IN THIS ISSUE:
Romance is Like GardeningBy: Dr. Jackie Black
So often couples call and say...
"My husband and I love each other and are very invested and committed in our relationship to each other and our kids. We go out on dates once a week; but our sexual/sensual relationship no longer exists..."
Or, "...My wife and I are wonderful companions and best friends but we’re not in love with each other anymore..."
Or, "...Do sexual feelings ever come back once they are lost?"
I believe that loving, feeling loved and being in love are terribly misunderstood concepts that lead couples to false expectations and assumptions about each other and their relationship.
The fact that couples report loving each other and being invested and committed in their relationship is very good news! I always am very heartened when I hear couples say that they are best friends or wonderful companions.
Those warm, endearing, respectful feelings toward one another are the foundation on which we build intimacy. Sensuality and sexuality can only exist and grow when relationships are based on those good feelings about each other; and the recognition that they care about each other and are connected to each other.
The problem is that contemporary couples don't have accurate beliefs about what deepens and sustains those warm feelings toward each other and the experiences they have with each other.
Here's a fact that every couple must understand: Sexuality,sensuality and intimacy can flourish in your relationship and are NOT dependent on time or energy!
While going out on a date every week is an important part of supporting and maintaining your connection as partners, it is NOT enough.
Think about a beautiful garden; the flowers are in full bloom and growing profusely! Someone routinely tends this garden. The gardener removes the weeds as soon as they poke their heads out of the ground; waters and feeds the plants, and cultivates the soil... routinely.
Imagine what the condition of the garden might be if the gardener only went out to the garden once a week to pick the flowers to be enjoyed over the weekend.
Committed, joyful, lasting love relationships require the same attention and intention on an on-going basis; not just once a week.
Every day you and your partner must plan to connect for just a moment at four critical times of the day. Every day, for a moment four times a day.
Throughout the week there are specific little things you can do for and say to each other; special loving behaviors that will remind each of you that you are cherished and loved; that you matter to the other.
This is the rich soil in which intimacy and sexual energy grow more deeply every day.
Remember, only YOU can make it happen!
Copyright © 2016 by Dr. Jackie Black and the Relationship Coaching Institute. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.
Dr. Jackie Black, is a Marriage Educator, Author and Coach; and the co-developer of RCI's Couples Coach Training Program. She is the author of the Cracking the Code series of relationship-focused books, a popular Internet syndicated columnist, a highly regarded relationship blogger and podcaster, and a frequent guest expert on traditional and Internet radio throughout the world. Connect with Dr. Jackie at www.DrJackieBlack.com.
My husband's family doesn't like me and I don't know what to do?
My husband and I met while we were serving in the Marines. We got married and the first couple of years we were really happy. After we had our daughter we decided to leave the military and settle down in one place and after a lot of discussing, arguing and compromise we left California to go to Florida where his family lives. He was never particularly close to his family but he wanted to try harder for our daughter's sake. The problem is that his family doesn't like me. They wanted him to marry his old girlfriend and they resent me. His mother is the worst because she pretends to like me in front of him and when he's not around she's really nasty to me. My husband thinks I'm just being too sensitive and now we fight all of the time. Sometimes I think it would be better to get divorced than have to put up with his family. Do you have any suggestions for me?
Lynn responds ...
It sounds like you and your husband have had some happy times – just after you were married - but things are very difficult for you now. You mentioned that there was arguing about the move from California to Florida. You say that you and your husband fight all the time because he thinks you're too sensitive. How do you think things might be different if you and he could discuss situations with care and concern and if each of you had each other's back?
Sometimes a situation like a nasty mother-in-law is the catalyst for seeing that there is potential for more effective communication and greater mutual respect within a marriage. I’d like to suggest that you consider bringing a coach on board so you can co-create a marriage that supports both of you. In the meantime, how can you limit your one-on-one time with your mother-in-law? It sounds like she's nasty when your husband isn't around – so could you see her only when he's there? And how are things going with your daughter and her grandparents? Is your whole family benefiting from being close to the in-laws or is that perhaps a topic for review and discussion? I hold the vision for you of a loving marriage where each of you is understood and respected by the other and you and your husband may need the support of a coach to get there.
Lynn Goodacre | www.lovecoachlynn.com
Marcy responds ...
You seem to put much energy into the situation with your husband's family letting it consume and own you. I am sure they are aware of this which gives them more 'fuel for the fire.' Have you ever heard: "Give the problem back to its owner." We don't need to take on others' issues – it is theirs.
Your husband's family needs to own their dislike for you and your letting it burden you indicates you are taking it on as your issue also. It is not your issue. When you give the problem back to them you will be empowered and available to work on your marriage and your relationship with your husband and focus on the family you and he have created. Keep in mind if you choose getting divorced over putting up with his family, you will be divorcing his family and not your husband. It would be sad to divorce his family when you really want to be married to your husband. Now is a good time to start putting energy into your marriage. Begin with agreeing to not talk about his family-at least for a while.
Marcy Rich | www.marcyrich.com
Dave responds ...
Thank you for your service! We may have crossed paths, as I retired with 28 years total (Navy & Marine Corps).
But on to your question: This is a tough one because neither you or your husband can change anything about your mother-in-law. Only she can do that. So your challenge is to change your perspective of what’s going on, and perhaps your husband will be willing to do the same. Either way, changing your perspective will empower you to react appropriately, or perhaps ignore the situation without letting it bother you.
Mom has had a huge influence on your husband for a long time, and it sounds like she enjoys creating drama. But he's not the same any more, especially after becoming a Marine. You asked for it, and I do have a suggestion: Talk with hubby and see if he will join you in working with a qualified relationship coach. The focus will be on what you each and together can do in the present that will determine a new future for you and your family. I know this is frustrating, and it seems like an impossible situation to you. It's not at all, and divorcing over this only hurts everyone involved. In fact, this is an opportunity for you two to work together in establishing a more bullet-proof relationship. You already know that forming a battle-ready team requires overcoming adversity together. Oorah!
Dave Wilder | www.treasuredrelationships.com
The opinions stated are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the staff, members, or leadership of Relationship Coaching Institute.
This column answers questions submitted by our readers. Submit your question here and it will be forwarded to our coaches all over the world. Each issue, we'll publish a few answers from our RCI coaches.
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