Forgiveness and the Key to Intimacy

 

There are many ways we can open opportunity to intimacy.  One very commonly overlooked opportunity is forgiveness.  Misunderstandings, unmet expectations and hurt feelings are unavoidable in long-term relationships.  The key to unlocking the intimacy in these situations is how it is handled, and forgiveness.

Trust and forgiveness go hand in hand.  However, how often do we feel hurt or wronged and bury forgiveness until it is forgotten and unused,  only to let it decay the relationship like rust on an old car?  How many times have you replayed a scenario in your head wishing for a time machine to go back and make a different decision?

Your partner should trust you without controlling you and vice versa.  However, we are human and we make mistakes from time to time.  Your partner should trust that they can be forgiven for mishaps big and small.  Just as importantly, you should trust that you can forgive yourself.  No one benefits from the blame game, whether its blaming someone else, or yourself.  You remain stuck in the past, unable to move forward in your relationship.  The bridge from hurt to intimacy and a better understanding of one another is forgiveness.

Forgiveness is not always easy and its okay to ask for help and understanding.  Here are some easy to follow tips to follow on your road to forgiveness:

  1. Forgiveness can never be withheld as a tool to control another person.  Using a mistake they have made in the past and using their shame to control them is never okay and will never lead to increased intimacy.
  2. Forgiveness is just as beneficial for you as it is for your partner.  When you can let go and release them of their mistake the weight is lifted from you both.  Each of you gets to relax and move forward having earned trust and deeper intimacy.
  3. Obstacles, mistakes, mountains…whatever you want to call them, makes a relationship stronger when they are overcome.  You can’t bury a mountain and pretend it isn’t there.  It must be climbed step by step!  The final ascent before you get to journey down the mountain is forgiveness.

In life, we face many trials. Some much more difficult to manage by ourselves than others.  Our counselors are ready and open to helping you on your path to forgiveness and intimacy either with your partner, yourself, a family member or friend.

 

 

 

Are you and your partner in need of a vacation?  A vacation without kids or distractions?  A vacation where you learn how to communicate and build genuine intimacy? Vacation Counseling is your next vacation.   Accepting applications for Summer 2020

Spiritual Intimacy

 

Learning how to connect with your spouse or significant other through your faith is a remarkable way to cultivate intimacy on another level.  Even if you don’t necessarily share beliefs.

Sharing what we believe in, our faith and our deep thoughts about a governing power over this world can be a deeply vulnerable conversation.  What a glorious opportunity to bring a couple closer and more intimate.

Here are 5 tips for spiritual sharing and intimacy:

  1. Respect your partners beliefs, even if you don’t agree.  Never put them down or try to make them feel bad for what they believe.  Be open minded and accepting of what they are sharing.
  2. Don’t just share your beliefs, listen to your partners as well.   Spirituality can bring out some very strong, passionate emotions in people and we get so excited about what and why we feel and believe the way we do, we forget to let the other person get excited too!  Just remember to let the other person feel the same enthusiasm as you feel and it will keep the conversation going and open up new possibilities.
  3. Explore together.  If you grew up with a specific spirituality and chose to stay in the same discipline as an adult, don’t let the routine get stale.  Instead, invite your partner with you as you explore the history, terminology and practices of your faith. This can be easier if they share your faith, but just as exciting if they don’t but are open to supporting you on your journey.
  4. Quiet time together praying can be a powerful form of intimacy shared by spiritual couples.  Whether you pray out loud or silently is completely up to you and what you are comfortable with.
  5. Passing your spirituality down to your children is a bonding experience of parenting.  Regardless of what your faith is, it can be a uniting journey to walk your children through your faith and watch them walk through the same growth experiences you have had.

If you feel your partner is not open to a spiritual conversation, talk with your counselor about how to get the ball rolling if its what you truly desire.

 

Hidden Intimacy

 

Hidden Intimacy 

 

Technology shoulders a lot of the blame when it comes to losing the intimate connections in our relationships, and for good reason.  What if we turned the tables? What if we could open the doors to the best intimate connection we have ever had with our partner? What if we could capture true, authentic intimacy through…a cell phone?  

