Keeping this one a little shorter than normal. I know you guys have some serious wrapping to do! (As do I!)
Rolling in the “Deep”
Going “deep” in relationships can be like the revenge lyrics in Adele’s song, Rolling in the Deep. Ugly. Angry. Heavy. Yet we have some serious fantasies about going “deep” in our important relationships. We think that our intimacy problems can be solved by going deep. We think that if our spouses would just go deep, our marital difficulties will go away. And so we pursue the deep, dark, corners and crevices of our spouse’s minds and hearts. Or we wish they would pursue ours. We seek out sex therapy or marriage counseling hoping the therapist will help us go “deep”—or at least our spouses.
An Emotional Bloodletting
But what do we really mean by going “deep?” I think in my field it often means a kind of emotional bloodletting. If we can just get them to cry…They’ll release the stuff they’ve been holding onto for so long…They’ll open up…They’ll be able to be intimate. And, surely enough, sometimes when people finally cry, they open up. They have a release. And this can lead to a few days, weeks, and rarely—but sometimes—months of greater openness in the relationship where marriage difficulties once ran rampant.
I love it when it happens in a session with a couple that hasn’t talked to each other in a very long time. I’m glad for the relief they feel in that moment. But I’m also keenly aware that this is not the end, and it’s barely a beginning for them, if at all. Because the work that gets folks to long term happiness and stability isn’t something that happens in an emotional moment in a marriage counseling session. It isn’t about going deep. It’s about a slow opening. An emergence. That takes place over years and years of thought and observation.
Getting Open vs. Going Deep
The work that gets folks to long term happiness and stability (and a better sex life!) is sober work. Perhaps you think I’m just mincing words, but I think there is a big difference between the emotional process of going deep and the emotional and intellectual process of learning to be open. Deep is emotional. Open is emotional AND intellectual. Deep entangles your spouse. Open sets them (and you) free. Deep often entails begging. Open entails including.
Rolling in the Sheets
Do you wish you were rolling in the sheets with your beloved? Consider giving up your efforts to get them to go deep with you. Getting connected isn’t about an emotional release. Slow and steady wins the race. Slow, methodical, purposeful step-after-step. Your own opening is what’s important here. Your own relaxation. Your own focused, peaceful, beautifully emotional, and thoughtful opening. Oh, and don’t forget to laugh along the way. A little laughter at your own expense goes a very long way.
Stay tuned for the first blog series of 2018 on Women and Leadership. I can’t wait to start writing!