Shela Dean, Guest Author
• Why do made-for-each-other love bugs butt heads, step on each others toes, and get their wires crossed?
• In a “discussion” with your sweetie, have you ever said something like, “Well, in my book [fill in the blank].”?
The answer to the second question is: Sure you have. The answer to the first question is this:
The “book” you’re referring to is the unique and complex mix of your preferences, opinions, priorities, standards, points of view, and sensitivities, all shaped by your DNA, upbringing, education, life’s experiences, religious or philosophical training, culture, and self-perception. It’s the guide for how you navigate life and it’s the standard by which you determine if others are flying right. In the context of your relationship, I call this your Foreplay Navigator™. We all have one.
Here’s the problem: You behave (and judge your sweetheart) according to your Foreplay Navigator while your sweetheart behaves (and judges you) according to his or her Foreplay Navigator. It’s like playing a game with two different sets of rules where neither of you knows the others rules. True, the Foreplay Navigators of you and your sweetheart overlap in fundamental ways, but they also differ in a bazillion ways and it’s those differences that result in the head butts, stepped on toes, and crossed wires that often play havoc with intimacy.
Intimacy isn’t just about sex. It’s also about the emotional connection that is the hallmark of a truly great relationship. ~ Shela Dean
If only you could push the “print” button and exchange copies of Foreplay Navigators! Since you can’t, you must:
Never assume your sweetheart sees the world as you do. There are times when your differences require negotiation (such as whether to raise the baby Jewish or Baptist), but it is futile to butt heads over who’s right and who’s wrong. And while you may be passionate about what color the bathroom should be painted, your opinion does not rise to the level of universal truth. Differences are just that. They are not matters of right and wrong.
Never assume your sweetheart sees life as you do. It’s easy to get your toes stepped on if your sweetheart doesn’t know, for example, that according to your Foreplay Navigator, a gift certificate is the ultimate I-gave-this-no-thought acknowledgement of a special occasion, or having coffee with an ex who blew into town is tantamount to cheating. When you feel the pain of stepped on toes, it’s probably nothing more than an innocent clash of Foreplay Navigators.
Never assume your sweetheart sees you the way you see yourself. When you have beliefs that diminish your self-value (and who doesn’t), it’s easy to get your wires crossed and see or hear negative messages when no such thing is intended. Your sweetheart loves you. If you don’t believe that, reconsider your relationship situation. If you do, don’t twist your sweetheart’s words and actions to fit your self-perception. When you feel hurt or disappointed, take a close look at why. Perhaps it’s a chapter in your Foreplay Navigator that needs a rewrite. For example, if your sweetheart says, “The rice is salty,” and you hear, “You’re a terrible cook,” maybe the problem is your self-esteem.
Head butts, stepped on toes, crossed wires. They are inevitable in every relationship. You can allow them to destroy intimacy. Or, you can see them as opportunities to learn more about your own and your sweetheart’s Foreplay Navigator and if you do, you will have a richer, more intimate, and more rewarding relationship. I promise.
Copyright © 2010 – Shela Dean. Shela Dean is a Relationship Happiness Coach and speaker. She has counseled more than 2,000 couples since 1983 and is the author of Frequent Foreplay Miles, Your Ticket to Total Intimacy! – a guide to improving intimacy for couples. Since retiring from the practice of law, she has shared her relationship strategies with others through one-on-one relationship coaching, seminars, and now through her new book detailing a fun and effective strategy for improving emotional intimacy. Visit Shela’s Website!
Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and a nondenominational minister. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.
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