 

Instead of looking to your phone to be a distraction, with a whole world of information at your fingertips, you could look at it as a direct inbox to your significant other.  It all depends on how you’re using this modern tool. 

 

Never before have we been able to send a mid-day message to our spouse about how much they inspire us and we can’t wait to see them at dinner {heart emoji}.  Or send a picture, for their eyes only, of the chic outfit you chose for date night. 

 

If we harness this connection, we can have the strongest relationship we have ever experienced, but ground rules are key.  Here are 3 quick tips to using the phone to bring you closer and less distracted.  

 

  1. Send a lunch time “I love you” or “Can’t wait to see you!”. Knowing someone is thinking about you in the hours you are away feeds intimacy.  I even encourage you to get a little more racey. Maybe let them know you can’t wait for that massage they promised you, or tell them how much your lips can’t wait to kiss them! 
  2. Inside jokes are strings that hold us together.  We have them with friends, coworkers and most importantly, our partners.  You can send a funny meme, picture, or joke that maybe only they will understand because of the life you have shared.  You can give them a giggle and get your warm welcome when you are reunited.  
  3. Schedule technology down time.  These instant messengers we have at our fingertips are amazing tools for fostering intimacy and closeness, but left unchecked and they can be a major distraction.  Set a guideline for when the phones, tablets and notifications go silent and you can spend priceless one on one time together as often as is needed in your relationship. 

 

Intimacy can be created in so many ways as we yearn for that deeper connection.  If you use the tools in the right ways, and are diligent about minimizing distractions, you can have the best relationship you will ever experience.  

Emotional Intimacy – 5 Tips to Grow Intimacy in Your Relationship

 

 

Emotional Intimacy seems  simple and straight forward, but can be  surprisingly elusive.  Emotional intimacy can vary greatly from couple to couple, person to person and from one time to another. Emotional intimacy is the perception of closeness.  Emotionally intimate couples have a shared expectation of understanding, affirmation and sharing of personal feelings and bonding.

Emotional intimacy can set the tone for all other types of intimacy in a relationship, making it a heavily discussed topic among relationship therapists and family therapists.

Here are 5 basic ways you can cultivate more intimacy every day:

  1. Quality Time –  Text, email and social media are very efficient ways to communicate throughout the day and get things done.  When you want to spend intentional quality time with your spouse, most couples find it useful to silence the electronics and put them in a drawer  or basket while time is spent focused on the people around them.  If its family game night, dinner or conversation over tea couples report feeling like they get more value out of time spent without the distraction of electronics.  In this scenario quality is of greater value than quantity.
  2. Be an open door – Acceptance is the biggest component of emotional intimacy.  If someone feels accepted exactly the way they are, they are more likely to open up and also accept you.  What is acceptance exactly?  Acceptance is loving a person without criticism, exceptions, judgement or control.  This doesn’t mean we never disagree or disapprove of their actions.  Rather, it is a “I will disagree with you and still honor you, your thoughts, feelings and independence” practice. Disagreements are normal and healthy and individuals in a relationship should have their own independent ideas and thoughts without fear of being criticized.
  3. Plan fun –  It’s 2019 and it feels like every minute of every day is scheduled.  “Honey, did you put that on the calendar?” is a daily conversation it seems.   Can we effectively schedule play and fun?  Of course we can!  Whether it’s once a week or twice per month schedule play time in advance and make sure it gets scheduled so nothing sneaks in there and takes it away.  You can schedule something specific like sports, crafts or watching silly videos on the internet together or be more flexible and leave it as open free time to spend with one another or the family.
  4. Talk bout what you want –  avoidance kills intimacy.  Assuming your partner knows what you need or avoiding the topic hoping it will ‘blow  over’ is a recipe for a broken heart.  Let your partner know you desire more quality time, more fun time, more deep discussions and lively conversation. Speak up when you need help or have big news.
  5. Practice, practice, practice.  –  The more we open up to our significant others or allow our partners to open up to us without fear of judgement or criticism the more we are likely to continue.  Don’t let the opportunity to have your spouse be your best friend and confidant slip away.  We are all searching for that deeper connection to authentic intimacy and there is no quick fix.  You deserve a strong, healthy relationship and so does your partner.

