A few days ago it hit me. The intimacy that these women, and many others were craving was being over looked by the men they loved. What made matters worse, was the fact that these women were missing their own intimacy needs and finding comfort in other things (food, tv, shopping, self-loathing, depression, etc.). So how can this be fixed? Unfortunately, I don't have the fix-all answers to men and intimacy. What I do have is a way to recognize when your own intimacy needs are not being fulfilled and a way to communicate this to your spouse that does not involve the silent treatment, yelling, or revenge. The following is not a step by step instructional, it's just numbered for clarity.
- Know yourself and your limits:
This is by far the longest part of the process. Just because you grew up with you, doesn't mean you understand you. It simply means you have the best view and the most insight into your needs and wants. In knowing yourself, you will begin to understand the things that make you tick, the rhythm of your heart beat, and your limitations. Knowing yourself means you are learning to be confident in who you are and able to appreciate every beauty mark and stretch mark. Men cannot know us, if we do not first know ourselves. I've heard of women researching their heritage, uncovering talents, developing a deeper spiritual relationship, or simply forgiving their past and seeking wisdom from their past.
- Learn your love style and that of your partner.
What really gets your motor running? What makes you smile for no reason at all? Is it a simply "I love you" text? Or perhaps it is a brush across your backside when you are cooking after a long day. Whatever the case, these are clues that will help you uncover your love style. Love style is a personalized style that dictates how you receive and give love to others. Some are content with just hearing "I love you." Others need to have physical contact to know that their spouse loves them. And there are quite a few of us who prefer actions over anything. Your style and your spouse's style will not always match up. That is why it is so important to have the discussion. In seeking intimacy from men, part of the problem lies in women not sharing our love styles and taking the time to learn about our partner's love style. Rule no. 4 in love, never make assumptions. You'll get burned in the end. Have the conversation often and not during an argument. "What do you want from me?" is a sure fire way to start an argument. Instead, try "How can I love you in a way that helps you feel secure?" or "Help me to understand how you need to be loved." This opens the door for intimacy to come in and guards to fall.
- Leave a little slack in the line.
Let's face it. Men are forgetful. They have a lot on their minds and the date of the first time you grabbed the mustard packet at the same time is not at the forefront. So cut them some slack. Does it excuse them from forgetting your birthday or where he proposed? No, but if they do, it does not always mean they do not love you. Face it, we live in a world of information overload. We are human and bound to forget things from time to time. Want a quick fix to your husband always mixing up dates? Program his calendar in the phone and set 1 week or 2 days alerts and reminders. Maybe you have forgotten something or neglected to congratulate him on his fantasy football team making the playoffs. Life happens people. If we spend all of our time sweating the small things and harping over every last detail, we will miss out on what truly matters...just being with each other.
All in all, if we want to be "happy" and have the intimacy that we crave, we must first learn to be intimate with ourselves and understand what we need and what we are asking of our spouses, before we actually ask/demand it from them.