Advanced Partnerships are deeply connected with a high degree of intimacy, trust, love and commitment.
But “Intimacy” is just a word, what does it really mean?
The dictionary defines intimacy as “a close, familiar and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person.”
For couple relationships, we define intimacy as “sharing your private thoughts and feelings, wants and needs in a close emotional and physical relationship.”
We use the word “private” because these are things you normally wouldn’t share with anyone else. So this relationship is special and clearly different from your other relationships like your roommates or friends or family members.
Radical Intimacy goes even further than regular intimacy. Besides sharing your private thoughts feelings, wants and needs, we include fears and secrets and fantasies and desires. Everything inside you without holding anything back. In addition to emotional and physical intimacy, we include spirituality or spiritual intimacy here as well.
So does that sound scary? It is! It requires a tremendous amount of trust, risk-taking, emotional maturity self-confidence and self-knowledge.
In Radical Marriage we propose strategies and guidelines for Radical Intimacy, including Tell Your Whole Truth, which means sharing everything inside you without holding anything back.
But well-intentioned partners often withhold sharing thoughts and feelings that might cause conflict or hurt their partner’s feelings or “damage” the relationship. They censor themselves and do NOT “Tell Your Whole Truth.” While they mean well, doing so guarantees they will never have an Advanced Partnership.
To illustrate this, let take a scenario where one partner feels attracted to someone else and keeps that attraction secret to avoid hurting their partner or the relationship.
What would YOU do in this situation?
This is a common and understandable scenario as we become attracted to people, it is involuntary, and we usually feel guilt/shame about it.
One question is “What does it mean?” In an advanced partnership being attracted to someone else absolutely does NOT mean there is anything wrong with the relationship or that the relationship is at risk. While the thoughts and feelings are involuntary, you have complete control over what you do about it.
So the next question might be “What DO you do about it?” If you have an advanced partnership, are a strong, committed team who practices Radical Commitment, you follow through on your commitment to your partner to practice the 5 Promises of Radical Commitment and Radical Intimacy, including sharing ALL your thoughts, feelings, desires, fantasies, etc. without holding back. In this kind of relationship the level of trust and intimacy is high enough to handle everything and anything, but that is built over time and your relationship doesn’t start out that way.
And the next question might be, “Well, how DO you build that level of trust and intimacy?” The answer is by taking the risks necessary to tell your whole truth, always, simple as that (well, simple, but not necessarily easy).
Let’s play out the dynamic in the following three scenarios:
1. Holding Back: I feel attracted to that hot neighbor but don’t tell my partner because I don’t want to “hurt” them or the relationship.
The cost is putting a lid on your level of trust and intimacy and this is NOT how to have or develop an advanced partnership. You stay “safe” but you also stay “stuck” in your current level of functioning in your relationship, which is fine if that’s all you want, but it is human nature to always want to get to the next level and it is MORE risky and dangerous (in my opinion) not to do so.
To quote myself “If you’re not moving forwards you’re moving backwards.” Things change, guaranteed, and if you don’t leverage those changes to move forward you’ll end up worse off. Try as you might you can’t force a relationship to stay exactly where it is- it’s either forwards or backwards, take your pick.
2. Tell Your Truth and it Bombs: I feel attracted to that hot neighbor and share that with my partner and they feel threatened and upset.
A relationship that can’t handle each other’s most intimate thoughts and feelings and we have to protect each other’s fragile egos is NOT an advanced partnership and has a ways to go to develop the level of trust and intimacy needed to become one. That is OK as long as you are on the path and working on it and THIS is exactly how to do so- take the risks and deal with the fallout and your relationship will be stronger and more intimate and trusting because of it.
Dealing with challenges together, with courage and commitment and authenticity is exactly how to build a strong advanced partnership. Your safety net is your Relationship Coach who can help you leverage this opportunity to deepen your relationship when you’re feeling emotionally challenged to do so.
3. Telling Your Truth in an Advanced Partnership: I feel attracted to that hot neighbor and when I share this with my partner we laugh about it.
If you both feel safe and secure in your relationship and your level of trust, commitment and intimacy is high enough, instead of feeling hurt or threatened by telling the truth about an involuntary attraction you can have lots of fun talking about where that comes from, what you find “hot” about the neighbor and even play with the idea of role playing the fantasy in the bedroom.
Now THIS, ladies and gentleman is a truly advanced partnership.
How do you get there? Simple (but not always easy), practice Radical Intimacy and Tell Your Whole Truth.
An Advanced Partnership (or “Radical Marriage”) isn’t for everyone, but if you want one, here’s how to make that happen along with the support of a qualified Relationship Coach.
Here’s a cool bonus: Download 3 complete chapters of Radical Marriage here, no registration necessary!