You all know I've had intimacy and love on my my lately. So recently I posted a question to some of the women in my life: After you’ve eaten dinner and all the household chores are done for the evening do you a) watch Netflix, b) get on Facebook, c) read or d) spend time intimately connecting with your partner?
The overwhelming majority answered a) watch Netflix.
And it’s so easy to fall into this habit – you come home from work, make dinner, cleanup, put kids to bed for those who have them, and wind down by watching a show, surfing online or Facebooking with friends.
Sex vs. Intimacy
Even if you have the best intentions to nurture the intimacy in your marriage or partnership, how often do you collapse into bed with a simple goodnight? And I’m not just talking about having sex. True intimacy is more than a physical aspect. It’s a closeness that runs deep. A closeness that keeps you connected even when times are tough. When you’re fighting about the small (or big) stuff, this intimacy keeps your hearts from growing apart.
Why Do We Shout?
There’s a Hindu story that beautifully describes the kind of closeness I’m talking about:
A Hindu saint who was visiting the River Ganges to take a bath found a group of family members on the banks, shouting in anger at each other. He turned to his disciples, smiled and asked: “Why do people in anger shout at each other?”
His disciples thought for a while, and one of them said, “Because we lose our calm, we shout.”
“But why should you shout when the other person is just next to you? You can just as well tell him what you have to say in a soft manner,” said the saint. The disciples gave some other answers but none satisfied the other disciples.
Finally the saint explained, ‘When two people are angry at each other, their hearts distance a lot. To cover that distance they must shout to be able to hear each other. The angrier they are, the stronger they will have to shout to hear each other to cover that great distance. What happens when two people fall in love? They don't shout at each other but talk softly, because their hearts are very close. The distance between them is either nonexistent or very small…”
The saint continued, “When they love each other even more, what happens? They do not speak, only whisper, and they get even closer to each other in their love. Finally they need not even whisper, they only look at each other and that's all. That is how close two people are when they love each other.”
He looked at his disciples and said, “So when you argue do not let your hearts get distant. Do not say words that distance each other more, or else there will come a day when the distance is so great that you will not find the path to return.”
There is so much to keep you busy every day, it’s easy to stop talking and connecting the way you used to. That’s how the small stuff gets between the love you share. And you may not realize how much the distance has grown until you’re miles apart shouting about mortgage payments, fertility treatments or why he moved your stuff without asking.
So tonight, don’t just watch T.V. together; try this simple intimacy creating ritual before bedtime.
3 Appreciations to Nurture Intimacy Before Bed
As tremendous a gift it is to get love, giving love is just as precious. It keeps your hearts united. Before bed, simply tell your man (or woman) what you appreciate about them in these 3 easy ways.
1. What does he do regularly that you appreciate?
For example, does he fill up your gas tank regularly? Or get your car washed? Or make the bed? Let him know his actions don’t go unnoticed. And for bonus intimacy points, tell him how it makes you feel when he does these little things for you. Especially if what he does makes you feel cared for, let him know. And notice how he lights up at being acknowledged.
2. What did he do today that you appreciate?
Maybe he picked up a missing ingredient for dinner or called you at work just to check in. Let him know how his actions contributed to making your day better or easier. Let him know you noticed and it meant something to you. Look him in the eyes and see his gaze soften. He's listening.
3. What do you value about him?
What natural way of his being do you value? Is he affectionate? Is he rock-solid dependable? Practical? Spontaneous? Choose one quality of his to focus on every night and tell him. As your partner, he wants to contribute to your happiness. When you acknowledge how he does contribute to making you happy, naturally he'll want to do more.
Praise, Don't Complain
I hear women complain all the time that their husbands aren’t romantic or their IQ is good but their EQ is next to none. If this is you, I challenge you. Take up the simple bedtime ritual I outlined above. Speak your heart (and not your complaints) to your partner and see how the energy between you changes. The everyday chores of life will always be there. Watching T.V. will always be there. Tonight, make the choice to look into each other’s eyes and engage your hearts. Tell him how much you appreciate him without asking for anything in return. And watch the magic unfold.
P.S. If you want more relationship nurturing ideas, watch my video 5 Secrets to Reclaiming Passion and Relationship Intimacy (it’s free!). It's the first class in my 6-week Sensual Magic program. Sit back with your favourite cup of tea and watch now.