How One Spouse Can Lead the Other Back to Intimacy
Willard F. Harley, Jr., Ph.D. is best known as author of the internationally best selling book, His Needs, Her Needs: Building An Affair-proof Marriage, here he writes about how one spouse can lead the other back to intimacy.
While demanding and arguing is instinctive in the state of Conflict, one spouse can lead the other back to Intimacy by resisting the Taker’s temptation to fight. It takes two to argue, and if one spouse makes an effort to avoid making demands and judgmental statements, and tries to be thoughtful and meet the other’s needs, the other spouse usually calms down and does the same thing.
Once they see each other’s caring efforts, and rebuild their Love Bank accounts, they re-enter the Intimacy stage. But there’s an irony that trips up some couples. Which spouse do you think is the first to move back into the state of Intimacy: the one who makes the first effort to meet the other’s needs, or the recipient of that effort? You may have guessed it. The recipient of care is usually the first to return to the state of intimacy, and not the one who make the greatest effort to save the relationship.
If you set a good example by meeting your spouse’s needs first, alas, that usually means that your own needs are met last. Your Taker is not pleased with this arrangement, and may try to sabotage it. You will need to make a deliberate and patient effort to override the Taker’s instinct to retreat back to fighting and name-calling. But if you resist that instinct to argue, and instead focus attention on behaving thoughtfully and meeting your spouse’s needs, your spouse will be encouraged to reciprocate.
How many times have you looked your loved one in his or her beautiful eyes during a time of conflict and thought to yourself–“Why don’t you understand me?”
You think you’ve expressed yourself clearly…You’ve used the best non-violent communication you know, “I” statements, and even still, he/she stands there, just looking at you, not getting you at all. This is a frustrating time in a relationship.
You want closeness and intimacy with your loved one, but you need to first get to a place of understanding in order to have it.. You want to understand and be understood and more than anything, you want to feel each other’s love.
There have been thousands of books written on the differences in the way men/women communicate, the way different personality types communicate, the way people who were brought up with very different role models communicate, the way people with different astrological signs communicate, etc., etc..
But, I really like how Dr. Gary Chapman breaks it down for us in his book The 5 Love Languages (which has been read by millions of people around the world). He recommends that when we learn our partner’s love language, we know better how to fill their “Love tank”. Do you say “I love you,” or, Do you show your love with an action or gift? Do you offer a loving touch? Or, Do you give quality time?
What does your loved one need?
If we can know how to love in easy moments, then times of conflict become less difficult.
Restore intimacy in your relationship by first filling each others “Love Tanks.”
Once you feel the love you desire, the intimacy you crave comes naturally.