Getting Closer
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Getting Closer

Getting Closer

An eight-week intimacy building program that will greatly increase the closeness and pleasure you want to experience with your spouse.

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True intimacy is one of life's greatest pleasures. The potential for all of us to increase our level of closeness is great, provided we are willing to make some changes in our behavior towards one another.

Here is an eight-week intimacy building program that will greatly increase the closeness and pleasure you want to experience with your spouse. The ideal is to continue to use the previous weeks' tools and add the new one to the ones you have already practiced.


WEEK 1: THINK BEFORE YOU ACT

Marriages don't die overnight, they die a slow death based on each choice we make.

Every word we speak affects the quality of our marriage. We can choose to think before we open our mouths or just say what comes to mind. The impact of this choice over time is cumulative.

Before you speak or make any kind of response to your spouse, try pausing to ask yourself: "Will this bring us closer together or will it push us further apart? Will this give my spouse pleasure or pain?" After all, the key to building a strong relationship is giving each other pleasure. Try it for just one week and experience the power of doing it.


WEEK 2: GIVE TWO COMPLIMENTS BEFORE BED

Every night before going to bed tell your spouse two things you appreciate about him or her. It sounds simple but requires a little effort, especially after all the obvious things have been said over the first two weeks.

You'll need to look a little more carefully at your spouse and pay more attention to all the wonderful things you may have been missing.

As you get into the habit of noticing and expressing the positive qualities and actions of your spouse, you will experience a heightened sense of closeness. You will also find it very difficult to go to bed mad.


WEEK 3: FIND OUT WHAT MAKES YOUR HUSBAND FEEL RESPECTED AND YOUR WIFE FEEL LOVED

Judaism teaches that men and women have, what I call, different generic needs. A man's primary need is to be respected and supported by his wife. A woman's primary need is to feel loved.

Each partner should compile a list of things that make him feel respected and her feel loved.

Each partner should compile a list of things that make him feel respected and her feel loved.

For example, he appreciates her hanging up the phone and greeting him when he comes home from work; she likes when he surprises her with a special evening or short getaway that he has planned himself.

We can't read each other's minds, so it's good to spell out what you want from your spouse.


WEEK 4: HAVE A PERSONAL REQUEST MEETING

We all have personal needs within the marriage relationship. It can be very difficult for people to ask their spouses for what they want. The two biggest obstacles that block us from expressing our needs are fear of rejection and shame.

A husband or wife who feels uncomfortable for any reason about expressing his or her needs runs the risk of feeling angry and resentful, two emotions which foster anything but intimacy. The goal is to be assertive and to have the courage to ask for what we want.

For example, "I feel more secure when you drive slowly," or "I need more help with the children at bedtime," or "I want you to accept my weakness in this area and stop berating me."

In order to facilitate this process, it helps greatly to schedule regular times to discuss your needs. The scheduling of a meeting makes it okay to ask; it's a way of giving each other permission to discuss your needs, thereby minimizing the two main obstacles of fear and shame.


WEEK 5: DO THINGS THAT GIVE YOUR SPOUSE PLEASURE

Consciously choosing to give your spouse pleasure is one of the most powerful ways of increasing closeness. This exercise calls for acting on the information we have gotten from our spouses over the last two weeks.

Select at least three things that your spouse wants or needs and give it to him or her.

Select at least three things that your spouse wants or needs and give it to him or her.

If you think that "planned giving" is not spontaneous and therefore detracts from the genuineness of the act, ask yourself, "Would I rather get what I want through planning or not get it at all?"


WEEK 6: DO SOMETHING TOGETHER THAT YOU BOTH ENJOY

This one requires a lot of effort because we are all so busy that we tend to put "having fun with my spouse" last on the list of things we need to do.

This week, make the decision and plan to do something really enjoyable. Don't discuss any stressful subjects or business concerns. Focus on making it relaxed and pleasurable and enjoy the gift of having a life partner.


WEEK 7: GET INTO THE GRATITUDE ATTITUDE

As a rule, most of us do pretty poorly when it comes to having the proper degree of gratitude for all the good things our spouses constantly do for us.

This week, make a list of fifty things that your spouse does for you that you tend to take for granted, such as making dinner, washing the car, picking up the dry cleaning, driving the carpool, etc.

Pick one thing each day and say thank you. If you strive to master the gratitude attitude, your intimacy quotient will increase exponentially.


WEEK 8: HAVE AN ENCOURAGEMENT MEETING

We all need encouragement. One of the most loving and caring things couples can do for one another is to express support for one another as they go through life.

Life's battles are tough and we need to know our spouse is solidly behind us, rooting for us and taking our side. At your encouragement meeting, take two minutes to say all the supportive and kind things you can think of to your spouse, while your spouse remains quiet.

Take two minutes to say all the supportive and kind things you can think of to your spouse.

For example, "I don't tell you enough how much I admire your getting up so early to learn every morning. I know how tough it must be when that alarm goes off."

Then your spouse can make comments and say thank you for all the nice words before taking his or her turn doing the same.

It may be difficult at first if you are not used to encouraging one another, but the payoff in increased intimacy should fuel your effort to continue.

Published: August 12, 2000


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Visitor Comments: 10

(10) Dvirah, August 13, 2008 9:39 AM

To Annonymous 12/08/08

Two relevant platitudes: you can't give what you haven't got and if you keep taking from a well with no refill, the well will go dry. So in order to give, one must also be able - and have some opportunity - to take.

(9) Anonymous, August 12, 2008 6:14 PM

You Don't FEEL Love. You GIVE it.

The Torah's point of view -- what I look to Aish to provide -- is that love is to give not to receive or feel. Number "6" called this article "Great advice?" I don't know. Torah advice it is not.

(8) Anonymous, August 11, 2008 12:36 PM

love and respect

I'm not sure about the love and respect distinction. Love suggests closeness and intimacy - wanting to be understood and accepted. Respect suggests a certain distance - wanting to be admired and revered. Not sure this is a winning combination, unless there is a lot of faking going on.

(7) Roosevelt Osorio, August 9, 2005 12:00 AM

This is a good site. I`ve recently discover it. I`ve found new and practical principles which are useful not only for my own life but for helping others, since my wife and I work as marriage couple counselors
Congratulations



(6) Anonymous, December 14, 2004 12:00 AM

Great Advice

This Web-site has some really good advice My husband and I have tried some of the suggested methods and I feel love and i am doing my best to make sure that he feels respected. Thank you.

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