Life as Foreplay: Creating Intimacy in RelationshipBy
Our recent newsletter had an article about Fun and Intimacy. It’s gotten me thinking. For so many years we focused our relationship work primarily on all the hard stuff: Frustrations, Conflict, Deep Process, Relationship Visioning, Learning how to Communicate about Feelings, Needs, Sex, Childhood History…
Now, don’t get me wrong, all those things are very very important. As couples and people growing in life together, we must understand ourselves and we have to learn to be relationally skillful. We must be able to reveal ourselves at deep levels and we must be able to repair conflict with out re-wounding each other. These are important parts of building intimacy.
But recently, I’m into brain science and how we are hardwired for love, empathy, fun and pleasure. We literally have the capacity built into our brains to connect with each other at very deep levels. And this connection, it turns out, is vital for our immune systems, our longevity and our sense of well being.
So I’m thinking a lot about Fun and Intimacy these days.
I remember asking an older married couple what their secret was. They had had such a good life. Here is what they told me.
“Compromise” said, he. “I don’t always like what she wants to do, but I have found that listening and making some part of it work, always enhances our love”.
“Tenderness”, she said. Stroking his hair at night. Touching him when I walk by and he’s at the kitchen table.
“Yes, tenderness” he smiled. And then he added. “you know, we’ve had a lot of fun together”
“What kind of fun”? I asked.
“We laugh at ourselves, we tickle each other’s funny bones. We are able to laugh at mistakes, laugh at good movies, and laugh with our grandchildren. Laughter feels real good, even when it’s about the silliest things”.
Then they both began musing about the county fair, the trip to the Grand Canyon, the time a tornado blew through and they had the grandkids with them and everyone had to spend the night in the basement. “We brought” down marshmallos, chocolate bars, graham crackers and had cold Smores. We laughed about it for months. The tornado did no damage so we can remember the story with a lot of humor.
I said, “all these things sound so simple, and you got such pleasure from them.”
They agreed and he said, with a mischievous grin, “it made our sex life real good.”
I thought of the phrase we use, Life is Foreplay, and realized how much the little things count: Compromise, Tenderness, Laughter, making play out of every day events. What if we could actually make all that into foreplay? We’d have mastered quite an art!
I’m still thinking about it.