Solid Gold Options To Create Intimacy
I get asked all the time by my coaching clients:
“In my relationship, what do I do when I don’t know what to do?”
They continue …
“I want to feel connected to my partner but I don’t know what to do to inspire more connection.”
In this short post, I offer 2 reliable and effective (what I call “solid gold”) strategies to have in your back pocket for the situations in which you don’t know what to do …
1. Ask your partner “What’s it like to be you right now?”
At first glance, this statement may seem incredibly simple. And it is. But it can be incredibly skillful and powerful.
It is open-ended. Compare this approach with an alternative such as “What’s the matter?” or “Are you okay?”.
I have helped so many couples in which one of them asked “Are you okay?” and the other responded “I don’t seem okay to you?!? Do you always have to think something is wrong?” Maybe the partner who asked is open and curious. But the question lands with the receiving partner as an assumption that something is wrong.
“What’s it like to be you right now?” communicates an openness to whatever your partner wishes to share – good or not so good, a celebration or sadness or anything in between.
This question is curious and generous. It is explicit in communicating a willingness both to listen and to try to understand what it is like to be them. Those are the foundations of intimacy.
Give it a try and see what happens. Over time, dial in the language to what fits for the two of you.
2. Ask your partner “What’s one thing I could do right now that would feel supportive to you?”
A common pitfall for many couples is for one partner to assume that they know what the other person needs. Most times, it backfires. For example, one offers advice, when their partner really wants to be heard or to be comforted with a hug.
I hear over and again from clients, “I want more support.” To which their partner responds, “It is a no win. Whatever I do is never good enough.”
Most often, partners want to support each other. They just don’t know how.
The question “What’s one thing I could do right now that would feel supportive to you?” is very generous in asking your partner what would feel good to them.
Rarely there is a one-size-fits-all approach that works for all couples at all time. For example, I have experienced that this approach is not always the best option when one partner feels a high level of stress …
For some partners, especially in times of stress, hearing this question can feel like adding another burden – the partner on the receiving end may feel obligated to consider their needs and what their partner can do. If you try this approach and that’s the outcome, what may work well is to ask a variation of this question when your partner is not under stress, such as “When you are upset or overwhelmed, what are some typical things I could do that would feel supportive?”
I hope at least one of these options speaks to you and contributes to more connection & intimacy in your romantic relationship. Give them a try and modify them to suit your needs.
Do you have other options that work well for you? Or have you tried one or both of these proposals and would like to share your experiences doing so? If so, please share via the comments section below.