The New Intimacy
Archive 02
 

Menstuff® has compiled information and books on the issue of Relationships. This section is an archive of a weekly column featured daily on our homepage by husband and wife psychology team, Judith Sherven and Jim Sniechowski. They live in Windham, NY and can be heard M-F 4-5 PM and Saturdays 9-Noon on www.wisdomradio.com. They are the bestselling authors of "The New Intimacy" and "Opening to Love 365 Days a Year." Their latest book is Be Loved for Who You Really Are: How the differences between men and women can be turned into the source of the very best romance you'll ever know. Visit their website at www.thenewintimacy.com For their free weekly email newsletter, send email to thenewintimacy-on@mail-list.com You can write us with questions about your personal relationship. We print one letter a week with our answer. You can reach us at: thenewintimacy-list-owner@mail-list.com

April 1-7
March 25-31
March 18-24
March 11-17
March 4-10
February 25-March 3
February 18-24
February 11-17
February 4-10
January 28-February 3
January 21-27
January 14-20
January 7-13
December 31-January 6
See
Books, Issues

April 1-7


Loving Endearments

Telling someone "I love you"is very important in keeping intimacy fresh and alive. And it doesn't require much. Three words is all. And that is an endearment that can be given anytime, anywhere.

But what about writing a love letter. "Oh," you may be thinking, "that takes a lot of work." Yes, it's true, when most of us hear the phrase "love letter" we imagine reams of handwritten sentiments, poetic at the very least. But you know, a love letter need not be long and belabored. What makes an expression of love so meaningful is when you write something about the other person. Here's what we mean.

Many people think that by saying "I love you because you make me feel good," they have expressed their love for another person. The fact is they haven't. What they've done is express how they feel in response to the other person, and haven't spoken about the other person at all.

What if you were to say "I love you because you are so gentle, or so considerate, or so determined, or so creative, or so cute, or so good with the kids, or so careful with our finances, or so helpful around the house, or so patient with the kids and their homework, or in some way that identifies what it is about the other person that you love. That is an expression of love about and for the other person.

So a love letter could be a long list or as short as a two-line statement placed on his/her pillow so he/she can see it as they are laying down to sleep. And what if you did that once, twice, four times a week. Then the long love letter can be broken into short pieces that will be much more meaningful anyway.

Take some time to list what it is you love about the one you love. Then express it. Give yourself and your lover the endearment of who you are and who they are.

The New Intimacy

For this week and the next two weeks we will feature Katherine Ginn in this section of our newsletter. Kate is an international facilitator/speaker on Mega-Learning and Colour. She lives in Wimbledon, England.

Physics of Thought--Its Contribution to Deliberately Creating Unconditional Love

Hello readers, did you do the exercise from last week? If you did, you will have discovered your list did not have EXACTLY the same words as anyone else. So who holds the truth on the words you selected? YOU ALL DO! This exercise illustrates that we all hold a grain of The Truth. Very often in our thinking we dismiss others and their truth and as we are working towards working with the magic of our differences through this email ezine, this exercise allows us to see and appreciate those differences.

What are your thoughts costing you when it comes to your relationships?

Through our ability to think thoughts, we are able to figure out things, make decisions, take action and create beliefs. Many of us want our relationships to become better BUT we won't spend time looking at our core beliefs which are a result our thoughts. A belief is when you accept your thoughts as being true.

The majority of us believe our thoughts are ideas that reside inside our heads, are private and for our own use. Who thinks your thoughts? Nobody can get inside your head to think any of your thoughts for you, so you are 100% responsible for your thoughts.

The energy that human thought produces, though minute is measurable, and studies confirm there is a large energetic difference between a loving and a fearful thought. A thought is a REAL entity and the reason you are unaware of it is because it is outside the physical senses and operates faster than the speed of light.

An analogy of how thoughts work--think of a radio channel. The broadcasting station beams a frequency out into the atmosphere and you then use a radio to tune into the frequency in order to listen to the program. The frequency beamed out into the atmosphere exists all around you UNTIL you decide to tune in through an appropriate device. Your thoughts are the same as a radio frequency and you are like a mini-broadcasting station--constantly beaming out your positive and negative thoughts into the atmosphere in and around you which are picked up by others consciously and unconsciously. We tune in through listening, observing, and then speaking. Or you could look at your thoughts like tuning forks. When one tuning fork of a particular frequency is dinged the other tuning forks of the same note also begin to vibrate. This is the Law of Attraction.

So what are your thoughts costing you when it comes to creating the relationship of your dreams? What are your core beliefs about relationships? What are you beaming out? By exploring the magic of your differences through your thinking you are both offering one another the opportunity to heal and to create a strong, supportive loving bond. We'll see you next week for The Chemistry of Emotion.

Source: By Kate Ginn kathleenginn@totalise.co.uk

Ask Judith & Jim

Dear Judith & Jim,

I am 23 years old with a husband and 2 children. My husband is from the East coast and I am from the West. We met in Idaho and recently moved to Massachusetts. We have been staying with my sister-in-law who is in the middle of a divorce. She is in the process of selling her house and the sale is scheduled to close at the end of August. We have been here for roughly 4 months and are having no luck finding a place to live. My dilemma is finding a balance between dealing with my own stresses of the trying situation and being a source of support to my husband. I'm a stay-at-home mom and needless to say after apartment hunting and taking care of the kids all day I am frustrated. I know that the last thing he needs when he gets home is to deal with a defeated wife. Do you have any advice on how to get past this?

Sincerely, Wits End

Dear Wits End,

You can't get past it because you can't get past what is real. You are exhausted and he needs support. It can be said that the last thing you need to hear is his complaining about you and the kids after what you've done during the day.

So you two must work togther during this tough time. It is hard for both of you and that's a fact. Please don't deny it. Talk with him about his difficulties and yours and tell him you need to be allies. You need to partner up to meet this challenge life has brought you. It won't be the last. Because, if you will not be recognized for what you do and how you feel, either by suppressing it our out of a desire to not upset him, or by his demand, vocally or just with looks, that he doesn't want to hear, you will begin to lose part of yourself. That will draw you away from the marriage and make you less and less a partner. It will become like a cancer that will spread. Don't let it.

Keep talking to and with each other. Keep the connection open to complain about how tough life is, to express our fear, sadness, even depression and do it together, then you can experience the hidden spiritual blessing in what you are going through together!

We wish you well.

March 25-31


Quote of the Week

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead

Loving Endearments

This week we had need of having several photos processed for promotional use. We took them to Bokland, a custom visuals outlet near us in Albany. We'd been there before, in fact on September 11, with a similar order.

When we were there last we met Sarah and Chris, two lovely women who work behind the counter. We all share our joined shock and grief in response to the attack. In fact, Judith and Sarah, who were complete strangers at the time, held each other and cried together.

This week, when we arrived, we all greeted each other. Then Sarah, who was excited, said she had something for us. From a shelf behind the counter she drew out a rectangular shaped object wrapped in bubble wrap and handed it to us. We were mystified.

As we were opening it, Sarah called Chris who appeared before we had the package unwrapped. Chris was clearly excited which added to our puzzlement.

Once it was open we saw a feature article about us with two color photos which had been published in the Albany Times Union in October. Chris and Sarah had mounted the article on a piece of matt board and gave it to us as a gift. We were completely surprised and very touched. The connection we had made was real and the endearment they expressed was deeply moving. We all smiled and beamed on one another and, once we returned home, we immediately hung their gift, their loving endearment, on a wall in Judith's office.

When connections are real, the possibilities are endless.

The New Intimacy

Deliberately Creating Unconditional Love: The astonishing power of our thoughts and feelings by Kate Ginn

Doesn't it strike you as odd that our lives - no matter whether we are rich or poor - appear on the one hand to be tough and fraught with worries, fears and survival and on the other bringing us moments of happiness, joy and ecstasy that sends us searching for more. The dream of each individual regardless of race, creed or continent is to be loved, respected and appreciated for who they really are! However, if science and religion have the answers to WHY we are here and HOW to live life - then why are our relationships individually and collectively lacking in wholesome unconditional love? Judith & Jim are constantly sharing with you HOW to create the new intimacy and understand the cycles of love and its natural path to greater loving. It is my aim to share with you an understanding that has helped me to become more open-hearted and learn the value of creating a heart of peace.

In my opinion the reason why we don't experience fulfilling loving relationships in our lives is two fold ... we as a species:

  • Create specialism, with the end result of separation. In the olden days science and religion were one and the same but today they are two different entities each with many specialisms which promote separation and segregation. If one is to consider life as an eco-system ... then both science and religion are vital ingredients of the foundation to an eco-system. They are individually interesting subjects but create greater strength when integrated together and form part of the collective foundation of life.
  • Remain ignorant of our essential nature through the lack of integration of scientific and universal principles that are common to all people.

In the next three weeks, I will be discussing these two areas with the aim to show you HOW your thoughts and feelings play a large part in HOW you create intimacy in your relationships with people and the world. The first week I will deal with the physics of thought. The second week I will deal with the chemistry of feelings. In the third and final week I will show you how to integrate the two together in order that you begin to consciously CHOOSE to co-create intimacy through understanding the integrated vibratory nature of manifestation in the physical world and ultimately be loved for who you really are.

