest includes both partners.
  • Ask yourself if you have the ability to be a compatible and harmonious couple. Can you laugh at yourself and each other’s foibles or quirks?
  • Consider if you both have the same values around family. Communicate your expectations. Do you want to build connections with each other’s family? Do you want to have children together? Discuss this in advance and decide a strategy.
  • Explore and discuss how you will manage money. Many couples do not discuss this and later have challenges around how to spend, how to save, etc. If you work this out in advance you will be true friends and your marriage can be a happy one. Money is the #1 reason for arguments in a marriage.
  • What are your sex role expectations? Become clear about them and communicate them to your partner.
  • As you establish a strong spiritual and emotional bond, the happier your marriage will be. By communicating clearly you will feel heard and understood and your relationship will grow.

Speak Up For The Scared Child

The shame that occurs from sexual abuse of a child transcends generations. Approximately one in every three girls and one in every six boys are sexually abused. I find these statistics mind-boggling, just think about it.

When a child is molested the shame and guilt that lives within them for the rest of their lives molds everything they do. Often intimacy is never achieved, as they are too vulnerable to connect with another person. The shame is often built upon the belief that they, the child, are the ones responsible for their being sexually abused. Their guilt follows this.

It is only recently that people are recognizing that so many boys and girls are sexually abused.

I have a friend whose mother killed herself when she was thirteen. Until my friend found out that her mom had been sexually abused she thought in some way she had let her mom down. Upon learning of her mother’s abuse, she is now able to understand that her mother’s issues were not her issues.

A forty-three year old man had been sexually abused at age nine by a boy of fourteen. It took him many years of working with me to truly get that he had done nothing wrong and had nothing to be ashamed of. It was much too challenging for him to maintain a lasting relationship because when he felt close to a person, his feelings of shame would come up and he would feel too vulnerable to allow anything more than a superficial connection. After lots of self-reflection, insight and growth, he is now dating a woman and for the first time he has allowed himself to shared his story. He is beginning to allow himself to feel vulnerable and connected. As he lets go of the shame and guilt he is able to allow the intimacy of connection.

The shame and guilt of childhood sexual abuse can and does affect all of us. If you even sense that there is a child being sexually abused, reach out and be the voice for that child.