Marriage Advocates

BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships

Posted By: Vibrissa

BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/20/11 01:05 PM

Good morning all! Welcome to our First Book Club discussion. Hopefully you’ve managed to get your hands on Passionate Marriage and have made it through the first couple of chapters – if not, no worries, you can still share your thoughts.


Introduction
A couple of things that really struck me in the introduction and I considered worth discussing were the idea that Romantic Love is a relatively NEW concept, in the scope of animal/human development. It’s been around for a fraction of time.
Quote:
Romantic love is a relatively new development of which we no little, especially within marriage…Western culture has no history of happy romantic love within marriage; the notion of romantic love didn’t even exist until the twelfth century.

Quote:
We know relatively little about joyous sex and lasting intimacy within long-term marriage. For longer than not, marriages were arranged for social, economic, and political reasons. Yet, at no time in history have people expected as much gratification and fulfillment from their relationship. The high divorce rate reflects our exalted expectations – and our inability to meet them. While modern society implies all personal problems (intimacy, sex, and otherwise) can be solved by applying an existing psychological technology, that expertise hasn’t materialized.

Our ideas of Romantic Love and Marriage have evolved only relatively recently, and when we have problems we turn to a relatively new science to fix them. What does that mean about our expectations for marriage? I know I often feel like I should ‘get it’ when it comes to marriage, and when I don’t that there is something wrong with me…. But maybe not ‘getting it’ is ok, is understandable given the nature of human development.
The introduction also has a summary of the structure of the book:
Quote:
the first five chapters of Passionate Marriage build a new framework that gives your existing sexual relationship new meaning, utility and options. The next five give explicit details of ways to improve sex and intimacy. The last four chapters cover how sex and intimacy really operate in marriage (like a complex system). In each section you will find material the likes of which you have not encountered before.

I can vouch for reading things in this first section I’ve never heard of before. The first few chapters seem to be defining terms and laying groundwork.


& Section 1: The Basics
In Section One Schnarch identifies several ‘Myths’ about marriage that he identifies in our society.


  • Intimacy is Acceptance and validation from our partner.
  • Good communication is getting our desired response from our partner.
  • Intimacy is soothing; our partner should soothe us rather than make us feel more insecure.
  • Sexual desire is a biological hunger, like our desire for food.
  • Sex is a natural function
  • Orgasm in sex does not lead to intimacy and eroticism


He also introduces the idea that while we may often get married for the ‘wrong’ reasons, this doesn’t mean that our union is doomed. He states that often we get married for the ‘wrong’ reasons because we aren’t old enough/ mature enough for the right reasons to even exist, which I found a powerful idea.
He presents the idea that marriage exists for more than to bring happiness and love. Marriage is also a ‘people growing’ process. Along with this is the idea that problems in marriage aren’t necessarily indicative of a problem within our relationship, that marriage itself can create problems for us to develop and grow through as we overcome them:
Originally Posted By: p45
…Marital problems arise for more reasons than our mistaken view of marriage. Mistaken believes create unnecessary material problems, but some marital difficulties aren’t “problems” at all. They’re parts of marriage that our ill-fitting beliefs don’t prepare us to handle effectively. These “problems” are tied into a core process of human development that weaves through marriage.

Originally Posted By: p47
your spouse can always force you to choose between keeping your integrity and staying married, between “holding onto yourself” and holding onto your partner. These integrity issues often surface around sex and intimacy – about what the two of you will and won’t do together. They can just as easily arise over issues about money, parenting, in-laws, and lifestyle. The more emotionally enmeshed you and your spouse are – fused in my lingo – the more you will push this choice right down to the wire. Stay in the marriage or get divorced. They key is not to lose your nerve or get overreactive or locked into an inflexible position. I know that’s tough when you think your marriage is about to explode – or you’re about to sell out your beliefs, preferences, or dreams. But it’s actually part of the people-growing process in marriage.

Finally he introduces some terms that he needs to define, and in fact will spend the next few chapters better defining:

Self Validated intimacy which is ““When you don’t expect your partner to validate or accept what you disclose, you validate yourself as you show your partner who you are.”

Non-Regressive Therapy which solves the problems of the past in the present.

Aaaand:

Differentiation (which is a big one, apparently as he spends a lot of time on it) which is “the process by which we become more uniquely ourselves by maintaining ourselves in relationship with those we love.”

There was a lot in here and it’s pretty dense, but hopefully y’all got something out of it. I’ll have to wait to post my write-up for Section 2 until this afternoon/evening. We closed on our house yesterday (yay!) and I’ll have to spend most of this morning running around, but I think we have enough here to get started!
Posted By: believer

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/20/11 08:07 PM

Vibressa -

You did an excellent summary. I hope you don't move on to Section 2 quite yet, as I'm still stuck on Section 1.

I understand what differentiation is and how important it is for passion, but got stuck on the quantum model. I'll read it over again and hopefully more people will chime in.

Glad you closed on your house, BTW.
Posted By: Jayne241

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/21/11 01:08 AM

There's quantum and differentials in this book??? Cool! Guess I better crack open my brand new copy...
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/21/11 01:13 AM

Yeah - I'll wait a bit on Section 2 - there was a lot in Section 1. As to the Quantum model, it took me several read throughs to 'get it'. It's not so much that it's complicated (it is a bit but not much) it's more the way he writes about it. He kinda dances around defining it.

