Episode #33 - Your Relationship Lacks Intimacy, And It's Your Fault... Ladies

 

Warning: This post and the associated podcast are controversial... which is exactly why I like them so much.

Ladies, does your relationship suck? Has it grown stale and boring? Do you feel hopeless, and yearn to feel connected and adored?

What if I told you it's all your fault?

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I get it. It sounds ridiculously chauvinistic and immature. Of course it's easy for me to absolve myself of blame and say that a lack of intimacy in a relationship is not a man's fault, but a woman's... but what if I told you this idea isn't something me and my guy friends cooked up during some late-night video game and pizza binge? What if I told you it came from a relationship expert who is also conveniently (for me) a woman?

Laura Doyle believes that women are the gatekeepers to intimacy in a relationship. She has focused her entire career on empowering women (she refuses to work with men, or even couples) with skills, tactics, and tools to radically transform their average, mundane, or even horrible relationships. If a lack of intimacy exists, and abuse is not present in the relationship, she believes women have the power to change it.

6 Intimacy Skills to Transform Your Relationship

  1. Self Care - In any relationship, you are responsible for your own happiness. If you rely on others to fill your self-worth tank, you'll inevitably end up stranded on the side of the highway of life, broken down, frustrated, and alone. Rather than relying on others to fill up that love tank, take initiative and fill it up yourself.  This means you must love yourself, not just with words, but with actions.Make a list of things that fill you with joy, energy, and happiness then do those things every day. Make them a priority. Whether it's sitting down to enjoy a cup of coffee, calling an old friend, writing in your journal, meditation or yoga, reading out of a good book, or some intense exercise, make a commitment to do the stuff you love religiously... make it as big of a priority as brushing your teeth - which you do regularly (I hope).
  2. Relinquish Inappropriate Control - Did you know that something as simple as telling a man he's doing something wrong - even when well-intentioned - can be incredibly emasculating? As a man, I feel a sense of pride when I can provide, protect, or otherwise take care of those that I love. Often times, correcting things (especially small things), make us feel like we can't do anything right. It's easy to feel defeated, incompetent, and worthless when you can't even dress yourself, or clean a mirror properly.Sure, many of you may say that I'm being over-sensitive. We men just need to "pony up" and "be a man" when it comes to taking criticism. Well, as a man, I'm telling you from the bottom of my heart: If you want more intimacy in your relationship, think before you speak. Your words can fill us up with courage, open us up to vulnerability, and give us the courage to slay dragons... or they can strip us of our confidence. The ball is in your court.
  3. Receive Graciously - When a man gives you something, whether it's a gift, a compliment, or some form of help, he's reaching out in an attempt to connect. It's a display of his love and care. A rejection or dismissal of his effort to bond with you are not only a rejection of the offer itself, but a rejection of his attempt to connect, and subsequently a rejection of him.Rather than play the "not good enough" card, thank him and tell him how much you appreciate him... because he thinks you're good enough, and sometimes that's all that matters.
  4. Respect - For this skill, I quote Mrs. Doyle herself. Her words are just too perfect: "Lack of respect causes more divorces than cheating does because for men, respect is like oxygen. They need it more than sex. Respect means that you don't dismiss, criticize, contradict or try to teach him anything. Of course he won't do things the same way you do; for that, you could have just married yourself. But with your respect, he will once again do the things that amazed and delighted you to begin with -- so much so that you married him."
  5. Gratitude - Good men don't do kind things with the expectation of thanks, but honestly, nothing is sexier than a woman who regularly expresses gratitude... especially for the things that you don't expect them to be grateful for. When a woman expresses appreciation for something I did for them, it makes me feel like $1 million. It makes me want to do more nice things more often.Cultivating a habit of expressing gratitude every day will also put you in a mindset of looking for the very best things. When you see and recognize the best in a man, he will rise to the occasion, and become the best version of himself. Your gratitude has the ability to unlock hidden reserves of potential, intimacy, and overwhelming love.
  6. Vulnerability - A truly intimate and trusting relationship requires vulnerability at its very core. Getting naked emotionally with someone often requires a lot more of that trust than getting naked physically with them. Being vulnerable requires honesty and assertiveness, and responsibility. Merely expressing how we feel is now vulnerability. Rather than nagging or criticizing, state your desires. "I feel lonely," is far more vulnerable than "You never come home on time." "I miss you so much," is far more vulnerable than, "When was the last time you took me on a date?"Striving to come to the table palms-open to express your feelings and your needs is courageous... and this approach not only avoids putting men on the defensive, but encourages them to do what they love doing most: step up to the plate and make their women happy.

Most of us do not realize how much individual power we possess to influence, change, and improve our relationships. We get stuck in the tedium of the day-to-day. We forget that little things can make an enormous difference. I hope you have the courage to give these 6 tips a try in your relationship... especially if you see it suffering.

