Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Dance of Intimacy

Coming Back to Center in a Relationship

Frank & I joined a friend today in celebration of his union in marriage to the love of his life.

We were welcomed by family & friends, and we enjoyed an afternoon of hospitality and wonder-filled conversation with not even one moment of quiet lapse.

Graciousness abounded, and we were quite content with the beautiful energy that surrounded us.

So now we send this couple off to begin a new stage in their intimate relationship, but I must take this as an opportunity to build upon our own 22 year relationship.

Twenty-two years .. almost half of my earthly existence.

How blessed am I?!

Relationships are challenging, but the rewards outstay the trials ... if we are lucky.

I am lucky.

However I appreciate the realities and difficulties of life and growth.

I believe that growth, as in the growth of a tree, is a valuable key in a relationship.

Anyone in a long-term relationship knows that the dance of intimacy involves coming together and moving apart.

Early in a relationship, intense periods of closeness are important in order to establish the ground of a new union.

Just as a sapling needs more attention than a fully grown tree, budding relationships demand time and attention if they are to fully take root.

Once our relationships become more established, the individuals in the union begin to turn our attention outward again, to the other parts of our lives that also matter, such as work, family, and friendships.

This is natural and healthy.

However, if a long-term relationship is to last, turning towards one another recurrently, with the same curiosity, attention, and nurturing of earlier times, is essential.

In a busy and demanding world full of obligations and opportunities, we sometimes lose track of our primary relationships, thinking they will tend to themselves, and that is a mistake and neglect of the love that we have for our partners.

We may have the best intentions when we think about how nice it would be to surprise our partner with a gift or establish a weekly date night, yet somehow, life gets in the way.

We may think that our love is strong enough to survive without attention.

Even mature trees need water and care if they are to thrive.

One of the best ways to nourish a relationship is through communication.

If we feel that a distance has grown between us and our partners, we might be able to bridge the gap by sharing how we feel.

We tend to tell our friends how much we love them, but we often neglect expressing our feelings and emotions to our partners.

This is not to say that we need to accept blame or regret.

However, this is a call for us to focus instead on the positive, which is the fact that we want to grow closer together.

Sometimes, just acknowledging that there is distance between us has the effect of bringing our relationship into balance.

In some cases, more intense effort and attention might be required.

We may want to set aside some time to talk with our partner and come up with solutions together.

At any rate, we must remember to have compassion for each other.

We are in the same boat together and we try to maintain the ballast, the right balance of space and togetherness to keep our relationships healthy and thriving.

It is when we express faith and confidence in our partner that we can enjoy the slow dance of intimacy.

Love is a gift from God which is meant to be shared, and no one can take that away from us.

There are many people we love ... friends, spouses, family ...

We need to give thanks with every heartbeat for those we love, and accept their love in return.

Lastly, you know what?

I love you.


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