Hopefully discussion will help us understand it better.

A couple of things I really liked about the first Section are the identification of the Myths. I can see how believing them has led to some dysfunction in our marriage, particularly the idea that 'Sex is natural'. I have often felt that there is 'something wrong' with me because I am not climbing the walls for sex.

I also LOVE the idea of seeing marriage as a 'people grower'. Problems, dysfunctions, struggles are an inherent part of the 'system' that is marriage. Marriage is something that will stretch you, grow you, change you. It's terrifying and wonderful at the same time.

I'll wait a few days to post Section 2, give people some time to get their books and discussion Section 1.
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/21/11 01:51 AM

I just finished reading the intro and chapter one. While it was a bit easier going for me this time than the last, its still a hard slog.

I definitely understand the validation and differentiation aspect better than I did when I tried to read it 2 years ago - thanks in part I believe, to threads on MA about validation (LOL) and personal recovery, and self worth - not being a door mat, being in limbo, standing for all time.


I very much liked (and cheered) the comment about giving up on trying to avoid the inherent sexism of our language. On occasion I read something that has had so much effort made to be PC, that the message gets lost.

I am finding it very difficult to relate to the first couple. I don;t have as rich a fantasy life as Karen has, nor the same expectations of DH. I could get some regarding the second couple in that Joan felt she wasnt really the wife he would have chosen, given more choice. I have a very small, but still there, residual 'unwanted' feeling post affair. I assume this will pass.

I dont feel I have as much body dysmorphic issues as Karen, but I also feel uncomfortable with the Cloaca aspect of oral sex after intercourse, but also because I dont like the taste. I also dont like the taste of broad beans or parsely, so I am assuming its just one of those things.

Because I never read this book in its entirety, I can look forward with anticipation to how marriage and sex changes from being techniques, skills and performance; to 'tenderness, compassion and generosity'

I think I missed the quantum, either that or I was so busy trying to absorb the rest, it oozed in without me noticing smile
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/22/11 03:23 PM

He doesn't talk about "quantum" until chapter 3 (unless I read the first two too fast). (And he misuses it somewhat - "phase transition" would be a more appropriate term, imo, but "quantum" sounds much cooler. wink )

The two most powerful ideas for me are (1) That nobody is ready for marriage, that marriage itself is what prepares a couple for marriage; (2) Differentiation, which I find to be a more nuanced concept than one might think. The figures contrasting the "conventional" view with what he's talking about are very useful.

He seems to talk a fair amount about validation. Just sayin'... smile
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/24/11 02:49 AM

Fiddlr3 - great to see you! I was hoping that you'd chime into this discussion, especially when we get to self vs. other Validation.

Sorry I've been MIA the last couple of days - had to get moved in, but things have settled a bit. So lets get on to Section 2 and hopefully Monday we'll proceed through Sections 3 and 4. (That's where the Quantum stuff is)


Section 2 – Differentiation: Developing a Self-in-Relation
This Section begins with a description of something Schnarch terms a ‘Fusion Fantasy’ which he describes as the “fantasy of two (or more) bodies appearing to be controlled by a single mind – as if we’ve given up our separate identities and become part of a larger oneness.” The fusion fantasy is one half of a struggle within us as people: the desire to connect with others vs. the desire to exert our individuality.
The Fusion Fantasy is what leads us to become ‘fused’ within our relationships. It is what leads to a reflected sense of self, where we are only defined by our relationship to others. One of the drawbacks of this emotional fusion is Borrowed functioning, in which a couple seems to see-saw back and forth with one person weaker and the other seemingly more balanced.
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Differentiation involves balancing two basic life forces: the drive for individuality and the drive for togetherness. Individuality propels us to follow our own directives, to be on our own, to create a unique identity. Togetherness pushes us to follow the directives of others, to be part of the group. When these two life forces for individuality and togetherness are expressed in balanced, healthy ways, the result is a meaningful relationship that doesn’t deteriorate into emotional fusion. Giving up your individuality to be together is as defeating in the long run as giving up your relationship to maintain your individuality. Either way, you end up being less of a person with less of a relationship.

He describes healthy functioning as Mutuality: “Going forward in your own development while being concerned with your partner’s happiness and well-being”
Quote:
Differentiation is more than what sets us apart from others – it determines how far apart we sit. Highly differentiated people have strong emotional bonds. They don’t require physical distance, infrequent contact, or totally consuming careers to maintain their separate identities or moderate their reactivity to others. They’re not indifferent to others – just the opposite. They can choose contact with others out of deep liking, without being compulsively driven toward them or away.

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When you’ve reached a high level of differentiation, your view of conflict in relationships shifts dramatically. “What I want for myself versus what you want for you” shifts to “What I want for myself versus my wanting for you what you want for yourself.”

