Everybody wants more connection, deeper intimacy, more love. At the deepest level that is what we are all striving for.
It’s part of what sex is about and it is not only what sex is about.
It’s not only via sex that we get this intimacy, but it is all intermingled.
When we have relationships where we feel safe and we feel heard and we feel known and we feel seen and we feel respected and cherished and loved, sex is going to be easy.
And equally when we are having easy, nourishing, delicious, intimate, sensual, sensitive sex then we feel safe, we feel nourished, we feel heard, we feel seen, we feel known.
So they play into each other and they feed each other.
Many of us in long term relationships find that the focus of our attention moves from our beloved onto all the areas of life that we feel need attention to create the perfect life. We focus on our careers, the children, our social lives, doing up the house, doing up the garden...there are infinite demands on our time and our attention.
We lose sight of the very thing that is going to nourish us the most, that is going to make us feel beautiful, loved, cherished, that is going to make us feel that we belong somewhere. Yes we can do up the house and make it look perfect AND we need to make time to love and cherish the people inside of the house.
I would argue that however amazing your family is, however much you love your children, the person you need to love and cherish and constantly recommit to intimacy with is your partner. I know from personal experience that if you don’t do that, this perfect life is not going to hold together.
So what I would like to offer you here is the most simple and yet deeply, deeply profound practice. It’s a spoken practice. You can do it anywhere. You can do it whilst out for a walk, you can do it whilst driving the car, you can do it over a candlelit meal, you can do it at the kitchen table over a cup of tea at breakfast, you can do it in bed, you can do it whilst having sex, you can do it anytime!
The practice does use a timer to begin with. But as you make this practice a part of your everyday life, you will probably find you just flow through it.
The practice asks you to time 2 minutes each way for 3 statements:
What I love about you
What I fear
What I desire
The first person starts and speaks for two whole minutes about what they love about person 2. They fill the full two minutes. If they dry up they are prompted to continue by the receiver with the words, “Thank you. What do you love about me?”
Consider all the ways in which you love your partner. As you do this more and more you will notice that the ways you love your partner fill your days and you will notice more and more things that you love and appreciate in them. What we pay attention to we receive more of!
At the end of the two minutes you switch so that the person who was speaking is now listening and receiving.
The next step is to share your fears. By sharing what you love about each other you have created a container of safety. By listening to each other in Step 1 you have built intimacy, so it is now safe to share your fears.
We generally bottle our fears. We don’t allow ourselves to feel them and if we do, we rarely express them to our partner. This is an opportunity to let the mask slip for a moment, to allow ourselves and our partner to “See beneath our beautiful”.
If intimacy is an absence of fear, can you see how sharing fears, bringing them to the surface to be lovingly released, to be loved and held safe AS we express our fears is deeply intimate and healing?
So you express your fears both ways for two minutes. You can talk about specific fears about maybe an upcoming weekend away or a dinner party with people you are not wholly confident with, or you may express more general fears about say sex or your relationship.
The crucial piece here is to listen with your full presence and not respond. Your partner is not sharing their fears to be fixed. They are sharing them to be heard, to be understood, to feel seen and loved. If you are listening whilst thinking about what you can say to make them feel better you are not listening with full presence and this practice is all about full presence.
All the listener says is, “Thank you” and to prompt with words such as, “Is there anything else that you fear?” if the speaker dries up before the timer goes off.
The final way is desires, what do you desire? Your desires may be deeply sexual and they may not be. Many of us have difficulties in naming our desires, so spend some time thinking about what you really, really want. What do you want your life to be full of? What do you want more of in your life?
This is such a good muscle to stretch, to identify and express out loud, to yourself and your partner, what you really want in life.
Again, you go both ways, each expressing your desires for two minutes and being thanked and prompted for more desires if you dry up before your time is over.
As you listen to your partner’s desires, be attentive to what they are saying and your body’s response. Witness the response but don’t act on it. Give your partner the freedom and space to express their desires, without any expectation of them being met, just as desires! Just as an energy that they are releasing to the Universe. You do not need to meet their desires, they don’t even need to meet their desires, they are just playing a game and expressing what they most want to experience in life.
Allow it to be magical and playful, keep it light-hearted and joyful and above all have some fun deepening your connection and intimacy in your relationship.