How to Stay Together?

I recently took the most fabulous vacation I’ve ever taken with my husband to celebrate our 15th anniversary.

We were in paradise – the most romantic location combined with the best service, our own plunge pool, outdoor shower at our own private villa.

The interesting thing was that most of the couples there – only 29 villas, no children allowed – were on their honeymoon.

It was so lovely to be surrounded by couples madly in love and celebrating their union.

One night we had dinner with several couples and I was lucky enough to be seated next to an amazing young man who had great depth, wisdom, humor and curiosity. My kind of man!

He asked me “what advice would you give us for how to reach our 15th anniversary?”

How to sum that up in 2 minutes or less? I considered this a serious question. I valued this man and wanted my answer to be meaningful.

And the truth is we almost didn’t make our 15th anniversary.

And yet there we were celebrating it. So what could I share with this wonderful man that would guide him in his marriage? He clearly loved and adored his wife. She is a fabulous woman. What answer would be meaningful?

What would help them have a rockin’ relationship? And for that matter what would help you have a rockin’ relationship? And help me continue with mine?

I think there are two parts to the answer. The first one is you have to keep growing, both as individuals and as a couple. You have to tell each other the truth. It will come out anyway so speak it now.

But most important you have to be willing to be vulnerable and be intimate. Being truly intimate is scary, since most of us weren’t raised to be that open and vulnerable. I’m not talking just about being physically intimate. I’m talking about being emotionally intimate and exposed.

Let me give you a definition of intimacy as defined by Thomas and Patrick Malone in their book “The Art of Intimacy.” “Intimacy is derived from the Latin ‘intima’, meaning ‘inner’ or ‘innermost. Your inside being is the real you, the you that only you can know. The problem is that you can know it only when you are being intimate with something or someone outside yourself.”

As an adjective it means: personal, private, detailed, deep, innermost.”

So intimacy has to do with who you are at your core and your willingness to surrender, risk, be present, natural and real with another person.

It still makes me stop breathing if I think about it. I believe it’s the most frightening thing we do and that we will do anything to avoid it.

And it’s the only way to have a deeply meaningful relationship.

When love is new and young we are open – to a degree – and sharing. And then as we continue… (This is where many people stop and either blame the man or the woman, but it’s really their own fear and their choice if the other person reflects their fear. I wrote about this in my August 12th ezine, so I’ll continue with the assumption that you are onto the next stage in your relationship. If you’re not there yet, keep reading, you will be soon.)

Anyway, as we continue then the stakes get higher. To continue to grow and stretch and love we must become more vulnerable, more intimate in order for our relationship to be more meaningful. That’s why I started off saying we had to keep growing as individuals. Without that growth we won’t be willing to be intimate.

Sometimes people tell me, “Oh I don’t have any problem with intimacy.” I think either they are the most enlightened and fortunate person on the planet or they aren’t even aware of what intimacy really is. It’s usually the second reason.

Why is it so important to your relationship? Because it’s what we truly desire – to love and love deeply. We are souls after all, not just personalities. And souls want to love. I mean really love. As well as grow and learn.

So if you reach a point in your relationship where the day-to-day grind has taken over and you aren’t really being with the person, it’s time for some intimacy and there’s nothing like a quiet vacation – just the two of you – where that can occur.

Time spent talking, walking, kissing, laughing, trusting, holding hands, feeling safe to tell the other person what you’re thinking and feeling. Where you need support, encouragement. What more you’d like to give to the relationship and what more you’d like to receive.

It’s a time of renewal and faith. Time to love and share.

It’s not about drinking and going unconscious or staying so busy that you don’t have any intimate time together. Intimacy isn’t about “doing” it’s about “being.” Being yourself, being real, being true to yourself.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money. You do need to leave the cell phone turned off, the Blackberry and work projects at home.

This is your time to be real. To be vulnerable. To connect and bond.

If you aren’t saying “gulp can I do this?” – then you aren’t being vulnerable enough.

Believe me I had plenty of “Oh I don’t think I can do this”. The Gulps!

Here’s what helped me – I can’t NOT do this. I can’t sell out on myself because I’m afraid. So what. It just feels like I’ll die, but I know I won’t. And if I do, then I won’t have to face this intimacy thing again!! (A sense of humor really helps.)

So give it a try. Take small steps, trust, you’ll be fine. Small steps.

Your heart and soul will thank you. You will feel good about yourself and be ready to take the next small step. Your relationship will blossom.

It’s a choice, often uncomfortable, but it’s the best choice you’ll ever make.

Imagine the possibilities

© Carol Chanel

Q & A

From a reader in Barcelona, Spain – Isabella – a restaurant owner and chef

Q: I am currently in a relationship with a man I think is my soul mate. We’ve been together for five wonderful years. Lately though, ever since I opened my restaurant I’ve felt us pulling apart.

I work long hours and am tired when I come home. He has an important job that requires long hours as well. We are tired when we see each other and our only day off is Sunday. And we are both tired on that day.

What can I do? I don’t want to lose my relationship or my restaurant.

A: Isabella, I can feel how worried and troubled you are. I’m so glad you caught it now before too much more time elapsed.

Usually this is the point where someone in the relationship begins to feel rejected and makes ultimately harmful decisions out of that feeling.

Since I know that you have some extra income I’m going to suggest things that will allow you to not have to work when you’re together.

So for starters, let’s have you schedule a week day evening just for the two of you. Something in the middle of the week. Have a dinner catered in, or do some carry out. Preferably from a different restaurant. Spend some time just being together with music, candles, talking, touching, reconnecting.

Then on Sunday make a plan to keep the day just for the two of you. If you need to hire someone to help you during the week with chores do that.

I would like you also to do lunch together – I know you are more civilized than we are here in America and you actually enjoy lunch, eat slowly and socialize. So please add that in also. Start with one and see if you can make it twice a week.

Then here’s the big jump – I want you to plan a vacation. Just 10 days to start with. If you don’t have someone you can trust to run the restaurant while you’re gone, then set an intention, find and train them now. Then you can feel free to travel and have fun.

You have to set aside time and be with your man. I know how demanding running a business can be and you will be happy that you brought balance back into your life and spent more time with him.

You will be happier and more successful!

Have fun Isabella!

Resources

Since I’m still high from my vacation I want to recommend a great little book I found to help you plan yours:

SMALL LUXURY HOTELS OF THE WORLD

Filled with great pictures and descriptions you can see what you’re getting.

Their website is:

http://www.slh.com

The place we stayed was Ikal del Mar – Poetry of the Sea.

Their website is: http://www.ikaldelmar.com

I don’t think their website reflects all they have. And they do have a fabulous brochure. If you contact them I’m sure they’ll send it to you.

Happy Travels!

Carol's Services

I teach people to overcome the obstacles that keep them stuck yet longing for romantic relationships, more self-confidence and inspiration to accomplish their dreams.

We sometimes forget what it feels like to live from our hearts and souls. We forget the thrill of taking the brakes off and flying. Life is dull if we just live from our minds.

Are you - or someone you know - settling, for less than exciting, either in relationships or a career?

Call me. You don't have to be stuck! And once you are unstuck you can be joyful and free again!

If you would like to explore working with me, please call me at 310-998-8860.

You can visit my website at:
http://www.carolchanel.com

You'll find other articles there and more in-depth information about both my services and me.

Carol Chanel
Certified Life Coach
http://www.carolchanel.com
carolchanel@verizon.net 
310-998-8860

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