We often confuse Emotional Fusion with love – when it really isn’t.
Differentiation
  • Doesn’t require distance – you don’t have to have ‘space’ in order to be differentiated
  • Is not Autonomy or independence – a differentiated person is capable of close relationships, and can CHOOSE to be INTERdependent
  • Solid but permeable – you feel comfortable ‘holding onto yourself’ (solid) but are open to change (permeable) if you CHOOSE to.
  • Maintain a sense of self when your partner is away or you aren’t in a romantic relationship

An interesting element of Differentiation in relationships is that both marriage partners will usually have the same tolerance for intimacy and be about equally differentiated.
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/24/11 03:00 AM

I'll throw my comments in a separate thread

Quote:
Guess I better crack open my brand new copy..

mmmmm New Book Smell. I keep talking about this book to DH so much I think I'm going to have to buy a copy grin

Lil - one thing I noticed and appreciated in the intro - along with the language thing, was his desire to not be taken with 'blind faith'. If we believe his stuff - it is because we've found it to work for ourselves. Having read and then observed my own marriage these last few days - I can see a lot of truth in his work so far... and potential for it to help DH and I.

I, too, have had trouble connecting with the couples. I identified a teensy bit with Carol once Chapter 4 rolled around. But the concepts and the ideas are really resonating. But it was that way with the Harley books as well - and learning in general. Give me concepts, principles, ideas, and I'm good. I can see it and find applications. Tell me a story and I just can't relate... maybe it's the INTJ stuff smile

Overall I'm finding this a very powerful read - I can't wait to get into the later chapters. I think the slog is the introduction of the concepts, because they can be quite dense.

The idea of Differentiation makes a lot of sense, to me. I find it comforting and terrifying at the same time. Comforting in that it would be wonderful to be loved as I am, to be completely open with DH - good AND bad, to be known that way. But terrifying when I think of putting myself out there that much.

I also was a bit skeptical of the whole - partners are equally differentiated thing. I was convinced DH was more differentiated with me. In so many ways he seems to 'get' marriage better than I do... but as I read aloud and we talked we realized we really are both about equal.

I've also seen evidence of emotional fusion and borrowed functioning, even on the day to day level, between us. I don't know how to change it, but maybe we can figure it out.

As to the reflected sense of self - I think many of us have seen this. The best example that sprung to mind was the woman who gets so consumed when her children are born that she 'looses' herself. She becomes MOM, and that is all she is or knows how to be. I've seen, close hand, what happens when a woman lives that way, and it isn't pretty when the kids eventually leave... or try to. I'm sure it happens in many different ways, but that is the one that came to mind.

Great stuff - And yes, fidd - tons on Validation, but I'm ok with that grin

How are y'all doin? Thoughts?
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/24/11 03:50 PM

Thanks for the welcome Vibrissa and for spearheading this discussion! I promise I'll behave and won't validate anyone here. dancing

I like that he has named differentiation and appreciate the distinction between it and individuality. Harriet Lerner talks about something similar in that there is a certain amount of "individual work" and a certain amount of "intimacy work" that is done in a relationship. The fusion/individuality dichotomy is an expression of one spouse doing nearly all the individual work and the other doing nearly all of the intimacy work. I think this is also related to Al's discussion of avoider/clinger.

I find it ironic then that the way forward seems to be the more individual spouse moving towards a deeper connection and the fused spouse moving towards more individuality. In other words, becoming less differentiated (i.e. more like each other). grin

This is helping me realize how important conflict is in a relationship and how differentiation can greatly enhance dealing with it. And vice versa - only through conflict can we learn how to be both ourselves and connected at the same time.

I too was skeptical at first of the equal differentiation thing, but am recognizing that while it can't be "proved," it is a valuable idea to keep in mind. I think that confusing differentiation with individuality can tend to make one thing that the more fused partner is less differentiated, and Schnarch effectively shows how that is a misconception. I appreciate how he admits the conflict of being "more differentiated than thou" in couples learning this.

Like most therapists, he also seems to portray himself very well in the dialogues. As is typical, imo even when he gets to choose and edit the sessions, he still missed some opportunities to go deeper when he was working.

P.S. If you are a Mr. or a Ms. Monk, then you did pick up on the typo on page 61, right? crazy
Posted By: wiser_now

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/24/11 04:11 PM

Hi gang,

Sorry... I haven't gotten the book yet. I will and catch up, hopefully very soon.

In the meantime: One thing, to fiddlr~~~~

Quote:
I'll behave and won't validate anyone here


Please, PLEASE, I'm begging you to listen... not EVERYONE thought your attempts were wrong (and I only use the word "wrong" because I can't think of another, more useful word right now).

Bottom line: Some of us, me included, APPRECIATED it.
Posted By: believer

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/24/11 06:22 PM

I'm addicted to the book. And the most interesting thing to me is the part about self-validation rather than other-validation. That goes against what most people think.

I also like his comments on communication between couples. He says it's not that married couples don't communicate, but that they each know the other one doesn't want to hear their thoughts.
Posted By: Jayne241

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/24/11 10:48 PM

Well, I'm just up to the Acknowledgmets! (I needed to finish another book I was reading first.) So I'll just comment on the Introductory parts for now:

Originally Posted By: Vibrissa


Introduction
A couple of things that really struck me in the introduction and I considered worth discussing were the idea that Romantic Love is a relatively NEW concept, in the scope of animal/human development. It’s been around for a fraction of time.


Quote:
Romantic love is a relatively new development of which we no little, especially within marriage…Western culture has no history of happy romantic love within marriage; the notion of romantic love didn’t even exist until the twelfth century.


I was thinking about this, and I'm not sure I think it is completely accurate. Yes there used to be a lot more arranged marriages etc., but I think there were also marriages for love, weren't there? Like, for example, in the Bible there are several instances: Song of Solomon, and David and Bathseba, for instance. But maybe just the men had a choice?

