In the previous post we discussed how your relationship is its own being, the “third body.”
How to enrich the third body
First, sit down with your partner and have a conversation about your third body. It is often easier to speak about your relationship as a “third body” rather than “the relationship,” As a guy I know for a man the phrase, “let’s talk about our relationship” makes us look for the closest exit.
Once you set the context, then each of you can speak as if you are the third body. When you are speaking answer these questions:
- What is not being said?
- What are the feelings of the third body?
- What is being acted out or expressed in other ways? They may be indirect comments, actions or feelings. It might even be your kids acting out.
- What does the third body need that it’s not getting?
- What nourishes it?
- What are its wild desires?
Now that you have a conversation started, keep the energy moving. Pick another time within a month where you can pick this back up. Then come up with three actions that each of you will do separately (for example, go to bed earlier, so that when you are with your partner, you have more energy). Then create another three actions that you will do together, such as hold hands in public. Go for fun things. This is not about fixing anything or doing therapy! It is about feeding a hungry body.
Need vs. desire
Building your third body will bring up your needs, those things that in the past you used control to get. Speak what you can’t live without. Speak about those qualities you feel are necessary for a good relationship. We all have a few we feel are silly. They may be, but until spoken, you risk letting them become like a computer virus that can sabotage you. It’s not that you have to share every little thought. Or that you have to have every need met. It’s about opening up in a deeper way. You may find that once you share the need, it dissipates.
You might be programmed to believe that your partner is the only person who can meet your needs. That is limiting for both of you. Or you may discover that you partner is more than glad to fulfill that need now that he or she knows about it.
Expressing your needs will relax both of you. Often those needs were coming up in unconscious ways. For example, you may have a need to have your partner demonstrate their love. A perfectly healthy need, but because you felt it was silly, you never shared it. Yet because it continued to exist you did things such as ask for compliments in public or flirted with others to receive attention from your partner. You may have never connected your behavior to your unexpressed need.
The more your needs are out in the open, the more space there is for your desires to show up. Your desires are those things that “would be nice.” They may exist in your head as fantasies. They also are the magnet that draws the two of you closer. With your fantasies, you get to play as a couple. I’m not just talking about sexual fantasies, I’m speaking about the little ways you want to be loved. You might have a fantasy to be served breakfast in bed. I’m told women have fantasies about men doing housework! Ask. Talk. Listen. You’ll probably be surprised.
Deepening your relationship, and relaxing your hold on your needs, takes practice. We all are conditioned to do it like our parents, and others. To learn a new behavior requires repetition.
This practice can produce immediate benefits of deeper intimacy. Frequently a man in one of my men’s groups will take on one of these tasks for the week. He will come back wanting to share how his fear quickly turned into excitement once he started speaking what he never spoke. Inevitably, with a big smile on his face, he’ll also tell us how he had some of the best sex of his life.
Let the practicing be a team sport that you and your partner practice together at least weekly. You will have days where it feels like work… then you will have those days where heaven opens up.
The final post in the series goes even deeper. You will learn how to create the fourth body.