Here's an exercise you can do with your loved ones. For a couple of minutes write down all the words you can about a single subject such as love or sex or friendship or the home, etc. This would be particularly important if there is an area you are finding difficult to agree upon. Then read out the list to one another and make a check next to each word that you have that is the same as the other person or people within the group. What is it that you will find out about one another? I think you will be highly surprised at the results and I will discuss them next week before the physics of thought.

Have a great week and I look forward to introducing you to the physics of thought.

Ask Judith & Jim

Dear Judith & Jim,

My husband and I were married almost 7 years ago. We have had our share of troubles, even before marriage. We also both come from dysfunctional backgrounds, mine more so than his, I would say. Several months ago, I filed for divorce. The reasons I did so dealt with physical violence (I have hit him too), lack of respect and understanding, his need to blame me for ALL his faults, different views on financial matters, and his never ending wrong choices in regard to different things. After filing for divorce, I was with another man sexually a couple of times. I told my husband this, only mentioning one of the times, but he doesn't believe me (or he doesn't want to bring himself to believe me). We've gone back and forth as to if we want to try to work on our marriage or not, and have tried a little counseling; that didn't last long for various reasons. He later started seeing someone also, on more occasions than I (not that that matters). Anyhow, after I found out he had been seeing someone, I could not handle it at all. I realized that I still care for him more than I thought. (At least that is what I am telling myself). I asked him to go to counseling again with me, and he said yes at first, and then he said he wants to stay with me, but doesn't want the counseling. I really think we both need counseling, personal and marriage counseling, but I agreed hesitantly to try and make it work without him getting any.

I am still getting personal counseling for myself. I always told myself I would not stay with any man, just for the sake of the children (my mom did that), but now I am questioning that. Should I stay with him even if he doesn't get counseling (he really needs it!), or can I really make our marriage work, if I just work on myself, changing the dysfunction that I learned as a child, and incorporating those changes into our marriage?

Dear Should I,

Yes it is possible for one partner to change a marriage through counseling even if the other does not participate. But both have to seriously want the marriage to work. And both have to assume and accept responsibility for contributing to the difficulties. One partner can take the lead and become the other's teacher but that can only last for a while. Partners can be teachers only when that is reciprocal. So, getting counseling and carrying the entire load while he refuses generally ends up in more resentment and a divorce in the long run.

But please continue the therapy for you because you are repeating a deeply established pattern--swearing not to repeat your mother's marriage and then doing it anyway. That pattern is ingrained in your psyche but it can be uprooted so you don't have to do it again.

Also, we're sure you are aware of the work you need to do to heal what happened in your childhood. That's having an effect here not only in what you do but whom you've chosen.

We wish you well.

March 18-24


From Judith & Jim

On March 7th we celebrated our 15th anniversary of meeting. It was on a blind date set up by someone neither of us knew well. While we weren't each other's "type" and there was no instant chemistry, we enjoyed being together and continued to get together.

It wasn't until our 4th date that the magic showed up and just holding hands was so intense and magnetic (we'd not touched in any way before) that we knew something special was happening to us.

And it just keeps getting richer, more fun and more romantic!

Don't ignore the magic in your life, and in your relationships. And, by all means, celebrate all that is good and rewarding and loving that you create each and every day.

Quote of the Week

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly. Richard Bach

Loving Endearments

In a world where we are urged to keep to ourselves and let well enough alone, we tend to put up with much more than we would like and even have to. Yet, sometimes the most endearing, the most loving gesture you can make to the one you love is to challenge them for the ways you see they are limiting themselves.

There are those who argue that we have no right to impose ourselves on one another. And Judith and I would agree. You cannot impose. Not just because it is emotionally and spiritually reprehensible. It doesn't work. So why bother.

But there is a difference between imposing and caring deeply enough to point out where your lover is shortchanging him or herself. We all need the trusted support and point of view of those we live our lives with. We generally cannot see ourselves as well as those near us. The evidence for that is how much easier it is to tell someone else what they are doing to hurt themselves and then are blind to our own shortfalls.

The endearment is to speak up. Your love will be expressed through your explicit intention to focus on the well being of your partner. You cannot suggest something to someone merely for your own sake. Granted, if your partner changes for his or her own good, you will benefit. But that cannot be your primary intention. Why? Because it won't work. No one wants to be carved into a pretzel just for the other person's pleasure. So why bother?

We all need each other, and we need even more those who are nearest.

So don't be afraid to speak up to your lover. You may have the key to an insight or an understanding that can bring important change to his or her life and yours as well.

The New Intimacy

Two people are always teaching each other exactly how they expect to be treated -- what they'll give and what they'll put up with -- right from the first moment of their relationship. So the shape of their relationship, how they are together, is a co-creation for which they are both responsible.

Here's an example of a couple we worked with (their names have been changed):

When Catherine and Ted became involved she recognized Ted's deep need to be right. So she found herself silencing her own opinions. Ted understood Catherine's need to be taken care of, so he worked very hard to achieve promotions and salary increases. They never talked about it. They just did it.

Slowly resentments grew. Catherine objected to "being silenced and made wrong." Ted complained of "having to work too damn hard for so little appreciation." But they never objected or complained to each other. They both believed they were being loving by keeping silent and doing what was needed. They were blind to the possibility of questioning, even challenging, one another's deeply held beliefs and expectations. Had they done so, they could've opened the door for real communication, mutual understanding and genuine intimacy.

By speaking directly to Ted, Catherine could insist that he learn to listen to her opinions and ideas. The opportunity would be there for him to see that she was not helpless and could take care of herself. He could then re-examine his ideas about the extent to which he believed he had to support her and let go of his limiting view of her.

If Ted spoke directly to Catherine, he could admit feeling burdened by the schedule he kept trying to take care of her. He could offer Catherine the chance to see him as a vulnerable human being, and she could let go of her image of Ted as "the Man" who must be right and whose dominant position had to be protected at all costs.

Being straightforward with one another would have allowed both of them to dismantle their co-dependent beliefs and expectations and live more fully and freely with one another.

Honesty truly is the best policy. Both people get to show up and be loved for who they really are -- no masks, no tricks, no games. And, after all, isn't that what we all really want?

Ask Judith & Jim

Dear Judith & Jim,

I have been involved in a personal and business relationship with a man for 6+ years. We have had a pretty rocky road over this time, but truly love each other. About 4 years ago we were engaged, but due to a heated argument I ended up taking the ring and throwing it at him saying if this was the way it was going to be I didn't want any part of it. It was out of frustration and anger and we eventually made up but did not become engaged again. Also, we lived together during that time (household included my 16 year old daughter, his 16 year old son and my 11 year old son, which was quite a challenge) and that was not a good experience that lasted about a year. We own a store, and have done this successfully over 4 years. He runs the store and I work in an office during the day, plus work at the store in the evenings.

Needless to say we both are work-a-holics. My son is now 16 and works at the store after school - they have a good relationship and I am truly grateful for that. Our older kids are 21 now and live on their own. We both have some pretty traumatic experience from our past - deaths, bad relationships, divorces and more, so we have a ton of baggage. Our main problem is communication.. We have gotten better, but when marriage comes up it ALWAYS turns into a fight and hurt feelings. I would like to get married and be together in a normal family setting. He feels like we have already tried that and it didn't work so it's not an option at this time. Although, he said the other day that we could get married as long as nothing changed - meaning that we would not live together. The evening was a total disaster. This does not sound like a couple in love does it? Well, we are and it's just crazy. When we are happy, which is 90% of the time, we are REALLY happy, but the other 10% of the time we are gut-wrenchingly miserable. The 10% is when we break up and I feel like giving up, but I can't. Am I holding on to a dream of normalcy that just isn't going to happen? Can you help?

One Confused Gal

Dear One,

You say "We have gotten better, but when marriage comes up it ALWAYS turns into a fight and hurt feelings." The content, in your case the issue of marriage, is irrelevant to understanding what is going on. The issue resides in the feelings aroused as a result of discussing marriage. What wounds are exposed? What needs go unmet? What fears are exposed? What images rise to frighten both of you? What do you believe marriage to be? For the better?

For the worse? And what value is there in both of you clinging to whatever it is that is at the core of your upheaval?

At the bottom of serious conflicts are beliefs, attitudes, threats, and hurts that are never attended to.

Why? Because they are never addressed directly. So, first, you must determine whether or not you both sincerely want to resolve this issue. Without that, there's no point going forward. Next, stay away from the issue of your getting married and focus on the pain the topic brings up. When you do this there can be no judgment, no argument, neither of you telling the other that what they're feeling is wrong, incorrect or off point. What is is and must be respected as such. That is the only way for the two of you to truly hear one another. Then look inside to find an emotional understanding out of your own experience for the feeling the other is expressing. If the other expresses grief, for example, then look inside for your own experience of grief so you have a visceral appreciation of what the other is going through. That will create empathy and a thorough basis for understanding. That will also help you to understand the value the other has for their position. This process will create a basis for connection as both of you will feel seen, heard, valued and respected. As that happens, then meaningful, transformational communication will have a chance to occur. There are no techniques for communication that will work without this a foundation. At this point you will be able to determine if you want to continue. If so, use the same process until you both feel like the issue is as fully laid out as you can make it. Then you will be in a position to make a decision as to how to go forward.