Anyone else thinking there are historic examples of loving couples pre-12th century?


Quote:


Originally Posted By: Vibrissa
I'll throw my comments in a separate thread

[quote] Guess I better crack open my brand new copy..

mmmmm New Book Smell. I keep talking about this book to DH so much I think I'm going to have to buy a copy grin


I really like a book that tells me *how* to read it, since I sometimes hem and haw over decisions like whether or ot to underline in it, etc. DH treats his books such that they look brand new after he reads them; I used to be the type of person that would *consume* books, and a well-worn book was a well-loved book. But I've started being more careful with books now, for DH. I liked that the author made the decision for me, and told me to underline things, and to NOT share it with my spouse. smile

Quote:
Lil - one thing I noticed and appreciated in the intro - along with the language thing, was his desire to not be taken with 'blind faith'. If we believe his stuff - it is because we've found it to work for ourselves.


I also noticed that, and am really glad to read that. It's a refreshingly different approach.

Posted By: Jayne241

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/24/11 11:43 PM

Halfway through Chapter 1.

Holy cow.
Posted By: Jayne241

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/24/11 11:59 PM

Ok, one item - but not even the more important item, but while it's on my mind:

Eating lower on the food chain is better environmentally. And insects are a perfectly reasonable source of protein (except for the ick factor). Stir-fried ants are acceptable as food in many places; they are edible, nutritious in protein, and safe to eat.

I can understand that logically, but I still would just rather not eat them.

Um, so..... I am sort of like Karen in ch. 1, but I'd really prefer to not taste either. Just because. Does that mean I have an unhealthy or unevolved (or undifferentiated or un-integrated) sexuality or self-image?
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/25/11 12:27 AM

Small TJ:My kids sermon at church yesterday was on leviticus 11 and what is good food and what is not. Insects were a part of that. smile /TJ

I decided its just that its not so much as me dirty, him clean, but I dont like the taste.


R18 and TMI but relevant to Jaynes comment
Click to reveal..
I dont actually like the taste of semen either and that has nothing to do with my feelings about oral sex, which I enjoy.


So as I said before I assume its just like not liking the taste of parsley, or broad beans, or celery either.

Ok, need to get onto chapter 2. I hope it does get less sloggy as I come to grips with the information.
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/25/11 03:01 AM

Originally Posted By: fidd
I find it ironic then that the way forward seems to be the more individual spouse moving towards a deeper connection and the fused spouse moving towards more individuality. In other words, becoming less differentiated (i.e. more like each other).


One thing I like is he identifies the various paradoxes of marriage throughout the book... and there are many, this being one of them. But I find a lot of it rings true.

Quote:
This is helping me realize how important conflict is in a relationship and how differentiation can greatly enhance dealing with it. And vice versa - only through conflict can we learn how to be both ourselves and connected at the same time.


I think our culture has conditioned us to believe that after we find 'the one' it is all just a ride off into the sunset. When conflict arises, we start to panic thinking 'something is wrong!!!' which can eventually shift to 'I picked the wrong partner... my soulmate is out there waiting for me somewhere'.

Conflict is inevitable in any relationship. I don't think we can avoid it. Picking one potential partner over another can minimize or exacerbate it, but no matter who you pick, there will be conflict. It doesn't mean the relationship is doomed, or there is a big problem. It's just part of the package.

Quote:
Like most therapists, he also seems to portray himself very well in the dialogues.


grin haha, yeah I noticed that, too! But really if I were in his shoes I'd probably do the same thing. I tend to view the stories as fables rather than just the absolute, literal truth. Maybe it came out that way, maybe not, but it is useful for teaching the principle he wants to teach.


Quote:
Like, for example, in the Bible there are several instances: Song of Solomon, and David and Bathseba, for instance. But maybe just the men had a choice?

Anyone else thinking there are historic examples of loving couples pre-12th century?


I thought of that as well – but I don't think that the ancient notions of Romantic Love were quite what they are today. I think the choice residing exclusively with men is part of it. But think of many of the stories of Romantic Love in those times. When they existed women had no say, and/or it was a tragedy. Their love caused them to often chose between society and each other.

I do think that what Modern Couples expect out of their romantic relationships today is drastically different even than those of just a few generations ago.

Quote:
I am sort of like Karen in ch. 1, but I'd really prefer to not taste either. Just because. Does that mean I have an unhealthy or unevolved (or undifferentiated or un-integrated) sexuality or self-image?


Do you think you have an unhealthy or unevolved sexuality or self-image? Did that ring true for you? Can you identify what it is that causes you to prefer not to taste? You don't have to answer those here.

To pull from something a few chapters ahead of this:
Originally Posted By: pg 207
There is a difference between having sexual preferences and settling for the limitations of your sexual development...Choice has everything to do with differentiation. 'I prefer not to' often covers up 'I can't – and don't want to face what might be involved in becoming able to.'


There is a difference between choosing not to because you don't like the taste, and not wanting to for other, deeper reasons.

Diet can also have a lot to do with the taste though... TMI warning

Click to reveal..
I can usually tell when DH has been eating healthy and staying hydrated by the taste/texture. If he hasn't been it's not as pleasant as when he is.


Quote:
 I hope it does get less sloggy as I come to grips with the information.


