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Archive for the ‘Sex & Intimacy’ Category

People’s experience and cultural norms merge together and gain a voice, affectionately known as “They Say…” People accept these truisms, live from them and, sometimes, find them to be true. However when it comes to marriage and relationships, we advocate a counter-cultural approach.

What if your dreams about love could come true, and not what “they say”? For example,

1. They say: “Sex, money, kids and religion are the scenes of the most arguments in a relationship. Beware.” What we believe about these subjects is central to who we are as individuals. What we feel about them and how we express those feelings are embedded in the core of our identity. Hence, discussing these topics requires the most vulnerability, trust and understanding. So when we do what it takes to develop that trust, understanding and vulnerability,

Then we say: “Sex, money, kids and religion can be the scenes of the most fulfilling and enriching conversations available. Enjoy!”

2. They say: “Just wait a few years, that kind of affection and tenderness towards each other will wear off.” People’s experience has led them to believe there is a honeymoon phase in a relationship and a subsequent decline as reality sets in. However, what “sets in” is a result of what was sown into the relationship, not the result of an unavoidable relational dynamic. So when we take the time to invest affection and tenderness into our relationship today,

Then we say: “Just wait a few years, and WHATEVER you’re sowing into the relationship now, you will be reaping.”

3. They say: “It takes two to work on a relationship.” Usually said of a relationship in trouble, this is often based on an excuse, “If he/she isn’t willing then what hope do I have in trying?” In reality, what one person does in a relationship has a dramatic effect on the other. It maybe a harder road to hoe, but when promise to do whatever it takes in good times and in bad,

Then we say: “No matter what, lead your marriage. Lead yourself to become the best version of yourself for the sake of the other person, and he/she is bound to follow. And even if not, you’re the better for it.”

Of course, all this “they say / we say” commentary is more or less irrelevant to your experience in love. Really, the only question that matters from here is, “What are you going to say?”

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Chances are, you’re reading this blog, and others like it, because you want the best your relationship has to offer.

Sometimes, however, what we want and what we believe don’t quite align. This disconnect matters a great deal because what you believe about your spouse and relationship dictates how you will approach it. This approach in turn sets patterns in place that will result in outcomes mimicking your beliefs. In other words, what you are believing produces what you end up experiencing.

A great question to ask is, “Do I believe the best?”

Example: If you believe he’s often late from work because he doesn’t care about you or your schedule you’ll likely show some of your feelings when he arrives. This will cause him to feel unappreciated and distant and will deflate his motivation to be more punctual, resulting in less than the best for the two of you as the cycle of negative feelings continues.

Example: You’re convinced she doesn’t initiate sex very much because she has lost affection for you. As a result you begin to subtly look for other forms of fulfillment in your life which causes her to feel less pursued. Again, a pattern that certainly doesn’t bring out the best.

The answer to these and a myriad of similar circumstances is to infuse them with a determination to believe the best about your spouse. This means to tell a different story.

Instead of believing he doesn’t care about your plans, believe he’s working hard for the family’s provision and loses track of time. Instead of believing she’s lost affection for you, believe her schedule has just gotten busy, and she’s waiting for you to invite her into an intimacy beyond her wildest dreams.

I know what you’re thinking, “Believing naive about things like that is what causes people to get hurt. Life just doesn’t reward that.” Herein is the problem: you have more faith in a negative explanation than in one that offers hope.

The fact is, those that believe the best about their partner’s weaknesses or character flaws, show love consistently and have the best marriages.

What about the risk? Know this: to believe something positive but perhaps slightly optimistic will produce far more of the best in your relationship than believing something negative – true or not.

When it comes to the person who’s vowed to live with you forever, a belief in the “best” is usually more accurate than a belief in the “worst.” So make a list of the things that bug you, and figure out how to to believe something better. This way you’ll be uncovering the best your relationship has to offer.

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Holding Hands

To have a hand to hold is no small thing. When you don’t have a hand to hold, you want one – a lot. When you’ve finally got it, it’s fulfillment, in and of itself. When it’s new and a novelty it’s invigorating. When it’s normal practice it’s enduringly comforting and close. But when it’s a forgotten art a post like this comes as a good reminder.

Holding hands says something quite different than a touch to the arm, a hug or even a quick kiss. It says, “I want to feel your closeness, and I want it to stay.” Holding hands says so much without using words at all:

Walking hand in hand can tell your spouse you’re enjoying sharing life’s journey with them, and that’s what you treasure most. Holding hands at the movies can say this escape from ordinary life is made great by your company. Holding hands while talking with friends can say you can’t wait to be alone together again. Holding hands in church can signify how important sharing your spirituality really is. Holding hands while walking in the mall can say if you could buy the world, it’s still not worth more than having each other. Holding hands while falling asleep can say to each other your companionship means more than anything in the world out there.

Even if it’s a forgotten art in your relationship, the beauty of holding hands is that it is so easy to rediscover. Use it today to say, “I want to feel your closeness, and I want it to stay.”

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You might have read our last two posts on Vacation Sex (Making Love Happen and Your Turn) and found yourself wishing things were better between the two of you. Perhaps you’d like to employ the ideas of making specific time for your sexuality together, and taking turns focusing your sexual attention on each other, but things aren’t good and you don’t know how to “get there.”

Please remember this: while the quality of your sex-life is an indicator of the quality of your relationship, it can also be a driving force. That is, your sex-life can help LEAD and CHANGE the quality of your relationship, not just follow along helplessly. (For more on this here check out our post: Sex it Up to Live it Up).

This means, then, that you have more control than you think you do. It means that good things can happen when you reach past the resistance to prioritizing sex and do it anyway.