March 11-17


From Judith & Jim

We received this a couple of days ago from Linda, one of our readers (who gave permission to include it) and want to share it with you because it speaks volumes about why we so strongly recommend that you get yourself a copy of our latest book, Be Loved for Who You Really Are and read it yourself (and have your spouse, lover and friends read it as well).

I've been a single parent for 12 years now, having had 3 unsuccessful marriages and several disastrous relationships. I had resigned myself to spending the rest of my life on my own. Obviously I needed your book!

Having devoured every word, I'm on the second reading! I'm in a new relationship with a wonderful man, who saw your book at my home, asked what it's about and promptly went to get himself a copy! He said, "Maybe together we can get it right this time."

Thank you so much for inspiring me to end my loneliness.

Peace and Love,

Linda

Quote of the Week

If You Have Come Here to Help Me, You are Wasting Your Time. But If You Have Come Because Your Liberation Is Bound Up With Mine, Then Let Us Work Together. - Lilla Watson Aboriginal educator and activist

Loving Endearments

Silence can be one of the most loving endearments you can give to someone. Especially when your beloved is in pain -- whether it be emotional or even physical pain. But so many of us are not comfortable with the intimacy of pain.

Then, when the other person is in pain, we try to fix them, solve their problem, nurse their wounds, anything to stop the pain. What we really want is to stop our own discomfort with their pain so we don't have to feel the intimacy that genuine sympathy might yield.

There are moments, and they are more frequent than most of us realize or would want to acknowledge, when silence is the most loving act we can offer. Simple silence, a silence that speaks volumes, letting the other know that we feel with them, understand what they are experiencing, and are intelligent and sensitive enough to know that there is nothing that can be said.

Treasure the silence you can share. The deepest connections await you in those wordless, inactive moments.

The New Intimacy

Most of us marry. But all too often divorce is the outcome. Why? Because we haven't been available for the love we say we want.

Ask yourself: Have you earned the privilege of being in a truly loving and romantic relationship? Have you given yourself to the process of co-creating success?

For when we don't succeed we are in some way responsible.

Oh no, you say, it was his fault or her problems that wrecked everything. But, each of us chooses to be where we are. Our relationships start at the very first moment of meeting and are shaped by both people each step along the way.

When you focus outside yourself for the source of the problem what the other person is doing or not doing you abdicate responsibility for how you have chosen to live.

How often do you find yourself being judgmental about the different ways of your partner? Perhaps even feeling righteous about it. After all, it's annoying when he leaves his clothes all around, when she's on the phone forever. If we're honest, we see that we are quite judgmental toward those we say we love. Why is it so easy? Because we're about as harsh on them as we are on ourselves.

Yet, it's comfortable to ignore our own self-condemnation and believe that we're innocent. It's all the other person's fault. But the way we see the other is simply the outer manifestation of how we see our selves that is denied. Oh, not in this specific behavior or that. But in the attitude toward our limitations, mistakes, and vulnerable humanity.

Then we are devastated when our relationships don't work out. Yet, our approach has been to try to get the other to change and avoid our own self-development. We fail to move beyond self-centered demands into the true meaning of love and acceptance. So love never really has a chance.

How do we become true lovers? It's simple, really.

We need to face into the fact that each of us, yes, each and every one of us has security issues. We deal with our insecurity in different ways. But we are always looking to find assurance that we are lovable, that we are loved for who we really are.

Start by changing how you relate to yourself. Notice the angry and harsh voice in your head that wants to condemn you for any little slip-up, any problem you should have been too perfect to have encountered. And then release the need to judge yourself. You are human, after all.

Now replace the contempt and condemnation with compassion and self-acceptance. Yes, you're not perfect. No one is. And nothing tragic occurred. In fact, each mistake is a gift, a chance to develop yourself as a true lover-- first for yourself. And then for others.

You become a successful lover from the inside out. For it is true, how we see the world outside, that's who we are inside.

Ask Judith & Jim

Dear Judith & Jim,

I am a smart, beautiful, well educated 26 year old African woman living in Africa. I have subscribed to your ezine for sometime now and find it very informative and helpful. I look forward to receiving them each time.

Since I was a teenager, I made up my mind that whatever time it is I will settle down (get married), it would be with a white guy. Please don't ask why. I find African men less romantic, and don't know how to treat a lady right. I narrowed the scope down as I grew older to white Americans. Now living in Africa does not make it very easy to meet the person I want. I have dated a white American man seriously but he was not looking for commitment.

Now, is it wrong to have such an ambition considering where I live and the circumstances around me? I have tried going to places that I am most likely to meet Mr. right like parties organized by the state department here, or other activities they are most likely to visit but have had no luck.There isn't much racism here and people from all backgrounds mix easily. There are also so many intermarriages between races. Do I have to come all the way to America to meet the man of my dreams?

Tell me all the possible ways I can meet a white man who will be interested in being friends. I am looking for age bracket 35 - 40 years with no present attachments. Can you help me get one? Or better, can you advise me what I should do? Please do not tell me to look within my African brothers. I have dated them, and each time with no success. That is the reason I made up my mind that I will only date white guys. Please help!

Miss searching for a white guy.

Dear Miss,

We urge you ro examine your need to narrow your prospects to a degree that, indeed, you'll more than likely have to come to the states to find a man who'll fit your specifics. Rather than aiming for a man of good values, high intellect, and fun to be with, for example -- of whatever culture/race/creed etc -- you're only looking for a skin color and nationality.

Why is that? And you need to answer that question in depth before you will be available to be with ANY man. We suggest you stay open beyond your narrow parameters, date a lot to see what you need to learn about being more available to relating and attraction that is in your way of having the good marriage you want. You may be expecting way too much from a man -- any man -- and you've set yourself up for disappointment. Does that strike a bell? So -- either come to the US and see if that works or you can recognize that the limits are within you -- and then go from there.

March 4-10


Quote of the Week

Love does not consist of gazing into each other's eyes, but looking together in the same direction. Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Loving Endearments

This endearment was submitted by our subscriber Alice. I would like to share a brief moment that happened a bit ago. We have been married only seven months. It is a third marriage for both of us. We've both outlived the others. As you might guess this makes us in our 70's. One morning I woke to the these words being whispered in my ear, "You are my beloved".

In all my 70+ years, NO ONE had ever called me beloved. As I woke to the day, the warmth of what I heard spread all throughout my being and still reverberates in my soul. We are so very blessed to have one another.

The New Intimacy

This is Labor Day weekend in the United States, dedicated to the effort and commitment it takes to keep life going. The same holds true for love.

We call it "lovework." No, it's not work like manual labor, although that is sometimes necessary, like moving something heavy for your partner, or the labor women endure in giving birth.

It's not work at the end of which you are paid, although that too is the case sometimes, like a squeeze or a kiss or a hug in appreciation for something you did for your spouse.

Lovework has more to do with being conscious, of being aware that you are in an important relationship and that this requires your heartfelt attention.

Yes, that's right, "requires" is the appropriate term. If you are serious about your relationship you are obligated to attune your sensitivities to all of its dimensions. That meanslistening and not just hearing. Opening to what your partner is saying in words, feelings, implications. How does what you know of your partner's past bear upon what he or she is saying/doing/communicating in the moment? That is an element of real listening. Relationships are far more than the concrete, obvious occurrences of the moment.

Lovework means dialogue. Dialogue takes listening into the dimension of interacting. You open to the reality of what your partner is communicating. The important element here is that you give your partner the right to be whoever he or she is. In other words, if you disagree, if you object, if you don't understand, you don't immediately dismiss what he or she wants you to understand. In dialogue you listen, keeping in mind that your partner is an other, someone who is not you and whose experience is real and genuine for them. That's the only way to truly understand your lover's experience, an understanding that leads to real intimacy.

The one caveat is that abuse, psychological or physical, is not to be tolerated. There are no justifications for abuse. It must stop before any progress can be made. And when we say stop, we mean it must be stopped from the delivery end and the receiver must be committed to not standing for it.

And finally, intimacy. Although it is easy to say the word, intimacy must be worked at. Does that sound like a contradiction? Do you believe that intimacy, emotional, intellectual, sexual and spiritual intimacy, somehow just happen? Like chemistry at the outset of a relationship. Well, to some degree that's true. But the intimacy that just happens is surface intimacy. It is wonderful, but not very deep. For intimacy to deepen and sustain, you must commit to making yourself, your person, available to your partner, as well as receiving your partner when he or she is emotionally available to you. That takes conscious commitment, a sense of yourself and anything that stands in your way of being intimate, and the effort of concentration in the moment to make it happen.

That's what we mean by lovework, a labor in love that pays the richest dividends.