I started in Section 2 today. Meant to just read ahead to get ready for starting that discussion, and man it's a page turner.... read three chapters in one sitting. It gets a bit easier to read in section 2, simply because he has to spend so much time in the first section laying the groundwork and defining terms. Section 2 is where the practical stuff starts.
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/25/11 02:07 PM

I am not reading this book because I do not want to torture myself - haha...but I can;t resist peeking on the thread. Here is a tip for you ladies who are put off by certain things:

Click to reveal..
pineapple juice and lime. It makes a difference. Just saying
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/25/11 07:37 PM

Originally Posted By: heremainsfaithful
I am not reading this book because I do not want to torture myself - haha...but I can;t resist peeking on the thread. Here is a tip for you ladies who are put off by certain things:

Click to reveal..
pineapple juice and lime. It makes a difference. Just saying


Mentioned a thread discussing OS and DH read more of the book in 5 minutes than he has in 3 years razz Anyway he reminded me about those things you mentioned Herf, as well as reducing intake of coffee.

On a more serious note, he agreed that it is a flavour issue, not a comfort with the act issue on my side. Whew! laugh
Posted By: flowmom

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/25/11 08:33 PM

Quote:
Tropical Cocktail
Ingredients:
2 cups chopped peeled and cored fresh pineapple
1/2 cup ice water
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup light Rum
Directions:

Blend pineapple, water, lime juice, and sugar until smooth. Fill 6 glasses with ice and pour 2 tablespoons vodka into each. Divide pineapple mixture among glasses and stir. Garnish with lime wedges if desired.

Serves: 6

http://www.mixdrinx.com/recipes/Mixed-Drinks/Rum/Pineapple-Lime-Cocktail/

Not sure who's supposed to have one, so maybe both of you should angelhorns
Posted By: Jayne241

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/25/11 08:33 PM

Ok, I'm not exactly sure why
Click to reveal..
pineapple juice and limes
needs to be hidden behind a spoiler, but I'm sure wishing I'd put what I wrote behind a spoiler! I'd forgotten about spoilers.

Anyway, what exactly are you supposed to do with
Click to reveal..
pineapple juice and limes
? Is it like a tequila shooter... or you mean as a part of the general diet?

Ok, enough beating around the, um, ...

Click to reveal..
I don't like the thought of me tasting either of us: me tasting him or me tasting me. I don't like kissing him after he's given me OS.

I guess it's more the "ick" factor than the actual taste. I might very well enjoy fried ants, but I'd just as soon not try them.

Ok ok, I *have* tasted him, and I wouldn't say it tastes bad like a bad pistachio tastes bad, but it doesn't taste like *food*...

I don't really like chewing gum either. It isn't food, it isn't something you swallow...

... ok forget that...


I'm ok with going my whole life without eating the head of a sushi shrimp, with its deep-fried antennae and eyeballs. I'm ok with going my whole life without eating rocky mountain oysters, although I love raw (ocean) oysters.

I'm also ok with beig a bit "vanilla" in the OS department. Does that make me a prude?
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/25/11 08:42 PM

The man should drink pineapple juice and eat/drink limes. Doesn't hurt for the woman either. I don't know why it is a spoiler. We are all adults here.

I am getting the book soon so I can now talk....but after reading some of the comments I am afraid I might be some kind of hoochie mama..... smile
Posted By: believer

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/25/11 10:23 PM

Pineapple and lime juice for both.

Women should avoid seafood before OS and take a bath instead of a shower. That makes everything delicious.

I'm loving the book, and know I need to make some changes before I date again.
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/25/11 11:07 PM

I think he makes too big a deal out of the taste thing. "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."
Click to reveal..
My wife's taste was actually a tremendous plus for me, back when. Not that I was running a "taste test" or anything...

I have had Rocky Mountain Oysters though (a band I was in did a gig at the Tucson Mountain Oyster Club). Tasted like chicken ... wink

I am very much enjoying the book, even though he doesn't seem to understand validation... razz For example, it is very invalidating to insist that one's spouse "read this" or even go to therapy so that they can be "fixed." It is invalidating to insist that one's spouse talk about their feelings when it is not safe to do so - and just as invalidating to stonewall about it altogether. In other words, Schnarch doesn't acknowledge the degree to which lack of validation was part of the problem, probably because he is pushing his own model and agenda. Which is fine, since it's his book and (so far at least) it seems to be a useful model.

Oh, and ...
Click to reveal..
Please don't use the word "chewing" in the same post as OS... razz


So that'll fried ants with a pineapple juice chaser??
Posted By: Jayne241

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/26/11 12:53 AM

@fiddler:

ROFL!!!!!

Actually, with the pineapple juice and limes I was picturing the way you drink tequila shots:

Quote:
Tequila Shots - One shot tequila, salt, and a lime wedge. Fill shot glass with tequila, grasp the lime between the thumb and index finger of your "off" hand, lick that little pudgy area between the two fingers holding the lime, sprinkle some salt on the aforementioned pudgy area, lick the salt, slam the shot down, and bite the lime.


So you have the lime, and the pineapple juice replaces the tequila, and instead of licking the salt from your hand, you...?
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/26/11 02:04 AM

Originally Posted By: Jayne241


Click to reveal..
I don't like the thought of me tasting either of us: me tasting him or me tasting me. I don't like kissing him after he's given me OS.

