Within your committed relationship you want to communicate honestly and vulnerably. You are looking for an authentic, emotional connection.
Sadly, you don’t always experience these feelings. Too many times, you experience isolation, withdrawal, and distance. Sometimes you feel like you lead parallel lives with your partner. You live in the same house, but you are on train tracks that never meet.
When you first met your partner, you probably couldn’t believe how good you felt. You glowed and felt happy all the time. You knew that someone loved you.
But time passed.
The Ten Practices can help you restore that warm connected feeling. They were developed after I saw so many couples going through the same challenges in their relationship. I’ve been teaching couples how to be emotionally intimate, open and loving for 25 years, and using the Practices with them.
Here’s an example of how they work.
A couple came into my office complaining of distance. Betty said, “Now the honeymoon is really over. We can fight about anything. I’m so tense all the time. We see each other every day, but I feel lonely.”
Jonathan said, “I know this isn’t us. I love Beth, but when I try to connect, she seems distant. I want more than watching television together.”
Jonathan, in this scenario, identifies as the person who is moving towards his partner. He cannot understand why she is not receptive.
Jonathan continued, “It’s always the wrong time, or I say something wrong.”
This couple is in a negative spiral. Resentment and loneliness have built up, and conversations are fraught with tension.
Jonathan and Beth are afraid that they cannot fix the relationship.
I suggested a couple of simple practices, from the book ‘A Path for Couples,’ to then, and they started to do them at home.
A couple of weeks later, they were laughing in my office.
Jonathan said, “Wow, we sure wasted a lot of time.”
“And money on that other counselor,” Beth added. “Talking for six months about our childhoods didn’t help all that much.”
“No, we needed to make a commitment to connect, to get clear on our intentions, not only for our conversations, but for a long term relationship.”
“It was so powerful,” Beth jumped in. “when we said out loud to each other, ‘I’m willing to have a safe and loving relationship with you.’”
“Yeah, at first, it was like, ‘well sure, this is what we are doing.’ The intention seemed simple, but it helped me to remember my purpose, regularly. Then I could ask myself, ‘am I speaking to Beth in a way that enhances connection.’
“Occasionally he wasn’t,” Beth observed drolly and they both laughed. “And your communication model was so helpful. When we started to drift or get into a conflict, we could use the communication skills you taught us, and find our connection again.”
“Something I didn’t expect,” Jonathan added. “The Practices took us deep into ourselves. I could feel Beth’s love for me so deeply, and then of course sometimes her pain and her loneliness. I’ve grown to love her more deeply.”
Jonathan and Beth have created a powerful healing of their complaint about leading parallel lives
When a couple feels a deep commitment, it is not that hard to reverse the negative spiral and start a flow of positive feelings. The change takes time and discipline, however.
The Ten Practices seem simple, but they can help you restore that lovely, relaxed and warm feeling that you probably felt when you started to fall in love
The negative feelings that arise about leading parallel lives and not connecting are not your fault. You learned a set of habits, through training and conditioning as a child. These habits can be generally be summarized thus: You attack, defend, pursue, and/or withdraw.
These bad communication habits can be done forcefully or subtly, or outwardly, with your partner, or internally, in your own mind and heart. (Self-judgment, for example.)
Using mindfulness, new communication tools, and focusing on Intention and Creativity, couples can learn new level of openness and connection.
I can personally guide you in learning how to connect deeply and honestly with your partner. Such a loving connection brings you more peace, clarity, compassion, and fulfillment. You can learn the Practices working with me in classes or couples sessions or by reading the book A Path for Couples.
When you feel intimately connected, your nervous system relaxes and you experience more energy, clarity and peace. As you deepen into your relationship, you feel more faith, not just in your partner, but in a beneficent universe.