One of the greatest treasures of relationship is intimacy. Why, then, does intimacy seem to be such a fickle friend, so elusive and fragile? And why is it often so hard to re-create once it’s fled?
In this exclusive, never-published paper, we’ll plunge right into it. In it, you’ll find one particularly efficient and rich method to (re)create intimacy, a method inspired by ancient Native traditions and reshaped by us to fit the circumstances of our modern lives. So read on, and take heart. Even if intimacy seems all but gone in your relationship, there’s plenty of hope!
You know how it goes:
In the beginning of relationship, you feel open, loving, intimate, and happy. You and your partner love spending time together, you want to learn more about one another, you love touching and spending hours together in bed. You listen with great eagerness as you partner shares about her childhood and family, and you’re genuinely interested in what he thinks and feels about life. You love looking into each other’s eyes and seeing reflected the love and connection you feel in your own body.
But then something changes. One day, you find yourself wondering why you don’t touch so much anymore. You become irritated because he doesn’t listen the way he used to; and she doesn’t want to be intimate like she did in the beginning. You wonder what happened to your close connection, to that precious intimacy you felt before.
If you relate to this, you’re not alone. Loss of intimacy is very common. It’s no wonder why so many relationships end up being little more than logistical business arrangements devoid of warmth, nurturing, sensuality and fun.
When intimacy fades, it’s like the temperature drops and a chill starts to sneak in.
And then you try to make it better. Of course you try to make it better. You want it to feel good again, right? But it doesn’t help. Not really. You might learn a new communication tool that seems to improve things for a while, but you notice it’s not like before, and you still can’t shake the desire to feel deep love and intimacy.
The cruel irony – and this is something few people ever realize – is that most of the things you do to make it better, actually make it worse!
Let’s give an example: Your partner doesn’t listen to you, it’s like you just can’t get your message through. So you tell him! You say, “You never listen to me! Why can’t you just listen?”
Because of the subtle ways of energy and the law of attraction (about which we go into much more detail elsewhere), your attempts for improvement only produce more “NOT listening!”, more “NOT intimacy”! You are not only no closer to the intimate communication you desire, you are more disconnected than ever!
What happens to your communication?
It can become charged with anger and criticism. You can start having communications like, "I hate it when you criticize me". "I never said that, I just said that…"; “You never listen to me! You just watch TV all night!”
Or maybe your communication becomes strictly logistical, with no warmth or emotion, just to take care of the daily chores. “It’s your turn to do the dishes”, “What time will you be home today?”, “Who’s making dinner tonight”, “If you pick up the kids, I can go shopping”.
Or consider this scenario. "How was your day?" "It was okay, same old stuff. How was yours?" "It was okay. Joyce got a new car. It looks great. Wish we could afford one (opens refrigerator)." "Yea, well, maybe someday (returns to watching TV)."
A study of communication between couples determined that the average couple spends only about twenty minutes a week in conversation. This same twenty minutes includes time spent in superficial chit-chat. Appalling?
It’s probably not at all unusual for you and your partner to go through your day-to-day lives rarely talking about what you really feel, think, or want. And when you do talk, you may by giving only half your attention to the conversation.
It just feels flat!
Now, we want to give you something really precious, something that’ll help you and your partner move into intimacy right now, not years down the road.
You see, communication and intimacy are…. well, intimately linked.
Intimate communication doesn't happen quickly or by accident in your busy lives. To connect with and share our deep feelings or listen to your partner requires deliberation and conscious decision. But merely sitting down with your partner to talk doesn't always produce intimate and deep sharing (you probably knew that already!)
We are always communicating with ourselves and each other, in the form of feelings, gestures, movement, facial expressions, etc. We simply don't always pay attention to these subtle communications. Did you know that only 7% of your communication is verbal, i.e. through your words? 38% of your communication happens through the intonation of your voice, and 55% (!) happens through your body!
What does it take to dip below the superficial surface of our daily lives to really connect with ourselves and our partner? What does it take to create intimate communicating, that is, intimacy?
We teach a safe new way to drop down, be real and have intimate communion with one another.
We call this method Heart Shares
For couples, this is a proven and sacred method to creating deep understanding and intimacy. We normally only share this method with our paying clients, but we know the pain of no intimacy and we really want to give you something that works quickly.
A Heart Share is a structured opportunity to share your thoughts and feelings. It’s a way for you to experience, perhaps for the first time, something truly magnificent: pure, intimate communication.