If you ever feel like the intimacy is lost, you’re feeling alone or your relationship is too damaged to recover, don’t lose hope.   Our counselors are dedicated to your success as a couple and in life.  It’s never too late to try again.

 

 

 

If you or someone you love is  wanting a vacation in paradise, one that will re-kindle the passion that has been lost? A vacation without kids. A vacation where you learn how to communicate. A vacation where your partner actually hears you and gains insight – Vacation Counseling is Your Next Vacation.

 

Financial Intimacy

Financial Intimacy  101

Money is not a four letter word.  Then why do some couples fight about it or even refuse to discuss it altogether?

You may have heard the statistic that money is the #1 cause of divorce, but that’s only partly true.  Whether you have it or not isn’t the root of the problem, its typically what each person in the relationship thinks should be done with it that is the issue.

Some people grew up in a home where money was a taboo subject.  They experience anxiety or shame when they discuss finances.  Some grew up in a household where there simply wasn’t an abundance so they often heard the adults around them complaining about money.  Still others experienced a life with financially savvy adults who were not afraid to discuss money, no matter how much or how little there was, it was simply a fact of life.

No matter your background, you can change your outlook on money and finances at any time you choose.  Its never too late to begin discussions with your significant other about the finances you share.  Here are some quick tips to get the conversation started:

-Start the discussion at a mutually convenient, calm time of day.  Maybe skip that evening TV and sit down to look over the bank account together.

-Start small. Keep the conversations brief in the beginning.  Have a goal for the conversation, accomplish it and move on.  If talking about finances stresses one partner out, taking baby steps can keep them from getting turned off to the idea altogether.

-Keep the emotions at bay.  Money and finances can make people very emotional.  If you feel sadness, despair, anger or frustration start to emerge it’s time to take a break.  Admit that you need a break and will come back to the topic once you have had a chance to wrap your head around things.

-Decide on regular budget meetings (or whatever you choose to call them) that you and your partner can sit down together and see that you are on the same page with your money  management.  This is especially important if you are working on specific financial goals like saving for a house, new car, vacation or paying off debt.

-If one person making all of the financial decisions works for your situation, then go for it.  If it doesn’t, don’t be afraid to speak up.  Even if one person is making all of the decisions on where the money should/could be spent, it is crucial both parties stay informed of the current financial status of the household.

I hope these quick tips help get the conversation started.   We are committed to your success as a couple, if you or your partner need mediation or counseling to help you through please don’t hesitate to call for an appointment.

 

Are you wanting a vacation in paradise, one that will re-kindle the passion that has been lost? A vacation without kids. A vacation where you learn how to communicate. A vacation where your partner actually hears you and gains insight – Vacation Counseling is Your Next Vacation.

Crisis Intimacy

Crisis Intimacy.   Two words that almost don’t seem like they belong in the same thought, but surprisingly crisis can bring us more intimacy than ever before.  Crisis happens to some degree at some point in all of our lives.  It is up to us to harness this time as a tool to strengthen our intimacy or to let it fall apart.

If you are in crisis, know someone who is or just want to feel prepared for when disaster strikes here a few quick tips to consider:

-Everyone is stressed.    That means your partner too.  It is much easier to carry the burden with a partner than by yourself.

-Give a warm embrace, take a deep breath and commit to working through it together.

-Crisis happens.  Sometimes unexpected problems arise in life talking through them and working through each step together.  You might get to see the very best in each other and fall in love all over again.  Heroism is a common theme when catastrophe strikes and might be a side of your partner you don’t normally get to see!

 

Power outages, storms, illness, raising a family even car accidents are the occasional crisis we will all find ourselves in at some point or another.  Is it your time to shine?

 

Are you wanting a vacation in paradise, one that will re-kindle the passion that has been lost? A vacation without kids. A vacation where you learn how to communicate. A vacation where your partner actually hears you and gains insight – Vacation Counseling is Your Next Vacation.

Creative Intimacy

 

Creative intimacy is a relaxing, passive way to bring couples together. Sharing activities that bring us joy, stimulate the mind and spirit and help keep stress under control have immeasurable benefits for couples.  

