Romantic Relationship ToolkitJan 30, 2021 08:00PM ● By Diana Daffner
The dictionary defines romance as “a quality of mystery, excitement and remoteness from everyday life”. This is the quality that Valentine’s Day is meant to celebrate, as couples hope to focus and ignite the fire of their attraction. There are many resources for couples committed to intimacy. So, what “tools” are we using this year?
We can start by learning our partner’s preferred “love language”. Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages, has helped millions bring themselves into harmony with their partners. Knowing that our own preferred love language may not be the same as our partner’s, we can honor and delight them by using theirs.
Do they yearn for “words of affirmation”? Be sure to pick a meaningful Valentine’s Day card, or, better yet, write an original. Is an “act of service” the best gift they can receive? How about a coupon book with offers of what might be done for them around the house or on their pet project? If their language is “physical touch”, that coupon book might include some deliciously different offerings. And if their preferred love language is indeed “gifts”, we would be wise indeed to remember that this month.
A counselor, coach, therapist or other mentor can help us develop our communication abilities. This includes the importance of using “I” language, taking responsibility for how we think and feel in emotional situations. A relationship is enhanced when we issue more compliments than complaints. A recommended ratio is five positive comments to one negative, even including that slippery slope of “constructive criticism”. Do we know how it feels to be really heard, and to truly listen to our partner?
Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication can teach us a sense of how to communicate OFNR, by clearly sharing what we Observe, how we Feel, what we Need and what we want to Request from our partner. Practicing such forms of communication can deepen our bond with our partner.
Another avenue for deepening this bond is to explore Tantra or sexual practices. Tantra is an ancient spiritual teaching that encourages the mindful embrace of all life. A couple can gain much from experimenting with the joy of sacred loving and shared ecstatic intimacy. Maybe we have already read about or reviewed different ideas of sexual turn-ons and pleasure with our partner.
The most important question is: Are we remembering to use whatever tools are in our toolkit? How do we hold each other accountable for their use? Do we strive to be conscientious and conscious about applying what we’ve learned?
Don’t let these tools get rusty. We should take an inventory of what’s in our toolkit, and use them wisely and often. Valentine’s Day comes only once a year. Romance is a lifelong endeavor.
Diana and Richard Daffner authored Tantric Sex for Busy Couples: How to Deepen Your Passion in Just Ten Minutes a Day. The Daffners have led workshops for over 20 years to help couples discover meaningful joy. They now offer their entire workshop on video. Connect at 941-349-6804, [email protected] or IntimacyRetreats.com. See ad, page 23.
NOTE: Natural Awakenings readers can use code NA20 to receive a 20 percent discount on the video program.