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I feel very blessed to have married the same man twice. At the time we got divorced it certainly didn’t feel like a blessing…more like a disaster. But 8 years apart taught me some incredible things which I want to share with you today, because that elusive thing we thrive on called connection can be tricky to navigate in an intimate relationship.
Just what do we mean by connection?
You know it when you feel it. It’s the spark, that invisible multi-faceted thing that you can’t quite put your finger on that bonds two people together.
Connection happens on all levels…mental, physical, emotional and spiritual.
When we feel it it’s wonderful but when it sometimes disappears, which while very common, can be incredibly challenging.
Going back to the start
It might seem a long time ago if things aren’t how you’ like them to be right now.
But I think we can all learn some important lessons from the budding of intimacy.
In that initial blossoming it seems effortless.
Our attention is fully on the other person, we want to spend lots of time with them and we want to know everything about them. It’s all new and intriguing. If you “click” and that invisible thing we call chemistry is there, it becomes a delicious time of falling in love.
At this time we have our rose coloured spectacles on. We forgive things easily, and we overlook little annoyances because we are always looking for the best. Focusing on what we love instead of what we don’t love.
Have you ever experienced at the decline of a relationship that the things that you loved at the beginning can becomes the very things that you hate? That’s kind of odd really, if you think about it. The behaviour is the same. So what’s changed?
Think about what’s different
In my story what changed was our life circumstances. Life can be challenging enough but sometimes it throws you a huge curveball. Our bubble burst when, 8 weeks before our baby was due, we found ourselves in the intensive care unit with me fighting for my life.
Our baby was born 8 weeks premature by emergency caesarean section and in the days following I contracted necrotising fasciitis, more commonly known as the flesh eating bug.
To cut a long story short I made it. But it was far from an easy ride. I lost my womb and ovaries along with two thirds of the flesh on my torso. I also contracted septicaemia which damaged my feet.
I spent three months in hospital bed bound and underwent numerous surgical procedures to rebuild my body. I also had a near death experience (NDE) where I literally saw the light! But that’s another story.
My whole world had been turned upside down. Mentally, emotionally and physically I was struggling to deal with a severely disfigured body and what that meant for me as a woman. Spiritually I had just had a big wakeup call that challenged my world view.
A BIG mistake we made as a couple was we didn’t talk. This thing seemed way too big and painful to speak about. And so we hid from it and therefore hid from each other.
So #1 learning – Always talk
Let’s face it, life is full of ups and downs, ebbs and flows. I know my example is big here but you also constantly face the challenges of life. And it is all too easy for the demands of life to get in the way, be that work, children, family, hobbies, friends…all of us have limited time and the choice to make of where we spend it.
No matter how painful it seems, honesty and conversation are true blessings. And sometimes you may need to get some support from someone who can help you talk to each other.
Which brings me to learning #2 – Make time for each other
It is one of the most crucial things to do. And again one of the easiest things to let slide. Especially if you have a young family. Everyone else’s needs can seem more important but they are not.
It is super important to put you and your partner high up on your priorities and plan special time together.
Learning #3 – Focus on what IS working instead of what ISN’T
It’s very common and very easy when things are not right in our intimate relationship to focus on what’s wrong and try to fix it. I know I obsessed about it because it was so important to me and I desperately missed that wonderful sense of connection.
After we had separated I met this amazing man. He was in his late 80’s and had studied psychology his whole life. He told me how he would lie in bed at night and silently speak to his wife. He shared with me how what you focus on grows and pointed out that if you focus on what’s wrong in your relationship you will get more of that.
The truth of this hit me like a ton of bricks. I had fought so hard to correct what was wrong in our relationship. I’d pushed, I’d pointed out it was broken and we needed to fix it.
What I didn’t do was focus on what was right with it.
It made me realise that in trying to ‘fix’ it and desperately seeking that connection all I had done was unwittingly pushed it further away.
What was missing was learning #4 – Appreciation
Develop a practice (daily is good) where you regularly think about what’s good about your relationship and your partner. What is it that you appreciate him/her for?
Spend 5-10 minutes thinking about it. This can be things inside and outside of your relationship. What are they good at? What do they do well? What makes you smile about them?
Connection is an inside job, it’s a feeling. Focusing on what you appreciate about someone else starts to create a warm feeling inside. It also naturally spills out of you towards them. When someone else is genuinely appreciating you it feels really good to be on the receiving end of that.
Appreciation is so powerful in any relationship. With my husband I see him energetically grow as I appreciate him, it goes both ways, and feels so good. Look for things to be thankful and grateful for rather than focusing on the things which are missing. Remember what you focus on grows.
And finally for today learning #5 – What state are you in?
When it comes to the Women’s PowerTypes – the 5 powerful models of women’s leadership that make up your unique PowerTypes Profile – they can be immensely helpful in your intimate relationship.
The Lover is definitely your chief ally on so many levels. Firstly you need to be filled up. I see so many women running on empty and then wondering why their intimate relationship is lacking. I say this with zero judgement because that was me too! I was always so busy doing everything and putting myself last. This meant I was running on empty and had nothing to give.
It is still me occasionally but the difference is now I see it and immediately switch to Lover PowerType.
Let’s face it…Superwoman and intimacy are not a good match!
Enhancing your Lover energy helps you fill yourself up. Then as the over-flowing cup you become highly attractive to your mate. When your needs are met you have extra to share. This is a highly magnetic quality and so important for us to embrace.
I see this so clearly with my husband. Having married the same man twice makes it all the more clear. I appreciate him every day – and interestingly, I watch him wanting to do more and more for me.
I hope my lessons help you to rediscover the connection in your relationship if it’s gone into hiding. It’s most likely still there just buried underneath life.
How about you? Please share in the comments anything you have found helpful to re-connect with your partner.
If you’d like to read my full story of near death, recovery and navigating being more loving (I messed it right up at first) you can read all about it in my book “From Vegas to the Pearly Gates: A gritty, true-life account of love at its best and absolute worst.”
About Wendy Harrington
Writer, Wife, Mother
Wendy is passionate about peace and harmony. Her near death experience opened her life up to increased love and happiness (after a battle with herself). She is the author of 2 books, mother of 3 daughters and wife of the love of her life.
She’s also one of the One of many team.