 

Some immediate health benefits of being creative are:

  • Boosts mood
  • Boosts brain function
  • Increases immune health and defense

 

Creative intimacy doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.  You can write a letter, play a board game or draw pictures with your eyes closed! Be silly and try new things often.  

 

Cultivating intimacy doesn’t happen overnight.  It is the daily effort we make to see more deeply into our significant other’s mind and soul. 

 

At Cape Coral and Fort Myers Therapists we see couples every day whose lives are forever changed by exploring conflict and intimacy and how to fight fair.  We want to help you too. We are currently accepting new clients at both locations for quality counseling services.

 

 

 

If you are not a resident of Florida, and find your relationship in turmoil we are excited to announce we are now accepting applications for Vacation Counseling for the 2020 season.  Are you in need of a vacation where the intimate connection can be found? Where your partner listens and gains valuable insight? A vacation with out kids? A vacation in paradise? Vacation Counseling is your next vacation.

Conflict Intimacy

 

Yes, sometimes we disagree, even argue.  We have more conflict with those we are closest to because we share so much of ourselves and our lives with those we love most. Conflict is inevitable, but it doesn’t always have to bring distance in a relationship. When used as a tool to explore our differences, conflict can work to bring us closer.

Here are our tips for maximizing intimacy, even during conflict:

  • Maintain your composure.  The key here is tone of voice (and volume)  Being loud doesn’t make you right, it stalls communication.
  • Attack the argument, not the person – name calling is never fair, don’t do it.
  • Be polite.  Be mindful of your partners thoughts and don’t interrupt.
  • Say you’re sorry.
  • Focus only on the issue at hand.  Focus on the present.

At Cape Coral and Fort Myers Therapists we see couples every day whose lives are forever changed by exploring conflict and intimacy and how to fight fair.  We want to help you too. We are currently accepting new clients at both locations for quality counseling services.

 

If you are not a resident of Florida, and find your relationship in turmoil we are excited to announce we are now accepting applications for Vacation Counseling for the 2020 season.  Are you in need of a vacation where the intimate connection can be found?  Where your partner listens and gains valuable insight?  A vacation with out kids?  A vacation in paradise?   Vacation Counseling is your next vacation.

Communication Intimacy

 

Today’s topic is abundant and far reaching.  Communication leads to deeper intimacy.  Intimacy leads to better communication.  Communication IS intimacy and intimacy IS communication.

People connect through talking and keeping the communication channels open brings an abundance of intimacy into our relationships.  Be it with friends, family, or your partner.

Some things to consider when sharpening your communication skills:

  • Listen and value the other person’s ideas
  • Be loving, compassionate, respectful and truthful
  • Be open in your communication to them
  • Eliminate distractions whenever possible

Follow these quick tips and you will be well on your way to meaningful communication and authentic intimacy.

 

As always, we are here to help.  If you or someone you love is in need of our services please reach out today.

 

Tuesday Tip: Aesthetic Intimacy

 

Join us as we start our fall series “Bringing Basics Back”.  This series will have a new Tuesday Tip every week with simple ways to open the door to intimacy  every day. 

Aesthetic Intimacy

 

For our first step in “Bringing Basics Back” we take a look at aesthetic intimacy.  Sharing experiences of beauty can relax and calm the body leading to opening up about deeper authentic feelings.   

Taking a stroll through the botanical gardens, enjoying the evening sunset together or perusing an art museum are all forms of sharing aesthetic intimacy.  

According to the University of Utah, there are seven health benefits to nurturing loving, intimate relationships: 

  1. We live longer.
  2. We heal quicker.
  3. We have lower blood pressure
  4. We are more physically fit. 
  5. We enjoy good heart health
  6. We feel less pain.  

 

When you take the dog for a walk tonight, invite your partner and enjoy the tall trees, gaze at the flowers in their last bloom of summer, or stop and watch the birds play and sing.  Your heart will thank you for years to come.

 

If you would like to discuss intimacy, or any other mental health topic with Dr. Brown or any member of her team, please visit Dr.April Brown