Sex. Love. Happiness.
Three of the most powerful words in the english language. A quick google search on any of these three words returns millions of links. Take a stroll through any bookstore and you’ll find whole sections dedicated to each subject. Countless Doctors, psychologists and coaches spend their lives helping couples optimize these areas.
With so many resources and so much information at our fingertips why aren’t we all living in our own personal utopia? Well, someone once said that if information was the solution we’d all be rich, happy and have washboard abs. Clearly, having an abundance of information has not turned us all into sexy, loving, happy people.
But I Want the Fairytale
Achieving and maximizing our sex lives, our love for our partners and ultimately our sense of happiness is not something that just happens. Unfortunately, life is not the fairytale. Men are not naturally Prince Charming, wooing their ladies with romance. Likewise, women are not the Fairy Princes who sing to the birds while they clean the house and live to make their man happy in every way. No, this is real life. The good news is that real life can be better than any fairytale.
Let’s Find Out How
Come to find out, sex, love and happiness are skills. They are skills that can and must be developed. Like any other skill, each can be mastered but very few of us are born gifted in these areas. We are born with the ability to breath and use our senses. That’s about it. Everything else we achieve must be learned. To master what we have learned we must practice. You know the saying, you have to crawl before you can walk, walk before you run. Let’s take that a step further and add that you have to master crawling, walking and running before you can perform ballet at the highest levels or play professional sports.
So what is the equivalent skill to crawling when it comes to sex, love and happiness? In her book, Re-Coupling-A Couples 4 Step Guid to Greater Intimacy and Better Sex, Sex Therapist Mary Jo Rapini states that communication is the foundation for successful intimacy and enhanced sexuality.
Talk, Talk, Talk
That seems easy enough, doesn’t it? Most of us learned to talk by the age of 3. We talk all of the time. We talk to our spouse, we talk to our kids, we talk to our boss, we talk to our friends. But how often are we really communicating?If you’ve ever tried talking to a child who is watching television you know that just because you said it doesn’t mean that the’ve heard it. No, communication is more than just talking. Effective communication is actually a set of skills including nonverbal communication, engaged listening, managing stress in the moment, the ability to communicate assertively, and the capacity to recognize and understand your own emotions and those of the person with whom you're communicating. Communication is a two way street.
Thank You For Picking Up Trash Bags
So, if in terms of sex, love and happiness, communication is the equivalent skill to crawling, how should we get started? Start by looking your partner in the eye when they have something to say. Take a deep breath and repeat back to them what you just heard. Don’t wait until your partner is saying something that seems really important. If your partner mentions that they are running to the store to pick up some trash bags, briefly stop what you are doing, look them in the eye, take a deep breath and repeat that they are running to the store to pick up trash bags. As silly as it may feel, practicing on the simple things will make it much easier when important life issues arise. Oh, and if you want to develop the skill and the relationship a bit further, add that you appreciate them going to the store to pick up trash bags. You will be surprised the difference listening, repeating and appreciating will make.
Now that you are crawling, here are a few topics you can use to practice your new skill.
- Share your favorite childhood memories
- Share stories about your first job
- Share stories from college
- Share your most embarrassing moments
- Talk about your real life role models
Try these out when you and your partner have a few minutes of free time. Start by turning off the TV and put down the iPhone. Face your partner and share a memory. If they share a memory with you, listen actively and repeat what they’ve shared adding that is sounds like a wonderful memory. Not only will you be developing your communication ability, but you will be laying the ground work for a more loving and happier relationship.
You are on a quest for better sex, deeper love and a sense of happiness. You will not arrive at your destination in one day. However, it’s up to you to take the first steps. Do these three things today and watch your relationship begin to bloom.
1. Reach out and hold your partners hand. Even if only for a minute.
2. Say “You did a great job” or “you are beautiful.”
3. Notice your partners effort and express gratitude. “Thank you for picking up trash bags and for all that you do for our family.”
If you’ve enjoyed this article and would like to continue the journey, read “Who Else Wants a Great Marriage” or download our free e-book entitled “Sex.Love. Happiness.”