Encouraging More Of The Intimacy YOU Love
When you want more connection in your marriage instead of asking, as I did for too many years, “Why can't he connect more with me?” ask yourself “How can I encourage more of the connection I want?”
This is where your power lies, in what you will do.
Because you can’t MAKE him do anything, right?
But, you can open to appreciating the ways he is connecting with you.
Like we talked about last week, intimate moments can happen when you’re open to them showing up in all ways. Most often this is through being present with each other in one way or another.
You will never feel the depth of connection you want without that ability to be present. So you must start with that.
Then, you can actually encourage, guide, and inspire your partner to be with you in ways more in line with your most loved ways of connecting.
Just don’t expect him to know how. Show him. Teach him.
This can take time, conscious effort, and patience. But it’s been well worth it in my life! My man has grown and changed so much. I'll share more soon...
For now, here are 5 ideas you can use (of many more that have worked for me) to inspire your man to connect in ways you find fulfilling.
1. Make clear what you want. Since he’s not a mind-reader, you need to tell him --or show him.
Keep in mind you won’t succeed in creating more loving connection if there’s any part of you trying to force him into it. So make sure you aren’t coming from a place of complaint, demand, control, or criticism. It can feel easier to share about your hearts longings from behind the shield of those things. But that will only keep him away.
Start by understanding what you want more of from him. Presence? Deep listening? No interrupting? A romantic night out on the town (instead of the same old Netflix night date you’ve been having lately)?
Once you know, tell him what you desire in a way that inspires him into wanting to give it.
How? Be willing to be vulnerable. Be okay with the discomfort of that. Sharing vulnerably allows your partner to actually feel connected with you, the true tender you. Show him your heart’s longing, either by snuggling right into his arms, for example, or with simple direct language: “Could you please hold me?” Be clear about what you want, in a loving way. It will activate his tender spot and draw him to you.
2. Be there for HIM in a way that works. You like to be there for him when he isn’t feeling great. But he likely isn’t all that interested in talking at length about what he’s dealing with. Many men prefer to process their difficult emotions on their own, hiding out in their man- cave until they’re ready to climb back out. If this true for your man, and he’s had hard day, let him hide (for a while) and process his way.
You may want to tell him something along the lines of “I’ll be here when you’re ready for company.”
When I do this successfully, my man emerges sweet and tender towards me. He likes me more when I allow him to be him.
3.When it comes to emotional processing about something upsetting in YOUR life, you likely have a “hear me/make space for what exists now” need. When you're sad, you just want to be really listened to, maybe held, and loved through it. Once that’s fulfilled you’re ready to find solutions and take action.
His instinct may be to try make the pain go away by trying to fix-it right away. It can feel almost painful to him to just sit with you, watching you hurt.
So, to get your need for his loving presence met, make a plan for next time you find yourself in an upset state— one that honors both of you. For example, plan to say something like, “I’m sad. Could you please just hold me and let me cry?” Then he can wrap his arm around you and look out the window or read a book to reduce his discomfort with it all. And when you’re ready, he can offer his Mr. Fix-it suggestions and words of encouragement.
4. If you love to “connect” through deep conversation, like I do, but your man is slightly less inclined, try getting into action together first. Take a hike, or go skiing, or play croquet! Or whatever kinds of action-oriented fun activities you'll both enjoy. Then bring up a juicy topic. He’ll likely enjoy just listening to you talk, if not jumping into the depth with you.
5. Connection isn’t just about verbal communication (though having great communication skills is a must if you want real closeness). And many women do feel most connected through communicating deeply with her partner. But men tend to feel real connection through sex. Sex is to a man what communication is to a woman.
Most of us women love to connect through physical intimacy, too, but we often like a good connection warm-up through verbal communication first, snuggles, or playful touch. Use the above suggestions to get your connection desires met for you, and then it’ll be easier to reward both of you with the most intimate connection of true lovemaking.
This is, of course, just the tip of the ice-burg to increase emotional intimacy. Connection also comes naturally—and his desire for pleasing you and learning your way of connecting increases— when you feel truly good about yourself, and there’s a safe space between you: one that is kind, respectful and where no one feels they are walking on eggshells.
If you get upset easily or react strongly to things he does (or doesn’t) do or say, he’s gonna go a’hiding or retaliate—-which is a recipe for acute disconnection.
If that’s happening often, I want to help you calm the storm and create more peace. That's why I'm hosting a free participation challenge March 18-22:
CALM AND CONFIDENT 5 DAY CHALLENGE: Easing Emotional Reactivity for More Connection With Your Partner
When you're more calm and confident, he'll be calmer, too, and you'll have way more opportunity for true emotional intimacy. Join here. I can't wait to see you there!