Many couples I see daily come expressing their sadness and disappointment in losing the emotional and physical intimacy they once enjoyed. Life in general, as well as family, work, other commitments and unresolved issues can crowd in and take the focus.
It may seem simple but the first step in regaining the intimacy is to take time out where there will be no distractions, be vulnerable and sit facing each other and take time to speak one at a time and actively LISTEN to what's going on in each other's world. If as the listener you can 'mirror' back what you hear your partner say, it will show you are listening actively and present for them.
Be curious about your partner's world and show interest. Blaming, defensiveness and other ineffective behaviours need to be avoided if your partner is to feel emotionally safe.
When you show genuine interest in each other's struggles and demonstrate some thoughtfulness and empathy, and a willingness to support each other, you can expect to take a step closer to experiencing the intimacy you once enjoyed. In general, people are looking for emotional safety if they are to begin downloading their private thoughts and feelings, they need to feel they will be listened to, understood and validated for their deepest needs, and certainly not ignored. JAC
Fulfilling relationships require a balance of togetherness and time apart. i.e. Time as a couple and time as an individual. Time to nurture your relationship and have fun together and time to utilise the strengths within to grow yourself, stretch your development and live out your purpose.
Embracing your differences, including your values, and accepting and respecting each others helps provide a healthy balance. JAC
A safe conversation begins by asking your spouse/partner 'is now a good time to talk?' before launching into what you want to say. This can make a big difference. It gives the other person a 'heads up' that you have something important to discuss, and you want their undivided attention. It also shows that you are respectful of their time and not assuming that they are available on your time schedule. If your partner says no, it's not a good time, accept that and ask for an appointment within 24 hours when he/she will talk to you. B. Fontana Ph D
The space between you is actually where your relationship is with your mate & what you each bring to that space. Everything you say, the tone of voice, the body behaviour, the strained facial expressions. If you bring hostility & criticism, you can't expect a loving response. Sure, you may be frustrated, angry & reactive & before you know it, the space between you has become filled with tension & as a result you both disconnect from each other. This is normal for the majority of us as the reactive part of our brain goes into fight & flight mode. However we say & do hurtful things that we haven't always thought much about. Consider being conscious & intentional about bringing your best self to that space between, being mindful of how you can share your truth & feelings in a respectful way. There is a way to have a 'safe conversation' & expect a much better response which I will share with you next time. JAC
Make 'moments of connection' special. Research shows that certain moments in your day, as a couple, do matter. These are: when you first wake, when you leave for work, when you return home and when you say goodnight. Take the time to greet each other, hug, kiss, look at each other eye to eye or anything else that helps you two feel connected.
'Some of the loneliest people are sitting across from each other in restaurants and at home.'
If you are feeling lonely in your marriage, it's a red flag that something is very wrong. Chances are your partner is also feeling lonely. Try to talk with your partner about your feelings and what you both can do to make things better. Rick Hanson, PhD
Give your partner one appreciation every day. So often people tell me they don't feel appreciated by their spouse. Tell your partner how much you appreciate something nice or thoughtful he/she did for you today. Or, tell him/her something about their personality that you appreciate (like their sense of humour or their dependability.) Appreciations help us feel emotionally safe with each other.
B. Fontana. PhD
Sexual intimacy is an important part of a relationship. If you find you are too busy or too tired for sex, planning a date for sex can help. It gives you something to look forward to and prepare for.
Take turns planning the date in whatever ways you both find romantic and sexual. B.Fontana PhD
We all have emotional needs, men included, but unless we know what they are, or what our partner's emotional needs are, then how can we best meet them?
Like I said in the previous post, if we are to nurture & take care of each other's emotional needs we need to be conscious about doing that, and willing to consistently meet these needs for each other. Otherwise the relationship can begin to feel disconnected bringing about feelings of sadness, disappointment, grief & loss of what once was. One or both may begin to feel less loved, valued, complete & fulfilled, and even taken for granted
Some emotional needs can be:-
Becoming Emotionally Present
Welcome everyone to my new Website, 'Enriching Relationships Newcastle.'
My business name up until now has been 'Solutions for LIfe Counselling'. However since assisting people in relationships for a number of years it has become my primary focus and passion.
Therefore I have decided on the name change to better illustrate my focus.
I would like to begin 2016 by sharing one of the reasons couples can unconsciously begin to disconnect from each other. Usually its sometime after the 'honeymoon period' is over, and that is that they can become so involved in other areas of life, whether outside interests, work, raising children, and even in themselves that they forget to become 'Emotionally Present' with each other.
Becoming 'emotionally present' with your partner is becoming more aware of your partner's presence in general, their words, feelings, facial expressions, body behaviour, expressed needs etc. We can learn a lot about each other from just becoming more emotionally aware & present.
Choosing to become more emotionally present with each other can create a closer and more intimate and caring connection and bond as we demonstrate thoughtfulness, empathy, curiosity, understanding & validation etc.
For example, your partner comes across as being distant or withdrawn. Instead of 'reading' into what you think is happening, consider asking them, 'is everything okay, it appears you are not your normal self.' Becoming more curious and empathic with each other, can result in feeling closer and more loved. This will mean choosing to become more attuned to each other on a regular basis, if that intimate connection is to be maintained and strengthened. After the early days of passion & romance, becoming more conscious & willing to meet each others emotional needs is necessary, if the relationship is to be nurtured and fulfilled.
Of course you may say that you do this all the time, but your partner just says, 'I'm okay, there's nothing wrong, and isn't able to express what is going on more deeply for them.'
If they aren't able to open up, then at least you have expressed your concern & thoughtfulness, and perhaps they will open up more at a later time. Especially if you let them know you are open to being a listening ear at any time.
Julie is a certified and registered Newcastle Counsellor, Relationship Therapist and Life Coach, specialising in working with individual people and couples in the area of relationships and general needs.