I guess it's more the "ick" factor than the actual taste. I might very well enjoy fried ants, but I'd just as soon not try them.

Ok ok, I *have* tasted him, and I wouldn't say it tastes bad like a bad pistachio tastes bad, but it doesn't taste like *food*...

I don't really like chewing gum either. It isn't food, it isn't something you swallow...

... ok forget that...


Click to reveal..
I don't mind the kissing after OS, but its not as strong. So I am think that yes, it is a taste thing and not a ick factor thing.Would it be way to TMI is try an describe how it tastes to me? Its not just DH, I think all guys taste bad.


I have eaten snails, brains, kangaroo, trotters, and various animal organs - not rocky mountain oysters...yet. They're not so bad. Fried ants could be interesting.

Quote:
I'm ok with going my whole life without eating the head of a sushi shrimp, with its deep-fried antennae and eyeballs. I'm ok with going my whole life without eating rocky mountain oysters, although I love raw (ocean) oysters.

I'm also ok with beig a bit "vanilla" in the OS department. Does that make me a prude?


That is an interesting comment about being 'vanilla' I don't think I am very adventurous, I know what my comfort zones are and I dont tend to exceed them. Having talked to as bunch of women over the years, some of what I do seems very exotic to some, and repressed to others. I don't think vanilla judgements can be made, not even by our sexual partner. DH knew what I was into when he married me, and I know we were not the first couple to ever get jiggy before getting married.

Nearly finished section 2 and I have comments!
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/26/11 03:40 AM

Lets add another definition of Validation to the list Validation(Schnarch)!

I am not sure how his definition differs from yours, fidd, but what the way I read it, he isn't defining validation per se - rather he's defining what most 'people on the street' see as validation: acceptance and agreement.

I keep thinking of a wife who screams "Just listen to me" and the husband who thinks he IS listening. He's hearing her, he's understanding her, he just doesn't agree.

I think that sometimes - our thoughts and desires make so much sense to us, that if the other person would just LISTEN (i.e. validate) then they would agree with us and do it our way. When they don't do that, instead of assuming that it is because their perception/life experience/ priorities/ whatever are different but equally valid to ours... no, we assume it is because they haven't heard us properly or don't understand us.

THAT is what I think he is getting at when he refers to validation really meaning acceptance. If my spouse thinks my thoughts are valid, then they will agree with them, because they make sense.

He does describe a few other types of validation in a later chapter.

Quote:
For example, it is very invalidating to insist that one's spouse "read this" or even go to therapy so that they can be "fixed."


Maybe I missed where he said this. I got the opposite impression in the intro where he says
Quote:
I don't recommend sharing your book with your spouse...don't bother underlining passages for your spouse to read, or leaving this book open where he or she is likely to find it. If you're not ready to speak for yourself, then you're probably not ready to hold onto yourself through the ensuing discussion


I think a lot of the principles of this book are focused on the SELF. I don't 'fix' my husband, I learn to 'hold onto myself' and by growing myself and becoming more differentiated, the nature of marriage as a 'people grower' will affect a change upon my husband as a natural result of my changes.

Not trying to be argumentative,fidd, I'm just saying I don't see the same things you see (and that's ok!)

Ok gonna try to type up Section 3 tonight so we can proceed to there. I'm thinking Sections 4 and 5 could probably be discussed together so I'll be looking at posting those on Wednesday (hopefully - I'm on limited internet so I'll do my best)

But first - to go make my husband some Pineapple Limeaid!
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/26/11 03:57 AM

I gotta say.....even though someone dear is giving me this book....I am now kind of afraid to read it. not because of the sex parts....but because I have been introduced that apparently this book is going to tell me that a huge part of what makes me me is flawed....and to be honest, I don;t think I can take that on top of everything else.

Please tell me....does this book really say it is bad for me to want the people I care about to think good things about me? Because if it is going to try to teach me that I should not need anyone or care about anything except what I think of me......I don't think I can do that, nor do I want to.
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/26/11 04:12 AM

I haven't noticed it saying that, Herf. It says that caring about those kinds of things should be a CHOICE you make, not something you feel driven to do to achieve a sense of self... if that makes sense. You can CHOSE for other people to matter - and in the end that is more powerful than caring about others because you have to.

What I love about this book, actually, is that he makes the point that we aren't really 'flawed'. We are just at varying levels of emotional, human development. Where we are is ok - but we can be better, and he lays out HIS vision for how we can do that.

I'm totally loving this book - Herf... I think you will too.
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/26/11 04:13 AM

Section 3 – Your Sexual Potential: Electric Sex!

There’s a lot in this Chapter, but I’m gonna focus on the Quantum Model and just mention some of the other concepts.

Schnarch compares his Quantum Model to the Quantum Model in Physics which study the dynamic variables that affect a system’s behavior. So to carry that analogy forward, human sexuality is made up of multiple dynamic variables what will affect our sexual behavior.

There are the basic biological elements: Arousal and Orgasm. Both of these are almost reflex actions. We reach a certain level of stimulation and we reach arousal, we continue that stimulation long enough we will orgasm. We actually need pretty low levels or arousal and satisfaction to get to orgasm, and many relationships seem to shoot for ‘good enough’.

