Welcome to “Love and Sex Today.” I’m Dr. Doug Weiss and today we will be discussing the topic “Grow Intimacy Instantly, Three Tips.” We are going to be talking about how you can rapidly mature your relationship.
What is Intimacy?
If you’re in a long-term relationship or a marriage, you can really have intimacy. Maybe you don’t want to talk about intimacy. Let’s define it for a moment. The classic definition, “Into me see,” is a great one. It really means connecting your hearts together, being able to listen to and hear each other’s hearts. That’s real intimacy when you have that kind of friendship. I married my best friend Lisa. We’ve been married for thirty-one years now. She truly is my best friend. She hears my heart. I hear her heart. We don’t always agree but we agree to hear and once we’re heard, it really smoothes our relationship out. It makes things stronger and better. We have some tools we’ve been using for over thirty years every day that I’m going share with you today.
These amazing tools work every time across races, religions, and countries. We have shared these principles on various continents and have seen results. So, what I’m sharing with you today actually works. This comes out of my book “Intimacy: A 100-Day Guide to Lasting Relationships.” It can also be found in my book “Emotional Fitness,” and there might be pieces of it in “The Ten-Minute Marriage.” You can check those out if you want to. You can go to loveandsextoday.com to find them.
Again, today we are talking about “Grow Intimacy Instantly, Three Tips.” I want to take you back to when I was working on my master’s degree. This was almost thirty years ago. Some of you know my story. You know I was conceived in adultery, abandoned, put in foster homes, sexually abused and become a sex addict, alcoholic, and drug addict. I had an awakening and still had some issues in recovery, but I’ve been free now for over thirty years. When I was working on my counseling degree, I remember I was in a pretty sizable room and the professor was droning on and I wasn’t really paying attention but I had this thought, “These guys are not going to teach me how to really have a feeling.” They’re talking about feelings and how important they are but they don’t really teach me how to do this. So I went on my personal crusade of, “I have to learn this.” If I’m going to be counseling people about their feelings, I need to know how to do feelings, because then I couldn’t identify a feeling to save my life. In that process, I went on a journey and I created an exercise to help myself identify feelings and communicate them. That lead me down a further road to create what we call the “Three Dailies.”
I want to share these exercises with you, but first, I want to share a very important principle: intimacy is a result. It doesn’t come because you’re beautiful. It doesn’t become because you’re cute, financially successful, or skinny. You can be all those things and more and have no intimacy in your marriage, because intimacy is a result of a known set of disciplines. In Western culture, we like to have things instantly. We want to push a button and be skinny. We want to push a button and be rich. We want to push a button and be cute. We want to push a button to get rid of wrinkles. So many things are a result of disciplines. For example, lately I decided I wanted to drop some weight. I didn’t even think I had a lot, but now I’ve lost 29 pounds. I’m two pounds away from my high school weight. I actually weigh less today, sitting here with you, than I did thirty years ago when I said, “I do,” to Lisa.
What did I do? I changed my disciplines. Anytime you want to make a change in your life, you change your disciplines. I changed what I was eating. Now, I’m not going to be specific because we’re not talking about weight loss today, but I changed what I was eating, when I would eat, when I would stop eating, and the frequency of aerobic activity in my life. I just changed a few disciplines and pound after pound after pound went away. See, I didn’t pop a pill. I didn’t push a button. I chose to make some disciplines important in my life and because of that, I have different results today than I did eight weeks ago. I weighed almost 30 pounds more then than I do today.
Now, in your relationship, you have disciplines. Some of those disciplines work and some of them don’t. Some of your disciplines might be, “Well, we don’t deal with our problems. We just stuff it under the rug, and then we yell for two or three hours and stay up until two o’clock in the morning and we fuss at each other.” Some of you have emotional constipation, where you’re just kind of build up, build up, build up, build up, and then puke on your spouse. Things have been building up for weeks, sometimes years, sometimes decades, and they come out in these arguments and conflicts that are unnecessary. See, once you learn the basics of being able to be intimate, you can actually do conflict better. We’ll do several posts on conflict as we go down the road together, but today I want to share these basic foundational principles with you so that you can apply them to your relationship.
I am going to encourage you to open your phone up or get a notepad and pen. Although archaic, it’d be fantastic for you to take some notes because I’m going to give you some things that will really change your life if you do them. Now, if you don’t do them, you’re not going to get any results. You just wasted your time and my time. Okay? You will not get change unless you change. If you keep doing the same things, you’re going to keep getting the same results. These things are known to you. They’re known to me. I know when I want change I have to look at what disciplines I need to embrace to get the result of that change. If I want wealth, I have to save money or invest money or do both. If I want health, I have to change things. If I want intimacy in my marriage, or long-term relationship, I need to have disciplines that create those results.
So here we go. I’m going to give you three dailies. If you do these, I can guarantee you, even in a few weeks, you will feel closer to your spouse. You will like your spouse better, or your partner, and you’ll feel more connected. I can guarantee this because I’ve had couples that haven’t had sex in twenty years, and after just weeks of doing these three things, they liked each other enough to have sex. It really transforms your relationship, but it’s work, W-O-R-K. If you’re willing to do work, you can have the results. You want to make sure you write these down somewhere. Make yourself accountable on a calendar every day. Maybe give yourself a consequence if you don’t follow through. Maybe do push-ups or some other kind of small consequence so that you really begin to get these disciplines into your marriage and relationship, because so many marriages are emotionally based. Couples are not disciplined in the ways they relate to each other and because of that, they have sloppy relationships and less healthy relationships. They tend to need more help so this will save you a lot of work right here.