Ask Judith & Jim

Dear Judith & Jim,

I love my boyfriend but there seems to be numerous barriers which are stopping us from moving ahead. The main problem is my boyfriend's family. They have been and are still very resistant to us being together and very unsupportive. All they care about is how much money someone has and how someone looks and how big their car is, etc.

He grew up in an emotionally cold and critical home. When I first moved in with him his mother would phone us up to 7 times a day and is constantly interfering in our relationship by trying to get her son together with other women including my younger sister.

All this sounds like I am making it up and I am paranoid but I swear all of it is true. My boyfriend tells me everyday he loves me and we have a lots of fun moments. Just yesterday we had one of the best conversations we've had in a very long while we were traveling to do some shopping. But as soon as we arrived homeit was back to those indifferent and abusive comments he makes. I know he needs to do some growing up. I also know that he has been rejected by women since he was born, i.e. his birth mother gave him up, his adopted mother never treated him like he should have been and his wife divorced him.

He enjoys living together but he always seems to be eyeing the other women and other women flirting with him. I am an educated and honest woman with a Degree and a Diploma who in the past had a good income and an important position but since I moved to be with him the money has been tight and I have been struggling to make a steady income. Now I have started my own consulting business, but his family has not even acknowledge it or given me any encouraging supportive comments, they just continue to put me down and make me feel worthless because I do not have a huge income. Could you explain any of this to me?

Sincerely,

Feeling Lost

Dear Feeling Lost,

First of all, his family cannot make you feel worthless. Period. That you are vulnerable to feeling worthless has to come out of your past, which must have been critical, cold, and unsupportive like his. Otherwise you'd consider the source (materialistic, unloving people) and pay no attention.

Now, the fact that your boyfriend duplicates some of this abusive behavior at your expense and you put up with it, reinforces our sense that you aren't any stronger than he is in your self development, despite your education. And since you describe yourself as honest, we ask you to take a very clear and honest view of the reasons deep down that you put up with his close ties to his family. Because if you want this relationship to work, both of you must renounce the harsh, unloving treatment you learned to call normal when you were little, and begin new lives.

Suggest to your boyfriend that it's long overdue for him to move away from his family, that he must stop behaving like they do.

And that if he will not do both, you must make a clear decision about your future. Because if you stay with him as things are, your life will be no different five years from now.

It's time for you both to leave home, emotionally and physically, in order to make room for you to learn about and receive real love... 

We wish for you both the courage and clear-sightedness to make the right decision.

February 25-March 3


Loving Endearments

Loving endearments are not always romantic. Even business associates can offer endearments to one another. They usually come in the form of a professional courtesy, an unexpected acknowledgment, or by simplyreturning a phone call.

Last Sunday an article we'd written about Valentine's Day, "Be Loved for Who You Really Are" and the two of us were the subject of a two-page color spread in the Toronto Sun.

We were originally contacted by the editor, Rita DeMontis, because she really liked our unique take on avoiding heartbreak on Valentine's Day. She told us that she needed something fresh regarding what can be one of the most clichéd days of the year. We, of course, were very pleased.

But that's not the endearment.

Last Sunday, Rita called to tell us about the article. She said she was very pleased with the artwork her graphic artist designed. She also guided us through her company website so that we could see what the piece looked like. Unfortunately, her site had not yet been updated, so she told us to check back later. And then she asked if we would be part of her resource bank to be contacted in the future.

Of course we agreed. She also said she would email to let us know which of the Sun's sister papers picked up the article.

Rita went beyond anything that we would expect from a features editor and she did it all on a Sunday.

We were very touched.

Even though, in the world of business, the idea of an endearment may seem out of place, it is not. Business, like everything else, is based on relationships. A pat on the back, a word of praise, a moment's encouragement is just a endearment of another form. And, it is a gesture of love, intimate in its own way.

Quote of the Week

When asked how she prays, St. Theresa of Avila answered, I allow myself to be loved.

The New Intimacy

We write of love and relationship because, in a very real way, they are synonymous. Love is meaningless if there is no other to which we direct our love and from which we feel love. And as soon an other is involved, there is relationship. "Love" can be said to be the quality of the exchange and "relationship" is the structure. But there is more.

Being a self, or rather, human selfhood, is not only not possible, it is inconceivable without an other, without being in relationship to another person. We cannot come to know ourselves without being involved with others.

Imagine someone being born and thrust into a completely dark, empty space. Nothing to see or hear, touch or feel. Yet, imagine this person somehow surviving. How could this "person" ever get to know itself? There would be no sense of gender. Not even a sense of growth. And certainly no sense of self.

We humans need one another well beyond our mere survival. We need one another in order to experience what it means to be alive on this planet. We need one another in order to experience what it means to be human. And love, which is one of the highest and most rewarding experiences of this life, is impossible without an other.

So, the next time you feel love or feel someone's love for you, keep in mind the almost indescribable intimacy that is at the foundation of that feeling. And also keep in mind that the sense of self you feel in that moment is utterly dependent upon the presence of an other...that other with whom your sense of self is entwined.

No love without self.

No self without an other.

That is what we mean to each other.

Ask Judith & Jim

Dear Judith & Jim,

I moved out of a 20-year marriage. Almost immediately a male friend that I met through work was there helping me. He helped me get things organized in my new place, loaned me appliances and furniture, and was generally there for me ALL the time. Eventually we started dating and it became serious very quickly. I wasn't really ready for it, but the attention was nice and I was flattered. I am 41 years old, and attractive. Looking back, I should not have dived into a new relationship so quickly. He pretty much forced his way into my life, but I welcomed it too.

In February he told me he just wanted to be friends, that he didn't want to be serious any more. I was hurt but accepted it. I know he's not the one for me, but after being part of a couple for 20 years, I guess I still wanted to be part of a couple and that was security to me. He said it was not because he'd met anyone else, but because he was having trouble with his 17 year old son and needed to devote more time to that. We have stayed friends and still see each other almost daily and are still intimate. In April, he told me that we could drop the "friends" thing, that we are much more than that to each other and after we discussed our relationship, decided to be "exclusive" and not date other people.

He is a controller, he doesn't approve that I drink wine. He is judgmental. But he's gentle and was so good to me when I needed someone. I haven't been that happy in the relationship with him, but for some reason I cling. I don't know why. There's also something about him that I don't trust. He was getting paged from a female co-worker who is married for a few months during the first part of our relationship. He explained that she was just a friend and was wanting advice in her failing marriage. He was just helping her.

He works at a hospital that is about an hour away and stays in that town "on call" three days a week. So when he leaves here on Wednesday morning, he doesn't return back to his house until Friday afternoon. But he calls me each evening he's gone and is always at the hospital when I page him at night. He has told me that I need to get out and doesn't seem to mind if I'm not home when he calls.

I just found out from someone who lives in the town he works at that he has been dating a girl up there for the past 3 months. He doesn't know that I know this yet. I want to just walk away. But on the other hand I want to confront him and find out his side of it. He's not worth how he's making me feel. But I just can't seem to walk away from him. My girlfriends all say to get rid of him. I just remember how loving and attentive he was in the beginning, but I can't get that back.

What I want to know from you is why am I clinging to a guy who I don't trust and who doesn't make me happy? Do you agree with my friends, that I should walk away? Clinging

Dear Clinging,

Given everything you said, yes it appears he is not being faithful to you. Should you walk away? If he continues as he has, yes. But more to the point.

Why do you cling?

You say he pretty much forced his way into your life although you welcomed it too. Welcomed what? His attention? Or that he was forceful and just took over? You left a 20 year marriage and "immediately" welcomed him into your life. What was your relationship like with your ex? Was he dominant? Did he take charge? We suspect so, because of what you permitted this new guy to do. Take over. He also seemed to call all the shots. He didn't want to be serious, You accepted that. He wanted to be exclusive. You accepted that. You know he's been unfaithful and you're still there.

We know that experiencing affection after a failed marriage is intoxicating. But you sound desperate for that kind of loving. That leads us to believe that the source of your hunger goes way back. That you've never really known love for you, just for who you are and what you need, and since he gave that to you in the beginning, you want it. But you are stuck, not to him, but to what he represents. A kind of love you've never known, no doubt even as a child.

He is not the point. What you need is the point. It is irrelevant if you trust him AND he can't make you happy. For you to even suggest that someone should want to make you happy is an indication of your dependence on another person for your own well being. You can be happy together, but neither one of you can make the other happy. That kind of unconscious dependence is always the source of clinging.

Walk away? Yes. But you'll still take you with you and you are what you need to look into.

We wish you well.

Judith & Jim

February 18-24


Loving Endearments

Today Judith went into a local store that carries our books and the owner was speaking with a couple who were buying something. They were all debating an issue and the owner laughingly said they ought to ask the opinion of a psychologist and he just happened to have one in his store.

"In fact," he said to the woman, "you bought one of her books about relationships." She looked at me and said, "Oh, wow, I read you and your husband every night before I go to sleep. It's the book that has a relationship tip for each day of the year, 'Opening to Love 365 Days a Year'."