Originally Posted By: p 88
]Many of us develop ‘minimalist’ sexual styles: we know how to generate just enough total stimulation to reach our thresholds…If you can get aroused and reach orgasm the way you usually do it, you might challenge, why change? Here’s the answer: all you need is a minor variation in touch or meaning to reduce total stimulation below your threshold and viola Sexual dysfunction!


So to go beyond a minimalist style we need more than the basic biological:

Originally Posted By: p 83
Once our neocortex gave us the capability to modulate our impulses we transcended any ‘biological drive’ model of human sexuality. If we are going to develop the human in human sexuality, we need an approach that takes into account our biologically-based capacity to bring meaning to sex…your feelings have a bigger impact on genital function and orgasm than do physical sensations


So

Total Stimulation = Physical sensation + Thoughts and Feelings

Physical Sensation, Thoughts & Feelings are the dynamic variables which combined create the total stimulation which we can use to propel us through arousal to orgasm.

I’m pretty sure this is what Schnarch means with his Quantum Model of human sexuality.

There are a few other topics/ ideas that are brought up in this chapter I found interesting/ discussion worthy. I’ll just list them out for us.

The idea that for us Sexual Prime does not equate to Genital Prime – our genital prime could be considered in our late teens, for men, and later for women. Sexual Prime, however, is achieved even later than that, if ever.

There is a certain level of anxiety in sex. Low levels often occur and can make sex ‘spicier’. This is what makes sex with a new partner exhilarating. However moderate levels of anxiety can completely kill sex. Often we don’t know how much anxiety there is in our sexual encounters, because we’ve become used to it.

He lists several ways to pursue your sexual potential (pg 95 in my edition). Within this list we can each find room for enhancement to deepen our sexual experience. We can find areas where we are ‘underdeveloped’ to explore. I found it interesting to contemplate this list and see where I could go, personally.

Finally; WALL SOCKET SEX!!!! To be honest it sounds pretty great… I don’t think I’ve ever had it… in fact, considering that when I read the description I had to pause and think “Have I ever had that kinda sex?” is a sign that I haven’t…. looking forward to getting to it, though!
Posted By: Flick

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/26/11 10:57 AM

Reminder: Do not post under the influence.

Hello,
I'm listening to Steely Dan at the moment and I reckon it's good make out music, not that Lil and I are making out just now smile

Click to reveal..
Any way, about the sucky sucky love you long time thing - it is great at my end, no worries about the taste, no worries about getting a bit of my own flavour back in my mouth. I don't really understand why anyone would get "funny" about it, but each to their own.

I do understand the not swallowing thing though.


Enjoy what you do!!
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/26/11 03:53 PM

wiser_now, I so appreciate your kind words - they mean a lot to me. It is so helpful to receive words of affirmation and approval.

I hope you've been able to get a copy of the book and start it - I believe it has so much valuable information.
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/26/11 03:56 PM

Originally Posted By: Jayne241
So you have the lime, and the pineapple juice replaces the tequila, and instead of licking the salt from your hand, you...?
ROFL

I've heard of "body shots" and so this would be .... devil
Posted By: Fiddler

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/26/11 04:09 PM

Originally Posted By: Vibrissa
Lets add another definition of Validation to the list Validation(Schnarch)!

I am not sure how his definition differs from yours, fidd, but what the way I read it, he isn't defining validation per se - rather he's defining what most 'people on the street' see as validation: acceptance and agreement.

I keep thinking of a wife who screams "Just listen to me" and the husband who thinks he IS listening. He's hearing her, he's understanding her, he just doesn't agree.
Add to that saying to her in his own words what she is expressing and you have Validation(fddlr3).

Originally Posted By: Vibrissa
I think that sometimes - our thoughts and desires make so much sense to us, that if the other person would just LISTEN (i.e. validate) then they would agree with us and do it our way. When they don't do that, instead of assuming that it is because their perception/life experience/ priorities/ whatever are different but equally valid to ours... no, we assume it is because they haven't heard us properly or don't understand us.
Where my concept of Validation dovetails with what Schnarch is getting at is when each spouse does understand the other's point of view and still sees it differently. Validation is easy when there is agreement - the challenge is to stay connected with one's spouse when there is disagreement.

Originally Posted By: Vibrissa
THAT is what I think he is getting at when he refers to validation really meaning acceptance. If my spouse thinks my thoughts are valid, then they will agree with them, because they make sense.
Acceptance is a key ingredient, but I don't see agreement as part of validation.

Originally Posted By: Vibrissa
Quote:
For example, it is very invalidating to insist that one's spouse "read this" or even go to therapy so that they can be "fixed."


Maybe I missed where he said this.
That's because he didn't - I didn't have the book with me when I wrote that, so was going from memory and confused it with some others. I don't have the book now so I'll likely muck it up again. crazy

I was referring to Joan and Bill (or was it the other couple) where she read all the self-help books and he didn't. I had the impression that she had tried to get him to read them, but that wasn't made explicit. Likewise, Schnarch wrote that she thought Bill was "the problem" - which is a common point of view when dragging a reluctant spouse to counseling. That wasn't in this particular scenario, or at least wasn't reported. Nevertheless, the impression I got was they were each locked in a non-validating stance. Schnarch is of course pushing his own form of therapy - but I believe that it is entirely possible for one spouse in such a situation to begin turning things around by learning to validate the other.