The best thing for a hurting or fighting family to do is to reach past all the angst and go on holidays anyway, purposing to leave the frustrations aside to reconnect around some fun and closeness. The best for a strained friendship is for the friends to go accomplish something together, face a challenge, go have some fun. They must reach past the struggle in the relationship to find the fuel and impetus to resolve the conflict.

It’s the nature of all relationships that what you focus on gets magnified. Most often, to focus on the fun, or camaraderie, or opportunity, is to magnify the connection to the point that the contention is seen for what it really is.

So reach past the angst. The unforgiveness. The issues. And determine to connect sexually with your spouse regardless of what he or she could’ve or should’ve done or even needs to do.

Purpose to put your frustrations aside for a time. Reach past the struggles in your relationship to find the fuel and impetus to help you resolve your issues. Make some agreed upon rules for your time together: no fighting, no bringing up x-y-z issue, no manipulation – just two lovers enjoying each other in order to bring perspective to everything else they face out there.

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The basis of great sex is the understanding that it is meant to be mutually enjoyed. So in a typical lovemaking evening, with the give and take of the marriage bed, both husband and wife are generously served by their partner and experience climax and a deep connection as a result of sharing this most intimate part of themselves. It’s incredible, isn’t it?

In the natural give and take of a sexual relationship, sometimes the “mutual enjoyment” aspect is more one-sided. He’s been working hard, and she wants to express her appreciation sexually, or she’s really tired and he decides to sexually pamper her. The “mutual” part of things evens out over time.

But in vacation sex mode (click here to see our last post), you can take advantage of one-sided lovemaking. Take turns focusing primarily or exclusively on one spouse.

When was the last time you actually spent time thinking about what would bring the most sexual pleasure to each other?! Planning your sexual times will build anticipation for both of you. When you plan for your spouse’s “turn,” the focus and preparation required by trying something other than the usual will set off a whole stream of ideas and possibilities. Not only that, imagining and anticipating what your turn will be like will build excitement all by itself.

So if you’ve got the date and place already set up for your vacation sex, take the time between now and then to study your mate sexually. How could you make this the most incredible event possible for each other? Do you know what actions, sequences, nuances, atmospheres, etc. work best for your partner? Remember to ask them about it to make sure you’re on the right track.

[One word of caution: Beware of making any plans too elaborate. Chances are, if your plans include anything experimental, the response from your mate may not be what you expect. Remember that the focus of a vacation sex getaway is to serve your mate sexually. If that means what you originally planned isn’t working as well as you thought it would, be willing to change in the moment without worrying about your “plans.”]

Take some time this fall for vacation sex; sex that makes you look forward to your turn.

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It’s the middle of a busy fall season. Are you finding the pace of your schedule interfering with your love life?

Your sexuality may need you to take some time away, just like your family does, your work and hobbies might, and your friends probably do. Taking time away means away from one thing and dedicated to another. A family holiday is based on taking time away from work, and spending it on family. A weekend trip with a friend is time taken away from daily routines, dedicated to the enjoyment of friendship. Likewise, a staff retreat is time taken away from the mundane to-do lists to see the bigger picture afresh.

Vacation sex is time taken away from all the other distractions to rediscover the thrill of the gift of intimacy. It’s setting time aside to make love happen.

Sexuality thrives on time and attention. So often it makes do with our left-over time and energy. It’s the after-thought after all the other thoughts! But just a little focused energy and attention can go a looooooong way with sexuality.

Imagine the heights of closeness and pleasure you could accomplish with some concerted energy and dedicated time. Just as other roles in your life (kids, spirituality, hobbies) can bring great joy and satisfaction when given the attention and focus they deserve, so it is with sex.

So here’s the challenge: Take a day, a weekend, a 2-hour spot, whatever you can arrange, in order to get away from everything else that clamours for your attention to dedicate to sexual enjoyment with the person you pledged the rest of your life to bring pleasure to.

Make a sex vacation a reality this fall, or maybe a special Christmas present for the holiday season. When’s the last time you made love like this happen? We’re almost sure you’ll want this to develop into a yearly tradition!

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This “Kissing 101″ series of posts isn’t for novices. (Click here to read our last post.)

In fact they don’t need it at all – have you seen their eagerness?! No, your need of Kissing 101 is directly proportional to your anniversary number. Its aim is to help prevent you from ever becoming one of those couples that don’t kiss anymore. And if you fear you have, this is your incentive to rediscover the magic of connecting with a kiss.

Never forget this: great kissing is about connecting, about touching the soul of another in ways that words never can. It’s a communication of your desire to know your spouse and be known by them.

That’s why you can’t connect in a kiss that is a commonplace habit, just another peck on the cheek before you leave for work. Sadly, casual or routine kissing ends up becoming unnoticeable, and the opportunities to connect become lost.

To become great kissers again is readily within your grasp. It starts with a desire to connect. As you enter your next kiss, identify your desire to feel more, to reach past the ordinary nature of the moment you’re sharing to touch something much deeper. Let your kiss be an interruption of the normal, and a reminder of the connection you share. Let it be an affirmation of how and what you feel about your mate.

A connecting kiss, by its very nature, is a longer kiss. It’s not sexual, although kissing is an entry way to more physical expressions of love. And it’s not selfish in any way. It’s primarily curious. It’s a desire to know more fully, to connect deeper, and to explore further.

As you probably well know, there have been some great quotes on kissing over the years, and it’s easy to trace the concept of connection through them all. Follow us on Twitter for our “10 days of Kissing Quotes.” Even if you don’t have a Twitter account, it’s easy to view these quotes: click on this link to follow us (www.twitter.com/couplethings) and check back daily between Oct. 7-17th, or search our Timeline for this time period.

Don’t ever let something so full of mystery and intrigue, so packed with emotion and longing, become dull and average between the two of you. Get in touch with the role of connection in your kissing, and let it never be the same again.

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