Then she looked toward her husband and said to Judith, "Thank you so much for helping me understand that he really is not just like me. It's made a world of difference in our relationship--as has every other idea you present--they all make you think!" Her husband smiled his thanks as well.

Judith left the store filled with gratitude for the chance encounter, for it had been a very loving moment, a moment that mattered deeply to everyone involved.

In a world that so often suggests it's corny to pour your heart out....let's rethink that. For we can have a loving endearment with almost anyone when we show our heartfelt appreciation as this young woman did with Judith.

The New Intimacy

When we were writing our most recent book, "Be Loved for Who You Really Are," we were aware of just how apt that title and its meaning was/is for our time. Men and women are expecting more from a romantic relationship than ever before in human history. Also, never before have men and women been as free to seek love, a love that they determine to be real on the basis of their own perceptions and feelings.

Almost all cultures of the world have believed that romantic feelings were dangerous to developing a family and a stable community because those feelings were out of our control. A man or woman would be "swept away," carried on a torrent of emotion, desire, lust and abandon.

So in all cultures, and in many today, marriages were arranged by third parties -- matchmakers, parents, clergy. It was believed that only a third party could make a sound enough decision about who should be mated with whom. As far as the couple was concerned, there was no freedom and their only responsibility was to obey the dictates of their elders.

Today we take it for granted that a relationship should:

  • be made by two people each choosing the other of their own free will, not influenced by family, church or community;
  • they will share their lives in its intimate detail, and their sharing will be the basis of the how and why their relationship thrives;
  • their choice will be based on the love they feel for one another and on no other considerations;
  • that being togther is the context for the sweetest happiness possible;
  • that sex will provide the transformative power of ecstasy and will continue throughout their life together;
  • that their love will open a vision of spiritual transcendence and encourage and support their lifelong efforts.

And we, Judith & Jim, concur. A relationship can be the context for all of the above. And love is nothing if it is not free. But freedom is more than simply a matter of unrestricted choice. Freedom is always coupled with responsibility, in other words, with the impact our choices have on us and those around us.

Today, we have almost limitless personal freedom to choose our mate and our lifestyle. What we lack is the training to live with the personal responsibility it takes to mine the riches available within such freedom.

However, a real life relationship, based on real love freely chosen, requires lovework -- so that two people:

  • trust each other with their real feelings, the only basis of being loved for who they really are;
  • feel determined to face into the inevitable conflicts all couples experience;
  • relax their resistance to the lessons of love;
  • enjoy and treasure the esteem and mutual regard that comes from true respect and interest rather than fantasy;
  • acknowledge and accept each other's differences, while still reserving the right to want some things to change;
  • and finally, feel less need for romantic illusion and more desire for real romance and intimacy.

Being loved for who we really are is what we seek most deeply. But please keep in mind that, even though we are human and assume on that basis, and often on that basis alone, that love is something that comes naturally to us, all of us need to learn about the art of love. Loving, like anything else we do, is an art. If we are to love fully and feel love's full satisfaction, we must learn about what love requires of us and practice, practice, practice!

Ask Judith & Jim:

Dear Judith & Jim,

I'm 21 and have been dating a dear friend of mine for almost a year. We love each other deeply and are synergistic most of the time. We each want for the other's happiness more than our own; he's kind and caring, going out of his way to help me with the little things (not to mention the big ones).

While I want him to be happy more than I care about my own happiness, when he is involved with a pet project he almost completely ignores me. But I'm not attached to it, and coming to resent the "project" more and more. I wish he'd pay attention to me without it close at hand, but as it's what makes him happy right now, I'm at a loss. I don't know what to do.

My emotional needs -- those I am willing to acknowledge, aren't getting met, and I feel strangled, but I don't know if I should say anything to him, because he's happy with what he's doing. Thanks, Anonymous

Dear Anonymous

For starters, you signed your letter "anonymous" which is precisely what you describe you feel in this experience of wanting the other's happiness more than your own. That kind of belief is fostered by the romantic illusions our culture is steeped in and we're not surprised that you are just 21. But that also means you are young enough to re-vision and re-work your ideas about love -- at least real love.

You need to develop more self-awareness. Here's what we mean.

You say you care about his happiness more than your own and then the rest of your letter is your concern with how what he is doing is upsetting you and intruding on your happiness. We are not criticizing you for caring about your needs, we are saying you must give up the naive idea that love means having to give yourself away under the illusion that you are doing it for love's sake. Real love between two real people, and not just the images or ideas or fantasies of what people in love "should" be like, but two real people, requires that you both show up with your own needs and desires, your own ambitions and fears. Then the two of you co-create your unique relationship out of the stuff of your real life, your real experience and your real needs. Love can take root only in what is real.

When you claim to want the other's happiness more than your own, that is not good for him, for you or for the relationship. Why? Because it is not real. Even Mother Theresa had personal goals and objectives that she strove to manifest.

She had needs and wants and worked to have them fulfilled.

You need to make as your personal project the attainment of more self-awareness so that your own beliefs don't undermine your desires without your even knowing it.

Finally, if he is more interested in his pet project than he is in you, and you encourage that on the basis of some notion that that is an expression of love for him, then you are teaching him that he doesn't have to be interested in you.

Now imagine that you are married with children. What do you think that will be like?

Tell him what you need. See how he responds. If he adjusts to meet your needs while also meeting his own, than you have something to work with. If he doesn't than he's telling you what is most important to him him. Pay attention.

February 11-17


From Judith & Jim

The Big Romance Day is here -- or will be on Thursday. Whether you're newly in love or more in love than ever after many years of marriage, or you're single and dreading it or married and blase, make the most of this opportunity to be a big sweetheart!

Giving love may make you nervous, may even make you feel shy, but this is the best day to blow out all your excuses and practice living as if your love could save the world. And it could, couldn't it!?

Quote of the Week

There are only two ways to live your life. One as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. Albert Einstein

Loving Endearments

JIM: The other day, Judith was feeling bad. A collision of events caused her to feel very sad. I knew it was something that would pass, but, as you know, when any of us is in the middle of something, no matter how wise we may be, it can feel like there is no foreseeable way out. Well, that's how Judith was feeling. Because I knew she would eventually understand her feelings and learn from what was going on, there was no need for a fix-it program. She just had to ride it out. But I also felt compassion for the intensity of what she was feeling. So I invented a character that is now part of our relationship history. I called him "The Happiness Monster." I would sneak up behind her and start growling: "I am the Happiness Monster and I have come to make you smile." My intention was just to let her know it was okay for her to be the way she was and that The Happiness Monster was on her side. She laughed and felt supported. And, as I expected, toward the end of the day Judith came full circle and the gloomy cloud she was in had vanished into the ethers.

You can support the one you love by letting them be who they are. After all, what finer endearment can you give someone but an affectionate mirror in which they can see that they are loved.

The New Intimacy

What are you going to do to express your heart this Valentine's Day? If you are in a romantic relationship, be sure to get especially creative. Pull out the stops and have as much fun inventing ways to say "I Love You" as your beloved will have receiving them!

But don't stop there. Reach out and spread your love to all the people you would miss if they were gone.

There's no need to spend a lot of money, all you have to do is tell the special people in you life how much you care about them. Write email, make phone calls, send a little card, surprise them with a cookie at work, put a note on their windshield at the gym, put a flower on their doorstep.

You've got the idea. Now, go have fun being the lover that you really are! AND be sure to acknowledge and take in all the expressions of care that you are given on Thursday. After all, what fun is it to give your love if there's no one available to receive it?

Ask Judith & Jim

Dear Judith & Jim,

How do you know if your mate is cheating on you?? My last 2 relationships, (1 being a marriage) have ended because of him cheating on me. I realize I might have some "excess baggage" I brought with me into this, & I run scared a lot of the time. But I can't seem to find the comfort zone where I feel for sure it isn't happening again. A lot of the time I feel I can trust him but, something happens & I feel that old insecurity creeping in & I am off to the races. Mind you this happens several times a week. I have been with my mate for almost 2 years & I really care for & love this guy. The sex was great in the beginning like all relationships start out. But, the last few months, he doesn't seem to want me or care about pleasing me anymore, which leads me to believe he is cheating on me also. I would do anything for him & I do prove that, I do practically everything for him. When I approach the idea he is messing around, he gets very angry & tells me I have to trust him to love him & doesn't say yes or no. I really try to trust him, but I know one of the reasons his last marriage ended was because he was cheating & she was also... And I find I am afraid this will happen again... I don't think I am demanding or hard to please, I just want a man who respects me, loves me, & wants to share a wonderful, fun life with me. I don't seem to find the right guy for this. He says I am too high maintenance. Am I being blind & not accepting the inevitable in this situation??

Possibly High Maintenance

Dear Possibly,

A major part of the problem is that you have a deep allegiance to your fear that you will be cheated on. And what you focus on you will bring into being. How did you come to have such a deep and certain fear? What advantage does it have for you? Does it keep you safe from becoming emotionally intimate? You want trust but you want it to be all about him. What about you. You aren't trustworthy either because you are convinced he will cheat and so you create a situation in which he cannot succeed. What can he do to prove it to you? How perfect would he have to be? We urge you to get some good therapy to root out this fear. Otherwise you will not have this relationship or any other.