Let me give you the exercises. The first one is two feelings. If you don’t have a list of feelings, let me give them to you. If you want, send us an email at email@example.com and just ask for the free feelings list. It’s free so just email us and we’ll send you a feelings list. It has about two hundred feelings. If you want the real version of that, it’s in the “Emotional Fitness” book. There are about four hundred there. You’ll have to get the book. You should keep a feelings list. You can go online somewhere to find one, but you need a feelings list.
On the feelings list we would send to you, at the top of the page there are three guidelines you should follow. Number one is— no examples about each other. So when you’re sharing your feelings, you do not say, “I feel frustrated when you … ” You can feel frustrated about kids, dogs, outlaws, politics, potholes, anything in your life other than your spouse. Number two, maintain eye contact, is really important. So many people don’t look into each other’s eyes anymore. Number three—no feedback. So you’re not saying, “Oh, I don’t understand. I don’t get it. Dig deeper, tell me more.” None of that—you’re just hearing the other person share a feeling. You take your sheet of paper and you randomly put your finger down on the paper. Boom. All right, you landed on “calm.” Now there’s two sentences on your paper, “I feel calm when … I first remember feeling calm when … ” Then you write those two sentences down.
I actually feel calm when I’m on my hammock at my house. I live on a mountain and it’s just so peaceful. I first remember feeling calm … Your examples don’t have to be parallel in any way. Your first example will be present tense and your second example should be under the age of eighteen, as a teenager or as a child. The first time I remember feeling really calm, my sister and I were on this hill in Pennsylvania with green, soft grass, looking at the sky and just making shapes out of the clouds. We were just lying there, letting the ground support all of us. It was so calm and so peaceful. That was my first memory of being calm. So I would do this with Lisa. I would share a feeling with her and she would do that with me. You do this exercise exactly that way for 90 days. After that, just do two feelings from your day, but it takes about 90 days to become emotionally literate. If you want to expedite that, the “Emotional Fitness” book can help you expedite emotional development.
So you do two feelings a day: “I feel blank when … I first remember feeling blank when…” Then pick another one. You might do calm. You might do industrious, and then give your example of the present tense and one as a child or adolescent. You do two feelings a day. Your spouse does two feelings a day. Let me tell you what, even if you’ve been married for twenty-five years, you’re going to learn a lot about your spouse that you did not know. I have that comment all the time, “We’re learning so much about each other Dr. Weiss. We didn’t know all this, all these feelings.” This is because you’re actually entering into a different domain and learning your emotional alphabet together and it’s fantastic.
The second exercise is praises. This is where you give your spouse two praises a day. You think of two things you love, like, or appreciate about your spouse. Get them in your head. This one’s like ping pong. You do one, your spouse does one, you do one, and your spouse does one. Let’s say the guy’s up first. He says I love, I appreciate, or I value X about you. For example, “I really love the fact that you were so creative in the way you solved that problem.” Then she has to say thank you. This is very important. You have to say thank you to let the praise enter in. So many people are praised but they don’t let it in, so their account still stays in deficit because they’re not letting the money in the account. When someone gives a praise, the other person has to say thank you.
Then she gives one to him, “Hey, I really appreciate the way you called me and picked up the kids for me just because you could. That was really thoughtful of you.” Great. He says, “Thank you.” Then he gives her a second praise, “I just really appreciate how thoughtful you were by getting my favorite protein bars so that I could just grab them and go. That was just so thoughtful.” She would say, “Thank you.” Then she gives a second praise like, “I just appreciate that you’re honest. I always know where you are and I just appreciate that you’re honest with me.” And he would say, “Thank you.” Got it?
So two feelings, two praises, and the last exercise is prayer. Now, it may be prayer, or it may be meditation. This is not a theology lesson. This is a relationship lesson. Whatever your spiritual background is, engage that. If you don’t have one, just say, “God, we’re just supposed to pray. Thank you so much for today. Thank you for my wife. Thank you for my family.” That’s enough but you want get in some kind of spiritual connection because you have a spirit and however you manifest that or experience that, you want to experience that together. I can tell you these three exercises: two feelings, two praises, and prayer, meditation (connectivity, some kind of a spiritual connection) every day becomes a discipline. Every day, you and your spouse are going to process some feelings. You’re going to experience your spouse or your partner as a very safe person. Over time, you begin to generalize, “My spouse is safe. I can share my heart with my spouse.”
What happens through this is you start moving closer and closer and closer. The beautiful thing about this is after ninety days you can put the sheet away. Lisa and I have been sharing two feelings from our day every day. We did it last night and we’ll do it tonight. We really know each other and we really stay friends because friends share feelings. That’s one of the things you do with your friends that you might not do with maybe a coworker, neighbor, or someone else in a particular group setting. With a friend, it’s like, “Hey, you can share your heart.” Your spouse or your partner ought to be your friend. If you’re dating someone you’re thinking about being married to, what I’m sharing with you right now will totally help because it will save a lot of wear and tear. If they can’t do feelings before marriage, you want to make sure you know that because living with someone who can’t do feelings for thirty or fifty years could be a real challenge.
Today we talked about growing intimacy instantly and anybody can do this, anybody. Now, I want you to go to loveandsextoday.com, and please subscribe. You can find a free chapter of one of my books on the webpage. Review us on iTunes. These reviews help other people know what would be helpful to them and are a great way to do something positive. The review could easily be, “I read this blog post and it changed my marriage.” I can tell you there are thousands of people who can attest to that over the thirty years of my counseling. Out of the people who do write a review, one of you will win a one-on-one conversation with me this month. My staff will pick that person and we’ll enjoy some time together, talking about whatever you would like. I look forward to meeting some of you. Remember, always have great love and great sex today.