And don't forget to listen to today's podcast at the top of the page. It is full of amazing stuff that blew my mind. I'm sure it will rock yours as well.

[jbox title="Show Notes:" border="5" radius="15"] Thanks for reading and listening to the podcast. Don't forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes to get episodes delivered to your computer every week!

Check out Laura Doyle's website The Surrendered Wife. And here are some links to her books:

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Episode #32 - Kiran and MeiMei

One of the reasons Kiran and MeiMei have one of the most beautiful relationships I've ever witnessed is that they have both failed. Not only have they failed, but they've failed big! They have put their hearts on the line, and swung for the fences only to be met with rejection, or disappointment, or a big old strike-out. What they so desperately dreamed and wanted did not unfold the way they had envisioned. And yet, these big failures did not break them. Kiran and MeiMei choose to use their failures as catalysts for growth and learning. But using failure as an asset is not easy! It requires crazy amounts of courage, because failure is scary!

It's this irrational fear of failure that most often stands in the way of our ability to fully live our lives and love others without reservation.

Fear is what makes us build up walls of anti-vulnerability. Fear pushes us to lie, or hide the icky parts of ourselves that we don't love. Fear is the fuel of insecurity, doubt, and selfishness.

We fear rejection.

Rejection makes us feel broken or deficient in some way. The feeling of rejection makes us feel worthless and empty. It makes us question everything about ourselves. When we are rejected, we begin to wonder, "What is it about me that makes me so unlovable? What do I lack? What am I doing wrong? Am I not smart/funny/attractive/skinny/fit/outgoing/interesting enough?"

We fear deception.

We've all heard the horror stories. A friend starts dating someone, falls in love, or even gets married, only to find out that the person they have invested so much time, effort, and energy into is not who they say they are. They find themselves being manipulated, abused, or deceived. What if the person I love lies to me? What if they cheat? How can I ever trust others again after a betrayal of trust? Or worse... how can I trust my own judgement of character? What did I miss? How many other people are lying to me? Do people think I can't handle the truth?

We fear abandonment.

The fear that life will slowly pull the people you care about away from you is torturous. Change, especially unexpected change is hard to deal with. It can be devestating to have your world turned upside down without any warning or explanation. Unexpected breakups can be confusing and heart-wrenching. Naturally, people develop fears of abandonment. What if the one I love gets bored of me and decide to leave? What if I fall short of their expectations? What if we can't recover from a disagreement? What if we drift apart, and just stop loving each other?

We fear the truth.

We fear that people will see us for who we truly are... warts and all. We fear that our icky parts make us unloveable. If people knew who we really were, they would not want to be with us. How could they? What if my person sees me - all of me - and it's not enough? What if my past gets held against me? What if they find about the skeletons in my closet? Will it make me less desirable, or worse... unlovable? These fears are all fears of failure. Failure to live up to the expectations of others, and sometimes even ourselves.

The only way to combat this fear of failure... the ONLY way... is self-love.

Love Yourself | Don Miguel Ruiz | The Loveumentary
Love Yourself | Don Miguel Ruiz | The Loveumentary

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You must love yourself before you can love others.

When you love yourself, you do note fear rejection.

You do not need the validation of someone else to feel whole. You know what you deserve, and you happily refuse to settle for less. If you are not enough for someone else, they are not the right person for you, and you are one person closer to someone who is. Your love is enough.

When you love yourself first, you do not fear deception.

You respect yourself too much to stand for manipulation and lies. Because you do not fear the truth, you demand it from the people you love. If someone is abusing that trust, you know it is them and not you who has the problem. There is no guilt. You have nothing to be guilty for. There is no shame. You have nothing to be ashamed of. You have lived with love and integrity. Your love is enough.

When you love yourself first, you do not fear abandonment.

Being alone is not scary or sad or uncomfortable, when you love yourself because you are always in good company. You don't need someone to laugh at your jokes if you think you are funny. You don't need somebody to tell you you are beautiful if you think you are beautiful. You don't need somebody to stick around to validate or love you if you have no problems validating and loving yourself. Your love is enough.

When you love yourself you will never fear the truth.

Nobody can hold your icky parts against you. You have already embraced them and accepted them. Nobody can use your past, your fears, or your insecurities against you if you love them. You can't be hurt by yourself if you love yourself. Your love is enough. When you love yourself, failure becomes less scary. Fear loses its power. Now it can be used as something positive. Failure can expose our weaknesses. This gives us a chance to make our weaknesses stronger. Failure forces us to stand face-to-face with the truth... especially the truth we are hiding from, or avoiding. This gives us a chance to embrace and love the truth, and removes its sting. Failure forces us to stand up and try again. It forces us to be vulnerable. It forces us to get outside our comfort zone. These things give us a chance to build courage, connection, and to experience growth. If you do not love yourself first, you will always be plagued by the fears of abandonment, rejection, deception, or not being "enough." Love yourself first.

Your love is enough.