And we urge you to stop trying to please him all the time. That turns you into a servant rather than a fascinating, fun woman. Then he's apt to lost interest - because the you he fell in love with has vanished into a scared, insecure people-pleaser.

Please use this as an opportunity to grow yourself into a more secure woman no matter what your man is doing. We wish you well!

February 4-10


No matter how much two people have in common, they will always be different in significant and in tiny ways. The question is -- do you feel free to speak up and deal with issues that bug you, hurt you, scare you when your partner behaves in ways you don't like? Or are you afraid that speaking up will threaten your relationship?

If you fear that speaking up will make a problem too huge to resolve, then you are voting for your fear and your lack of value. Do you get that? Your fear won't let you engage in a discussion about changes that you want (and we ALL want some changes in the course of a long term relationship) and you are insisting that you aren't worthy of having a voice -- only your partner is to be valued!

The other day Jim was touching up some paint on a chair rail molding that he'd put up in our hallway upstairs -- and HE WAS STANDING ON A NEW ANTIQUE CARPET RUNNER we'd just purchased at an auction here. When Judith saw this, she was horrified for fear of a paint spill and shocked that Jim would take such a risk. So she said, "Jim, please don't ever leave anything valuable around when you've got paint." And Jim said, "I'm being careful." To which Judith replied, "OK, but most accidents happen when we're being careful. Please don't do it." In response Jim rolled up the rug and said to Judith that he wouldn't do it again because he wanted her to be comfortable and not worried.

If Judith hadn't spoken up she would have stewed over how dumb Jim can be, how his parents were dumb not to teach him to protect things and she would have continued to build a private case against Jim, little by little distrusting him more and more, undermining our relationship. That's the destructive power of not speaking up!

In the new intimacy, love works because it is based on a continually created relationship, in which both people are loved for who they are and feel safe to risk speaking up.

Don't cheat your love by hiding your complaints or desires -- it needs the fertilizer of your speaking up!

January 28-February 3


Loving Endearments

A wonderful friend of ours, who is 86, has been in the hospital for the past 2 weeks to take care of a broken ankle-- made more complicated by the fact that she severely sprained the other ankle. Needless to say she needs lots of help since she can't get around at all.

We've been very impressed and touched when we've occasionally overheard her speaking with a nurse or aid when we've called to chat. Why?

Because she doesn't take their help and care for granted. Not at all.She always says "please" and "thank you" and uses endearments like "honey" and "dear."

Now, you may be thinking "oh, how phoney!" but the fact is that each one of us wants to be recognized and appreciated for what we do. And the most basic way we can do that for one another is to be personally appreciative, in whatever style we find comfortable.

So be a "dear" to others, even if it's the stranger at the dry cleaners who takes extra care in handling your order, and let them know theirgenerous and thoughtful behavior didn't go unnoticed!

The New Intimacy

Recently we went to a Chamber Music Concert in a nearby town. World class musicians played and were paid far less than they are accustomed to.

Rather than holding back, assuming that the small-town audience wouldn't know the difference, or protecting themselves from whatever inadequacies they might encounter (like having to wait in a tiny, adjacent room before going on), they said "Yes!" to the evening and gave one of the most masterful performances we've ever witnessed in our lives! They played from their hearts and souls and demanded, with their very beings, that we all go with them into the ecstatic passions that drove their spirited playing.

You might imagine that a rural audience would be polite, reserved in their appreciation for these musicians, these players who pushed themselves and their instruments to produce an atmosphere of awe and wonder. But no, the audience said "Yes! And leapt to its feet, screaming out their joy and showering the players with an intimacy the lifted them to even greater playing.

Judith was in tears much of the time, as she responded to that beauty. Jim was swept up in a sense of gratitude as he opened to the power and majesty of the playing. We held hands, made knowing eye contact and shared the joy together. Intimacy upon intimacy sweeping back and forth from stage to audience and back again transforming everyone.

Intimacy is about saying "Yes!"-- opening yourself, entering the moment, eager to see what is calling you. How often do you open yourself fully, letting your soul speak, making way for what wants to be revealed within you?

Like those musicians, intimates must say "Yes!" surrendering to the emotional force and spiritual expansiveness between them. That's what leads to the heights and the depths of being together. That's what makes the music of passion. And it's all about saying "Yes!"

Ask Judith & Jim

Dear Judith & Jim,

How do you handle a mother-in-law who will not let go of her son, who is hundreds of miles away? She refuses to help herself at all. It is always a pity-me act and give me, give me, give me.

Dear Daughter-in law,

The problem is not your mother-in-law, no matter how "helpless" and demanding she may be. The problem is that the two of you aren't united in saying NO. And meaning it!

Your husband must let go of being her "good boy" and switch his loyalty to your life together so he can marry you spiritually and give himself to the life-changing powers of love that will follow when you are truly mated.

Since your mother-in-law lives hundreds of miles away she is clearly able to fend for herself somehow. So you both must understand that it is not his mother's well-being that is in jeopardy, but rather your marriage!

Please discuss our response with your husband until you can arrive at how you can both support one another to proceed in extricating the demands of mom/mom-in-law from your life. Visit on your own terms and insist she respect the limits you place on her phone calls, etc.

If you get stuck in your discussion, you may want to get our first book, "The New Intimacy," and follow the nine-step conflict resolution process that we describe in the chapter titled "Conscious Creativity."

Both of you need to become more mature in the way you relate to his mother and to this issue between you. And we can assure you that the Conscious Creativity process will teach you how to do that.

Please let us know how this turns out for you.

January 21-27


From Judith & Jim

Well, we're all approaching Valentine's Day. As the big romance day comes closer let's see how we can all become better lovers in our every day lives. We don''t mean that sexually, but just reaching out, heart-to-heart with all the people we care about.

It takes practice to extend ourselves, to go beyond the politeness and habits that are often the limits of our contact, even with the ones we love the most.

So make a vow for this Valentine's season, and all the days thereafter, to be your own personal Cupid, bringing you and the people you love much closer together. The world will be a better place for it. And you'll have a lot more fun!

Loving Endearments

One if the finest and most profound loving endearments you can give the one you love is to help and support them in realizing their fullest potential.

We have dear friends named Art and Pat. They own and operate the Functional Sculpture Tile Store in Catskill, New York, about 30 minutes away from us.

Pat designs brilliant three dimensional tiles and Art runs the store.

However, at 60 years old, Art has begun to pursue a dream he's had for years Stand-Up-Comedy. That's right. He's beginning to perform as a stand-up comic. So far he's only been on stage 4 times, but he's been very successful. Not in local, small-time clubs, but in Manhattan at The New York Comedy Club, Stand-Up New York, Don't Tell Momma's and Caroline's.

To do stand-up at any age requires tremendous courage, but at 60, when the culture adores and worships youth and thinks that 45 is ancient, what Art is doing is remarkable.

His wife, Pat, supports him completely. As he says, "In my two previous marriages there was no desire to encourage, to inspire, to support anything I loved and wanted to do. But with Pat, I feel exceedingly blessed."

At 2AM, when Art is kvetching over a line, or a turn of phrase, Pat is there as his first audience. She listens, analyzes, suggests, edits and through it all she is smiling -- not just an obvious smile, but radiating a soul-smile which says to Art, "I'm behind you all the way."

And when he is performing. she is his biggest booster, almost mouthing his lines as she listens, laughs and applauds.

The three of us, Judith , Jim and Art want to acknowledge Pat for her emotional, intellectual and spiritual generosity, and the way she gifts it to her aspiring comic.

The greatest endearment we can give is to love someone for whom they really are, especially when that means supporting a major life-changing decision.

The New Intimacy

Integrity! What does it mean?

In simple terms, when someone has high integrity, we can trust that he or she will walk their talk. There is a consistency between what is in one's heart and what one says and does.

There's an old expression that says a person is either single-hearted or double-hearted. When they are double-hearted they cannot be trusted because they are hiding from you, and it's even worse when they are hiding from themselves, and still worse when they are not aware of what they are doing.

For intimacy to occur at all, integrity is essential. You must be willing and able to be present to another person, single-heartedly, willing to let them know who you really are.

That doesn't mean you always have to know who you are. You just have to let yourself be available as you are and see what happens.

Also, and this is very important, being in integrity doesn't just mean being nice and sweet. It also means stating your grievances and making your claims. There is also the dark side to every relationship and that is as much a part of it's integrity as anything else.

When you are committed to your own integrity, your own wholeness, and the integrity/well-being of your relationship, you must go wherever the relationship needs to take you. But you do so with conscious awareness which implies doing so with a sense of your impact on the one you love and a willingness to accept responsibility for the consequences of your participation and what you evoke in the other person. Then integrity is a growing quality in your individual life and the life of your relationship.

Like everything else, the more you practice the better things get.

Ask Judith & Jim

Dear Judith & Jim,

I have been with my partner for 3 1/2 years, and living with him for 2 1/2 of those years. We are both in our late 20s. We are very loving and respectful towards each other, and we both find each other very attractive still.

