We all crave deep intimacy in our relationships.
In the 15 years I’ve spent teaching and coaching thousands of singles and couples, the most common desires and complaints I hear center around a lack of connection, sex and intimacy.
“The spark is gone”
“I just don’t feel like he listens”
“S/he doesn’t seem that attracted to me (anymore)”
“S/he’s always working (taking care of the kids/watching TV/etc…)”
All too often these complaints lead to ending the relationship because we’ve been taught to believe intimacy should just ‘happen’.
We imagine that when we find The One, all our needs will be forever met and we’ll live ‘happily ever after’.
When that doesn’t happen, we think something is either wrong with us, or (more likely) them.
Almost no one is taught how to create deep intimacy, or how to nourish it in a lasting way.
The good news is: Intimacy truly can be learned!
Like all things in life, intimacy is a skill and practice.
So, what is intimacy?
In my experience, intimacy is many things to many people.
However, it consistently comes down to two key ingredients:
For deep intimacy to exist in romantic relationships, there needs to be a mix of two things – resonance and polarity.
Resonance is celebrating your sameness – you’re a human, I’m a human. I want love, you want love. This is how we are the same. It’s the area most people are talking about when they say ‘I feel connected.’ There tends to be a comfort in resonance, like you can lean into each other.
Polarity is more in the realm of celebrating your differences. It’s usually more uncomfortable than resonance, which is why people shy away from it. There tends to be more energy and spark in polarity. Polarity isn’t necessarily sexual, but polarity is the realm in which incredibly deep & hot sex lives. Polarity creates a tension point.
The issue in relationships is that many couples tend to unconsciously gravitate towards one side or the other and for intimacy to exist, there needs to be both. If you focus on one to the exclusion of the other, your intimacy will suffer.
How many of you know at least one couple where they feel like best friends & love each other deeply, but (almost) never have sex?
Or the other extreme, of a couple that can’t keep their hands off each other, but fights like cats & dogs constantly?
Too much resonance, there’s no spark.
Too much polarity, there’s no understanding.
This doesn’t have to be an either/or dilemma…..If you know how to differentiate between the two and learn how to bring what is most needed at any moment to your relationship!
Practices to Create Deep Intimacy
Whether you’ve been together forever and feel great, or have just started dating, these practices will help create real intimacy in your relationship.
Resonance practices are almost all communication practices – Nonviolent Communication, Authentic Relating, Imago Dialogue. One of my favorites is praise practice. Here’s how to do it:
Set a regular time every day, and share these sentence stems back and forth for 5-10 minutes:
‘Something I love about you….’
‘Something I find so beautiful about you…’
‘I love it when you…’
‘Something you do that makes me so happy….’
‘Something I totally trust in you is…’
Don’t lie or make things up! Find what you truly love in your partner & praise the hell out of it!
While this practice is not meant to avoid real issues you may need to resolve, it is a deeply transformative practice that will actually change the field (or culture) of your relationship from one of complaint and criticism, to one of praise.
(If you do need address issues in your relationship – do that at a separate & agreed upon time.)
Polarity practice creates tension & can be intense. For that reasons, I prefer to explain this one to you in a video. See below:
Two things that are important to keep in mind:
- These are practices & you (and your partner) are learning! Trust that you are both making an effort, and keep your practice free of criticism and complaint. Remember that beneath every complaint is a desire. Dig deeper & find the desire.
- All long-term relationships have ebbs & flows. There will be periods of time when either more resonance or more polarity practice is needed. The importance is not that you have a perfect balance of resonance and polarity at all times. The most important thing is learning to distinguish and be able to bring what is needed in your relationship in any given moment, to create the deep experience of intimacy you & your partner are longing for.
I teach these practices to men, women & couples, and would be happy to support you personally. Please contact me to let me know what’s working and what’s not, so I can fine-tune for you & your relationship.
I dive deeper into the concepts of Resonance & Polarity, as well as share some personal examples from my own life, in the video below:
And, let me know how it goes in the comments below! Or feel free to leave your questions and comments, and I will respond.