Whole Life Magazine

February / March 2017

Issue link: https://digital.copcomm.com/i/781893

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Page 21 of 43

I fell in love with my husband for his dependability, calm pres- ence, and genuine faith that everything would always be all right. Every request I asked from takeout to fi xing my tires would always be met with "sure" or "okay." For some- one who grew up believing the world was a frigid and un- forgiving place, his presence was a warm sweater. But after a decade of be- ing with a man stingy with his words where I practically vomited mine, I was insecure and afraid. Was everything be- tween us really all right? I was studying relationship therapy as a counseling psychology graduate student when I came up with an idea. What if we used journaling to connect? I hoped that it would be a neutral forum for sharing without the intensity of eye contact. But to be honest, I doubted it would work. Sharing your feelings whether on paper or in person still required risk, openness, and vul- nerability. But if I was going to take this relationship to marriage level, I needed to test the extent of our intimacy. Something surprising and even magical materialized on those black-lined sheets. He not only wrote how he felt, but unleashed thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that were attuned and heartfelt. It was all in there waiting to be ex- pressed. In reading it, I felt seen. "When I look at you lying down on the couch, I think of how much I love you," just couldn't have been experienced the same way if it was spoken. By asking questions periodically, we stayed connected through marriage and two children. It is our therapy, date night, and reminder that we are more than just roommates and care- takers. It has become as neces- sary as sleep and a babysitter. You can deepen your own rela- tionship and invite closeness by asking your partner open-ended questions like these: 1. What could I have done to love you better today? This is a brave request inspired by a quote from Thich Nhat Hanh, who says, "Please tell me how I can love you better." It requires courageous vulnerability and silencing an ego that wants to defend. 2. What do you want most right now? What can I do to support this? 3. What is one thing you love about our relationship? 4. What is your dream for us? 5. What are you afraid to tell me, but need me to hear? yoga & spirit INTIMACY In-between the Lines The Beloved by Deirdre Hade Beauty sits waiting upon the lip of a snowfl ake while wind's heart is set upon his desire the morning sighs wake-up! voluptuous reunion We are One. from: The (not so) Little Book of Surprises Waterside Press 2016 By Brandi-Ann Uyemura y o y o y o y o y o y o y u o u o u o u o u o u o n on t h t h t h t h t h t h t e he he he he he h co co co co co co c u ou ou ou ou ou o c u c u c u c u c u c u h ch ch ch ch ch c , I t h i n k o f h ow m u c h I l o v e y o u . " 22 wholelifetimes.com

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