The problem is, I never feel like sex anymore. I know this is a common problem amongst couples who are over the "honeymoon" period, and I also figure that a good sex life comes and goes like cycles through the years. I WANT to have sex, and I know it's important, but I just can't be bothered!

I would much rather cuddle and show affection and then go to sleep than be some sex kitten. We used to have sex at least once a day when we first moved in with each other, but now I try to find ways to get out of the "chore" of it. This upsets me because I know it's important and I don't feel as feminine as I used to, but rather I feel like a "loving wife" type. I worry that I'm losing my sensualness and femininity, and I'm worried that my partner will feel like I don't find him attractive anymore, and that I don't "want" him (both of which are totally not true).

This is not a problem with my concept of my body. I believe I have a great body and so does my partner.

I really want to get back into the swing of things and I don't know how, please tell me!

Regards, Worried

Dear Worried,

There are several things you can consider.

First, we all carry into our marriages (or even long-term live-in relationships that simulate marriage) unconscious images of what a "wife" or "husband" is supposed to be like. These images are formulated when we are very young as we observe our parents' marriages and how they behave and treat one another. These images do not come to awareness until we are married, so they remain dormant while we are dating and usually during the rush and intensity of the honeymoon phase. But when they come forth, they often tend to dominate, causing people to behave in ways that they didn't expect and that seem to go against character.

You used the phrase "sex kitten," to describe what would be a robust sex life. Why "sex kitten?" Where does that come from? Were you not a sex kitten just after you moved in? And there was nothing wrong with that then. You seem to be in the grip of an unconscious prohibition against being lusty and sexual. It would be wise if you explored the source of your self-belittling imagery.

Second, human biology dictates that the high intensity period will wane. It's purpose is to bring two people together to make babies. Then it subsides to allow the couple to raise the child. Your body doesn't know you are not married and it could care less. So hot, all-night-long sex cannot last forever because it is biologically counterproductive. That doesn't mean sexual pleasure has to end. Just that now you two have to learn a more conscious, more intimate, and more subtle quality of love-making.

Finally, each person human has a certain amount of testosterone, the hormone responsible for sexual urge. Some of us are high-T, some low-T, and it's important to understand that. When hot, early, honeymoon sex subsides, many people take that personally, like there is something wrong with them. Well, the excitement of the honeymoon will keep things going but that cannot last. Then the relative amount of testosterone takes over revealing the body's natural sex drive. That's when two people have to grow up and learn to make love within the parameters of who they really are. That takes awareness, effort and deep love.

So there are a number of options for you to explore.

January 14-20


Loving Endearments

Loving endearments are waiting anywhere and everywhere you look.

JIM: As a stage actor I studied diction and learned that in some instances the most effective way to pronounce the letter "r' is to curl the tongue back toward the rear of the mouth. That's true especially in the case where there are two or more "r" sounds back to back.

JUDITH: One morning we were cuddling before getting up and were talking about how just then our feet were tangled in the covers and I couldn't find Jim's feet and I said 'Where are our toes?'

JIM: I laughed and said, Three "r's" where, are, and our-- and you didn't curl your tongue once.

JUDITH: What?

JIM: The best way to make the "r" sound is to curl your tongue back....

JUDITH: Laughing.....Oh, no, oh no, not the letter "r" torture.

JIM: Ah ha. So you confess. Three r's and not a curled tongue among them.

JUDITH: Oh no, oh no.................. I was collapsed in giggling.

JIM: I nuzzled into her ear, curled my tongue and whispered...."r" "r" "r'

JUDITH: Every time Jim said "r" I said "Yuck."'

JIM: R

JUDITH: Yuck

JIM: R

JUDITH: Yuck

JIM: Suddenly we were two kids at an over-night squealing and giggling;

JUDITH: And for some reason I couldn't stop laughing.

JIM: We carried on for about three minutes in sheer delight. When we settled down I said, 'God it's fun living with you.'

Stay open to the tiny moments. Sometimes they can be full of love and joy and a testament to the richness of your relationship.

The New Intimacy

This is an excerpt from our latest book "Be Loved for Who You Really Are"

The Spiritual Purpose for Your Being Together

As we've said, it's no accident that you've found one another. And you're not together just to have babies and pay the mortgage. What is your long-range vision of being together? What are your joint goals? If you are unsure of the spiritual purpose of your relationship, simply look to where you feel the most unfinished, where self-expression has been most strangled. How is your partner well suited to helping you grow in just those areas?

We've written about how Bill, Jim's brother, and his wife, Kelly, met at our weekend training. Although they both were accomplished in their respective fields, they were quite dissatisfied with how they handled their finances. They also wanted to have a larger public impact.

Kelly had an eye for detail and a burning passion to change their life. Bill had a greater earning power and more outlets for developing income. They were allies in their commitment to root out and overcome anything that stood in the way of their expanded desire. They blended together like good magic.

They attended the classes and trainings they needed to realize their ambitions. They co-created a powerful weight-loss seminar and are co-writing a book to complement their presentations. They've launched a Web page (www.keepsmellinglikearose.com) and continue to explore other possibilities. They look to each other for help whenever they are tempted by some distraction that takes them away from what they are trying to achieve.

They have become soul mates, well suited to maximize their individual wholeness and their growing presence in the world.

There is so much more going on between you than just the feelings of love and sexual desire. Your souls are engaged in a powerful dance of differences, hoping to lure you both into a much larger, far more meaningful life. When you know that, your trust and faith will be enhanced. You will take each other more seriously. You will laugh, play, and be sexual with more gusto, because you will sense larger energies in support of all that you are together.

You will discover, again and again, the spiritual purpose of an intimate relationship to bring you into wholeness through The Magic of Differences.

Ask Judith & Jim

Dear Judith & Jim,

My husband and I have been married for a little over a year. We dated for almost 2 and a half years. We have a problem talking about our feelings with each other. When I tell him how I feel about the way he treats me or things he says that hurts my feelings we end up in a big fuss. Everything I do or my 7 year old does (child is not by him) isn't right. The way we talk, eat, sit, stand, or the conversation I am having with someone. He always has something to say about it. What kind of suggestion or advice could you give me. Thank You.

"Going Crazy In Cleveland"

Dear GCIC,

First of all, two people are always teaching each other what they will and will not put up with in a relationship, and they start that teaching right from the very first moment. Most often they aren't even aware that they are doing it. But they are. We all are. There's no escaping that fact.

So, how have you been behaving from the beginning that taught your husband that you would put up with his negating you and your child? In order to stop what's going on, you must take responsibility for your contribution to it.

We cannot make people change if they don't want to. But we can change ourselves. That's why it's so important to look to yourself first and make whatever changes you need to in order to stop yourself from allowing him to treat you the way he does. Then you must tell him that he must stop. He probably won't believe you at first. You must persist. If he does not stop, then you have to seek counseling. If he will not participate, then you must leave before the constant negation wears you and your child down into a depression from which you may not be able to revive.

Have the courage to love yourself and your child more than the way you've been living!

January 7-13


Loving Endearments

Doing what one enjoys can be the basis for a loving endearment. Jim enjoys ironing. Judith hates to iron.

What he likes about ironing is its simplicity. When he's done he can see the results. He treats ironing as a practical meditation. But also, every time he completes a load of ironing he knows full well the pleasure he's given Judith. So the task yields a double boon. Judith's appreciation and his own gratification, turning a chore into a double-benefit endearment.

When we go grocery shopping, which we most often do together, Jim will bring the bags in from the car. What he doesn't like to do is put the groceries away. Why? Who knows. So Judith puts them away, which she doesn't mind doing.

We can interpret that as her "job," the way many couples do as they distribute the work load around the house. But Jim appreciates what Judith does for them and, in doing so, something that has to be done becomes a loving endearment.

You don't have to look far to give and receive love. The opportunities are all around you. What you must do is shift your consciousness to recognize the moments of love and intimacy that are present in small ways every day.

The New Intimacy

Truth. A large concept. An even larger experience, especially when the truth is likely to hurt.

We all claim we want the truth "Just tell me the truth. I can deal with the truth." But then can we? Do we?

Or "The truth will set you free."

That's all true. 

But what exactly is the truth? Is what was true yesterday, true today?

As we all know, 1+1 is true and true for all time.

But emotional truth is fluid. If it is not, than the idea of human growth and development is meaningless.

But many people, singles and couples alike, want the 1+1 kind of truth. They want something that is fixed. Out of their own insecurity they demand that the "truth" never change. And, by doing so, they drain the life and growth from their relationships.

We're not saying that if your partner or date lies to you that you accept that. Lies are not truth to begin with, so that's a different issue.

Knowing the difference between truth that is final and truth that is fluid can make or break your relationship.

Think about your own experience. Haven't you changed over the years? Weren't you passionate about something in the past that you may not even care about now? Didn't you believe firmly is something that perhaps now you cannot even remember?

What if you had been forced to stay fixed in the past, emotionally immobilized, and compelled to do so on the grounds that what once was true for you must always be true? What would have happened to the life you now know?

