The Last Time I Felt Really Close To You. . .
One of the beautiful outcomes of deepening intimacy is the depth of love for each other that can be kindled. Below is an exercise that you will find comforting and grounding for both partners.
We know from research that if you have a grounded relationship, you’re more able to assert yourself , you’re more able to talk about what you need. You’re going to have a better sex life. You’re more able to convey your needs and your relationship is going to support you out in the world so that you’re less likely to be overwhelmed by stress.
This exercise is from Dr. Sue Johnson, author of Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love.
Sue Johnson says:
I think one of the saddest points in a relationship is how often the only way men know how to ask for connection, comfort, closeness, and touch is to make love. And unfortunately when a couple isn’t feeling safe and reconnected, the woman hears “I want an orgasm, I want a sexual experience” and in fact what men have been telling me 30 years is, “I don’t want an orgasm. I want to feel desired. I want to feel held, I want to feel close.”
But they don’t know how to ask for those things. Those things feel wimpy and our society has told men they are not suppose to have the need for closeness, connection, and reassurance. Men feel especially ashamed of those needs.
What I suggest is that you think about and share with each other the last time that you felt really close.
When you are able to turn to your partner and ask them for what you need and your partner can respond in a way that helps you and holds you and makes you feel important and precious, it increases your feelings of love.
You both need to frequently hear the huge positive impact you have on each other.
I encourage people to ask for the love and affection you want. Think about a time when you were able to ask what you needed and your partner really came through for you.
Doing this helps you understand how precious you are to your spouse and how much they have to give. How important just the simplicity of your presence and attention is. The knowing brings you so much closer.
Love is an emotional bond and it depends on you being able to really respond to each other emotionally and create a safe emotional connection, especially at key moments when people really need to feel that bond.
If you simply practice asking for and receiving this closeness, Sue Johnson says in her research, it can help 7 out of 10 couples move out of distress to the point where they can say “No, we’re no longer distressed. We’re moving towards satisfaction.”
Chip August: In my experience, almost every conversation between two people who love each other can be deconstructed to…
“Do you love me? Do you love me still? Do you get that I love you? Do you know? Is my love being received?”
… all the conversation are always to reassure ourselves of that fundamental bond.
Sue Johnson: If, when I’m feeling disconnected from you, I feel safe enough to turn to you and say “Hey Chip! Somehow I’m feeling disconnected. Maybe I’m feeling a little lonely I want you to come and connect with me. I want you to come and be with me.”
And you could respond “Oh! I didn’t know you were feeling that way. Come here let me hold your hand, give you a hug.”
That’s a really positive relationship.
People can reach for each other. They can reconnect.
Try this at home over dinner with your partner tonight.
What has your partner recently done that made you feel very close to them and truly loved?
To listen to the full interview on Sex, Love and Intimacy, click the buttons below.