Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How To Have A Passionate Marriage (Keep Love & Intimacy Alive)

Passionate Marriage: Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed RelationshipsI read the book Passionate Marriage by David Schnarch, PH. D. last year and all of my girlfriends asked to borrow it when I was finished. It's a popular subject.

Is it really possible to bring passion back into a relationship after years of marriage? David Schnarch thinks so and his experience as a Marriage and Sex Therapist, as well as his success in his own marriage makes him the expert.

Here are some key points from the book to help us all bring back the spark into our marriages.

1. We do not pick our perfect match because we ourselves are not perfect. The universe hands us a flawless diamond in the rough. Only if we are willing to polish off every part of ourselves do we end up with a soul mate.

2. Differentiation is the key to not holding grudges and recovering quickly from arguments, to tolerating intense intimacy and maintaining your priorities in the midst of daily life.

3. Differentiation involves balancing two basic life forces: the drive for individuality and the drive for togetherness. Well-differentiated people can agree without feeling like they're losing themselves and can disagree without feeling alienated and bitter.

4. Highly differentiated people have strong emotional bonds. They desire to be close. They do not require space, infrequent contact, or totally consuming careers to feel like an individual. At the same time they have economic and emotional autonomy. They equally make large decisions. They desire closeness, but are fine with being alone.

5. Well-differentiated people are not needy. They support themselves and don't look for outside support. They soothe themselves and calm their own anxieties. They never define themselves with what others think or feel about them. They intimately disclose/reveal themselves in the face of neutral or even negative responses. They are confident in themselves and don't conform to what others want them to be. They don't rely on the other for validation. They validate themselves. Both partners can be strong at the same time. They never fear rejection because they don't take it personally. They don't have to agree to be close.

6. At the same time, well-differentiated people think about how their actions affect others and take their partners needs and priorities into account. They value their partners interests on par with their own, even if they don't share the same ones. They care about their partner's happiness. They don't talk their partner out of what they want, instead they sacrifice for their partner. They don't consume their thoughts with what their partner is doing wrong, they focus on their own right actions.

7. Use your mind and your heart to make love and everything else will follow. There's no beauty in sex- the beauty is in people. The issue isn't simply who your partner is, whether you're in love, or how good you can do it. It's who you are. People who can let themselves be known have more potential for profound sexual experiences. Let your partner look into your eyes. Be present in the experience. Deepen your emotional involvement "in the moment". It's not about how your body looks or how you position it, it's about your frame of mind and emotional connection with your partner.  

8. Most people never reach their sexual prime, and those who do, don't reach it until their forties, fifties, and sixties. Profoundly meaningful sex is determined more by personal maturation than physiological reflex. As men and women age they become more sexually compatible. Be the giver as well as the receiver.

9. You can't have a passionate marriage if you are upset, angry or can't stop thinking about other things. Resolve underlying tensions and marital issues. Keep the right ambiance in the room and in your head. Partners begin with their feeling of connection and then they can better express their feelings.  If you are upset, hug each other until you can relax. Standing and hugging works best. Quiet yourself down. Take some deep breathes. Think soothing thoughts. Don't worry or think about what your partner is thinking or feeling.

10. Communication is no assurance of intimacy if you can't stand the message. Couples gradually achieve the degree of intimacy they want through accumulated experiences of mutual trust, acceptance, empathy, validation, and reciprocal disclosure. You will desire each other more when you both like yourselves more.

11. Maintain a connection with the people you love without taking on their anxieties. Develop an internal sense of self you can value, maintain and live by.  Don't try to control your partner in order to get control of yourself. Don't let yourself be controlled. You are separate. Self-soothe your own anxiety and resist being infected by your partner's. Don't step back from your real self to adopt a position or posture that fits with your partner's and misrepresents who you are. Do not become overly dependent on the other's validation. Validate yourself. Master your own anxieties and maintain your position. Let go of your partner and hang on to yourself, while at the same time remaining close to your partner. It's emotional surgery.

12. Reduce interruptions and pressures in your life and in the bedroom. Don't complicate your life. Reduce stress. Relax and live simply. Be daring and spontaneous. Let things go. Smile. Flirt. Wear something sexy and act the part.

This is just the tip of the iceberg in this 410 page book. It is a volume of information that I actually read quite quickly. If you are interested in learning more see below:


DrFlynnDMD said...

Sounds like a good book, very interesting. I think I'll read your blog a few more times to digest all the advise. Good blog, thanks.

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