Love and intimacy are no different. They deepen, sweeten, become more and more inclusive, as you become more and more aware of one another, more and more accepting of each other. And that is based upon change, at least a change in the breadth of what you know about one another.

The truth will set you free if you are free enough with the truth to be led where truth and love want to take you.  

Stay open.

Ask Judith & Jim

Dear Judith & Jim,

I'm having some trouble with my exboyfriend. It starts back when I first met him. He's a really nice guy but his temper gets out of hand sometimes. And he doesn't know how to manage money. So he really doesn't have much. But that's ok cause I love him anyway.

I don't quite understand him at times. I argue with him on the little things in life, but we can't seem to come to an agreement on things. I don't know what to do.

My exboyfriend is gone right now but he is coming back in April. He is on deployment. We have a little girl together and we fight over the phone about her. I don't know if its me or him. I don't want my little girl to see this when he comes back. I couldn't live with myself if she was to see everything we fight about.

So could you please give some advice on how I can romance him and to keep my anger down?

Lonely in Texas

Dear Lonely,

The problem is you two are not fighting about what the real fight is about – and it's not your little girl -- it's something between the two of you, much deeper down in your feelings than you are able to get at the way you're going about it. Bravo for you concern for your girl and for your relationship.

Do yourselves a favor and get our book, The New Intimacy because in it we have a process in Chapter 6 we call -- Conscious Creativity. It is a simple 9-step process for resolving conflicts in a way that satisfies and even benefits both people. Then when you speak with him follow it -- and have him follow it -- and do not engage in lengthy or provocative conversations when he is drinking. Also, read the entire book so you can understand why you two keep fighting and how to deal with your differences in a respectful way -- which is what your daughter needs to see. Be Loved for Who You Really Are addresses this also, but the step-by-step conflict resolution process is in The New Intimacy.

Both of you need to become more mature in the way you relate -- this process will teach you how to do that. You would be very wise to get him his own copy and have him read it too.

December 31-January 6


On New Year"s Eve we have a tradition of writing out our goals and desires for the coming year and going over what happened during the year that is passing.

One list we call the "Blessings Desired" list. On it we jot down everything and anything we sincerely want to have happen in the coming year. Sincerely is the key. That keeps our list realistic. Now that doesn't mean we don't dream, but we dream within the bounds of who we know ourselves to be and what we can genuinely expect to happen. And, of course, we allow for a few entries that are far fetched and sometimes outrageous and sometimes those come true as well. And we also have one entry that reads . . . "Whatever the Great Mystery has in store for us." Because we cannot side-step the unknown.

When we look over what we wanted for the passing year we usually find that we've manifested about 70-80% when we write out our "Blessings Received" list.

We particularly pay attention to what happened that we could not in any way have predicted. Looking back, the unpredictable events have a course and pattern that is usually clear after the fact, but never beforehand.

Try this and you will be surprised at the power you have to manifest your desires, especially because you have articulated them and put them in clear focus. You will be delightfully surprised at what happens from out of the blue.

We wish you a wonderfully loving and healthy New Year!

Quote of the Week

Love is like a beautiful flower which I may not touch, but whose fragrance makes the garden a place of delight just the same. Helen Keller

Loving Endearments

This week Jim caught a cold. He is rarely sick and so hasn't developed the habit of taking something at the first sign of illness to stave off the cold.

Judith, on the other hand, has an entire kitchen cabinet chuck full of homeopathic remedies for various conditions. She is absolutely conscientious with regard to her physical condition.

Also, Jim is not a very good patient. To begin with, when he becomes ill it takes him over completely so that he really feels bad. But he isn't as careful to take care of himself and that's where Judith comes in.

Just before this writing Judith had Jim take two large garlic cloves, cut them into bite sized pieces and swallow them raw. As you might imagine, the effect was almost immediate. Jim feels much better although you can't come near him for his breath (LOL).

That's how we take care of each other, providing one another with our individual and separate passions ( Judith's diligence regarding health).

When you give and receive with care and trust, anything can be a romantic endearment, even swallowing raw garlic  

The New Intimacy

"Love thy neighbor as thyself" and "love thine enemy" are reminders of the spiritual requirement to love those who are different from us. Globally, we all face this necessity in order to achieve sanity in the world. Personally, we face loving the differences as the only way to achieve harmony with one another. Sadly, we often have the most difficulty with the differences of those who are closest to us, our lovers and marriage partners.

Look inside and you'll see that you often experience your partner's differences through a confusing and painful set of needs. On the one hand, you can feel your desire to fully embrace the one you love. Your heart opens, filled with good will, ready to welcome your lover without judgment.

At the same time, you need to feel secure, to be assured of your value. So you try to get your mate to love you in the ways that you believe will fulfill your conscious or unconscious expectations. We all do it.

This confusion is made more difficult because our culture tells us that romantic love has to be a hot, sizzling, affair -- a passionate whirlwind that takes you over and sweeps you away, a surge that you can't and shouldn't want to control. And, at the exact same time, we're told that to be independent and self-sufficient, in control of what we think and do, is the mark of a true adult. Is it any wonder that relationships are in such turmoil?

In your daily life, aren't you distracted by conflicting desires and demands -- pulled one way by your yearning for a perfect romantic fantasy and then pulled another way by the yearning to have a relationship that's real, long-lasting and down-to-earth? What can you do?

You will find what you want, in fact, far more than you now even imagine, if you are willing to let go of your expectations, if you relax your need to have it your way and open yourself to the real possibilities that your life will bring you.

You cannot help but be disappointed by your relationship, the one you're in now or one in the future, if you are dead set on having your lover match your predetermined picture of what he or she must be like.

If you can't budge beyond your expectations, you are stuck in a self-sabotaging fantasy. You give yourself no other choice but the limited range of options you impose, those same options that aren't working for you now. Then life can't bring you the gifts it may have because you're trapped within your own restrictions. But that's not the heart's way.

Life is a soul school, and a long-term committed relationship is one of its most challenging yet rewarding classes. When you sincerely and seriously commit to someone, you will unavoidably stretch and grow larger. You will have to bring the best of who you are to make it work. And, by doing that, you will have the best of yourself for yourself and for your partner.

Ask Judith & Jim

Dear Judith & Jim,

Looking back at the boys I dated in school right up to the man I married, now divorcing, or even more recently to the men I meet today, I have come to the conclusion that I am attracted to, or dysfunctional men are attracted to me. If this is the case I would like to know how to correct this before I spend the rest of my life poisoning my daughter with how to meet the wrong kind of man.

They say, whoever "they" are, that women are attracted to men who are like their father. "They" are wrong. If I could meet someone like my father I would never let them go. I am not looking for Mr. Perfect, goodness knows I am not perfect, but I would like someone who is my equal.   I have just come to a self-realization that I do deserve more and I want better.

How do I find it? Then how do I make him not pass me by? I am on the shy side. I seem to swallow my tongue and my body temperature goes through the roof with the end result being I make a fool of myself and keep going with the mental note to never try again for someone out of my league. I need help. Please, if not for me, but the future happiness of my daughter. So she can have hope for a successful relationship in her future. Thank you,

Hopeful

Dear Hopeful,

We applaud you for recognizing and admitting that your repetitive pattern of ending up with the same kind of man has more to do with you than with the men you've met. Relationships are always 50-50. You have sensed in each of the men you've met someone who will correspond with who and what you believe a good partner/lover/mate/date should be. When the man was a match for your unconscious images and beliefs, then that other person seemed like a "soul mate," because the match seemed so perfect. And it was perfect, but not necessarily positive.

You must look into your relationship with your father. While you say you are not attracted to men like your dad, your father still had a profound impact on who you are vis a vis men. Your men are the exact opposite of who you see your father to be. Why is he so critical a measure? Yes, he was the first important man in your life. But he seems to be the only important man in your life.

Do you go after dysfunctional men so that you can be assured that you will keep your father as the only good man in your heart. That often happens when there is an oversized attachment to being daddy's girl.  

A father's job is to raise his daughter so that she can function in the world on her own. He has to help her develop her own view of what a good man is. But he cannot co-opt that role, he cannot be so good a man that no other man ever stands a chance. Or that his daughter cannot find a man she can deeply love, genuinely admire, place her trust in, and in so doing, leave her father, both physically and psychologically. 

It's not an issue of your deserving better. It's an issue of your seeing beyond the daddy-image that stands between you and any man who might be a real candidate.

Also, how did you come to feel so done in by just being attracted to a good man -- swallowing your tongue and body temp going through the roof? Will a real good man cause you to commit the mortal sin of finding someone who might be more than, better than, dad? That certainly would be cause for swallowing your tongue.

We recommend that you get some counseling to understand your unconscious dynamics and join a woman's group to gain greater freedom to express yourself. We hope this helps.

© 2002 The New Intimacy

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Intimacy is spelled "in to me you see". - Stan Dale

I have always made a distinction between my friends and my confidants. I enjoy the conversation of the former; from the latter I hide nothing. - Edith Piaf



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