A Heart Share can bring you to new levels of awareness, enliven your feelings, create more compassion and stimulate the experience of deep love and intimacy.
A Heart Share is a deep and powerful communication taking place between you and your partner with the intent of creating more love, peace, harmony, understanding, compassion, and intimacy.
A Heart Share is different from usual communication in that the process employs a special technique which creates a loving, supportive environment and encourages maximum attention both of you.
We mentioned that Heart Share is inspired by, and similar to, an ancient Native American ritual in which the participants sit in a circle and pass a pipe or other ritual object from speaker to speaker. Whoever has the pipe has the total focused attention of her listeners for whatever he or she wants to say.
When your relationship feels devoid of intimacy, what is lacking in your day-to-day interactions is a way to express your innermost feelings in a safe environment.
Take careful note that feelings are distinct from opinions, advice, criticism, events, stories, business, illnesses, tragedies, thoughts and things. Typically, there’s no lack of criticism and advice, right?
Examples of pure feelings are love, joy, sadness, anger, and hurt. The more you share the essence of your feelings, and avoid talking about what you THINK or describing WHAT HAPPENED, the more connected you will feel with yourself and the closer you will feel with your partner.
To begin the Heart Share, agree ahead of time that you will support each other in sharing your most intimate feelings, knowing that the more honest and open you are, the more intimacy and love there will be in your relationships.
If you can’t agree that deeply, simply agree that you’ll listen attentively.
Enter with the intention to listen with all the love and compassion that is available to you, and to create a safe and loving environment in which to share. Agree to not judge each other, and to not use what is shared later as a weapon.
Once you agree to the above, then you can begin to set the stage for your Heart Share.
The Heart Share is best done in an environment with no interruptions. Find a quiet, cozy place. Unplug phones and turn the TV off. Have dim, pleasant lighting, music if you like. Total darkness can also be conducive to listening without visual distraction. Then sit comfortably, on the floor or chairs, facing your partner, but not touching.
Between you, place a candle or another special object. Sit in silence and make eye contact before you begin. When one of you is moved to share, move the candle or object directly in front of you. From that point on, the person with the candle/object is the speaker, the other is the listener. Until the speaker announces "the end", or "I’m complete", they have the floor and the total attention of the listener.
It is recommended that you listen and speak with your eyes closed, or, if you fear falling asleep, with your eyes on the candle or special object. Do not make eye contact from this point on until the speaker is complete. This will help you “feel” into the words being spoken, to listen with your heart, and to not mis-read or react to non-verbal body cues.
When you’re the listener, make sure to avoid interruptions, comments, fidgeting, yawning, sighing, etc. Listen intently without judgment and with as much love as you are able. Listen with your heart.
If you have plenty of time, do the Heart Share with no time limit. If you have to limit the time, agree beforehand how much time you each get.
When the speaker announces he or she is complete, acknowledge his or her sharing with a simple "thank you", no matter what the content of the sharing.
In the Heart Share, you can share whatever is on your heart and mind. Remember, you have the choice of “how deep” you go. You could of course share about the weather or your car, but the invitation is to share how you’re feeling, what your fears and dreams are, what makes your heart sing. Speak from your heart.
Even if you can only do this for 5 minutes each, do it. It’s of course fantastic if you have the time and energy to make the surroundings cozy, light a fire, and have a whole day at your disposal. But often, that’s just not how life is. If you can only manage 5 minutes at the kitchen table, do it, with intent. You still get to talk uninterrupted and un-judged with the complete attention of your partner. That in itself is huge, and will create great intimacy.
Like most methods that are truly efficient, Heart Shares are extremely simple. You might even think something that simple can’t possibly be very profound.
But make no mistake … simplicity often accompanies depth, love and truth; whereas the complexity your life is filled with serves to keep you away from intimacy.
Enjoy your new intimacy!
Bio: Sonika Tinker, MSW, and Christian Pedersen, loving husband-wife team, are Relationship Experts, coaches, mediators, trainers and authors with over 40 years combined experience coaching and leading courses helping hundreds of singles and couples to dramatically improve relationships. Owners of LoveWorks, a cutting-edge relationship training company, both are passionately committed to shifting the current relationship paradigm from blame, resignation and scarcity to one of joyful, expansive, delightful co-creation. They offer a unique leading-edge relationship solution that is uplifting, light-hearted and powerfully effective. Loveworksforyou.com