Loving Deeply; Embracing Love
Your intimate relationship is supposed to be a safe haven for comfort, reassurance, warmth and connection. The science of love now confirms that human beings must have love just like we need food. Our immune systems function better, we have more happiness hormones running through our blood streams, we are more relaxed, braver, and our self-esteem is higher. It is so clear why we seek intimacy, friendships, and long-term relationships. Even those of us who are introverted, and need quiet alone time, seek warmth and connection with other human beings.
But we are not just mammals with a predictable limbic system longing for safety and security. We’re human. We make up stories about the meaning of our feelings, our perceptions, and especially about our interactions with other human beings. This leads to a complicated array of reactions and interpretations about whether or not we are being loved, cared for and wanted. We wonder about our self worth, we want our dearest friends, partners and relationships to know us so well that we don’t have to ask for what we need. And when they don't, we are hurt, angry and afraid.
It’s not easy to love and be loved, but the formula is simple: You must know and love who you are on the inside, and then you will know and love others. We can work this from both sides: the practice of loving others, and the practice of loving ourselves.
In our work with couples we teach that openhearted vulnerable self-disclosure begins the process of building intimacy. Someone once said that true intimacy is really the practice of IN TO ME YOU SEE. The question for each of us is: How openhearted can I be with you? Vulnerability relies on our ability to be honest and compassionate with ourselves first. Can you welcome all of your various parts without shame? Can you actually say to yourself: “All of me is welcome, including my magnificence, my fears, my shame, my mistakes, my past, my deep need for love, and my sometimes-not-so-skillful ways of getting those needs met”? When you do this (imperfectly without shame), then you begin to extend that to others. And lo and behold, your experience of loving becomes deeper, more satisfying, more real, and for sure more secure.
Lao Tzu is believed to have said: “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage”.
If you think about it, within the practice of intimate relationship, this is exactly true. We stretch ourselves to grow, change and accommodate, as we love someone deeply. When we receive someone’s deep loving, we feel courageous, open and able to go through life’s ups and downs so much more easily.
How is all the accomplished? We believe that a deeply loving partnership has to include these principles:
- The intention to work as an intimate team.
- The practice of vulnerability
- Vulnerability is impossible without emotional, mental and physical safety.
- The commitment to create an emotional space where both partners feel safe.
- Learn what says I love you to your partner and do it.
- Learn to listen courageously to what your partner has to say.
- Learn to speak honestly without attacking, blaming or shaming.
- Shame is what hinders our ability to reveal ourselves.
- Take 100% responsibility for your part of any conflict.
- Touch each other often in and outside the bedroom.
- Learn to be attuned to the world inside of you; then you will be able to be intimate with another.
Our long-distance relationship counseling/coaching is a unique blend of education, skill building, and facilitating you to grow into the partner/person you would like to be in your relationships.
Our private 3 or 4-day retreats serve one couple at time. Some of the top priorities that we address are: breaking through unresolved issues, extra-marital affairs, deepening communication, increasing sex and intimacy.
In our weekend couples workshops you will rejuvenate, refresh, and reawaken love, intimacy, communication, and laughter. You’ll learn and practice skills, and go home able to integrate them into your life together.
View all workshops on our Calendar here.