Originally Posted By: Vibrissa
I think a lot of the principles of this book are focused on the SELF. I don't 'fix' my husband, I learn to 'hold onto myself' and by growing myself and becoming more differentiated, the nature of marriage as a 'people grower' will affect a change upon my husband as a natural result of my changes.
I see that, and I do believe it is a very valuable way to approach relationships.

Originally Posted By: Vibrissa
Not trying to be argumentative,fidd, I'm just saying I don't see the same things you see (and that's ok!)
And that is Validation fddlr3-style! smile

Originally Posted By: Vibrissa
But first - to go make my husband some Pineapple Limeaid!
thumbsup
Posted By: flowmom

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/26/11 04:59 PM

Originally Posted By: heremainsfaithful
I gotta say.....even though someone dear is giving me this book....I am now kind of afraid to read it. not because of the sex parts....but because I have been introduced that apparently this book is going to tell me that a huge part of what makes me me is flawed....and to be honest, I don;t think I can take that on top of everything else.

Please tell me....does this book really say it is bad for me to want the people I care about to think good things about me? Because if it is going to try to teach me that I should not need anyone or care about anything except what I think of me......I don't think I can do that, nor do I want to.
HRF, if you're looking for inspiration for personal development and growth, I highly recommend Schnarch's book Intimacy & Desire. It's more recent, better organized, and more general in laying out how our individual growth relates to our growth in relationship. Having said that, I don't think you have anything to worry about reading Passionate Marriage wink
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/27/11 01:04 AM

Chapter 2 is done, and I see I am behind again since 3 is summarised already! eek

The comment about '2 becoming 1' really resonated with me. It was part of my wedding vows, and for a long time I really truly believed it literally. I had this mindset where by oneness with DH, would be almost like symbiosis. Up until D-day, I frequently could lie in bed, tangled up in his arms and legs and not know where I started and finished - couldn't really figure who's limbs were whose. That vanished on D-day and never came back. I have yet to find a new level of oneness that matches my new beliefs in the statement, and what I know about co-dependency and enmeshment.

On pg 56 there was a small bit about choreography and how it seemed to stir people because of an idea of fusion fantasy, or what sounded a little bit like the Borg to me (you will be assimilated wink ) I disagreed somewhat with that concept, as what I find most stirring about large group choreography is that I know how much time and effort goes into making it look effortless.

The FOO issues, wow! I found it so much easier to relate to the characters in this section. I could see my family in both Bill and Joans'. These sentences really stood out to me:

'little economic or emotional autonomy'
'primary identity is as their parents child'
'need family to defer, to reinforce his reflected sense of self'
(brother) 'probably felt controlled by ... long distant phone calls'

While my belief that the first 3 of those describes my mothers mindset very adequately, I am aware it may be a DJ. The last is absolutely true for me.

The statement that really jumped out and yelled at me was:

Maintaining Separate Identity

I dont know how to bring this insight into improving my marriage yet, but I am very interested to see how all this links up in the end. Now to Chapter 3 grin
Posted By: Jayne241

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/27/11 05:24 AM

Don't worry lil, I'm even further behind. I'm exhausted tonight but hopefully I'll have time to read tomorrow. I'll comment once I've read more.
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/27/11 03:16 PM

Now I can't wait to get the book.

Lil, flick makes me laugh.

The rest of the spicy stuff I am thinking today I will keep to myself for now - bwahahahaha.
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/27/11 09:03 PM

He makes me laugh too. Its just hard to work out where my pleasure of "yay he's posting", crosses the dismay of "you're posting THAT?" laugh

It's ok, like us all, sobriety brings enlightenment wink Love you honey.....
Posted By: flowmom

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/27/11 10:22 PM

so cute Lil and Flick wink
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/28/11 01:40 AM

OK, chapter 3 read, and I am summarising it quickly because I want to get onto chapter 4. smile

Firstly, a question. DrS mentions the phase "doing" or "do" regarding SF. What exactly does that mean? I see that there will be a full explanation in chapter 10, I just want to ensure I am reading it correctly. Currently I am assuming it means 'person taking the lead/control'.

"lubricating better when giving than receiving...relieving the expectation to become aroused.". I had a conversation about this exact topic a few weeks ago with some lovely and insightful ladies. At the time I thought it was one of those high SF EN things I have but they agreed to the same tendency. At the time we didn't correlate it to the 'reliving of expectation', but I can see why it would be that way. If I am not feeling in the mood and know DH is, some quality giving time can seem to improve things on my end.

"Cellulite and sexual potential are highly correlated" LOL, I am glad to hear that, and I LOVED the reference to the Velveteen Rabbit. My level of cellulite, loose joints and shabbiness means I am becoming very 'real' smile

The wall socket SF description made me...angry, depressed, sad. Earlier I described sex before D-day as sometimes resulting in
Quote:
oneness with DH, would be almost like symbiosis. Up until D-day, I frequently could lie in bed, tangled up in his arms and legs and not know where I started and finished - couldn't really figure who's limbs were whose.
and that it disappeared on D-day, never to return. I believed it was caused by co-dependency and enmeshment, but now it my have been wall socket sex and I don't know if I should be striving for it again, or discarding it as a symbol of an unhealthy relationship. I am hoping for more insight as I get further into this book.

On a side note, when I was given this book, I was about 5 months into recovery and I just couldn't get into it. I picked it up a couple of times and had the same problem. Now its striking many chords with me. I am wondering if its because I am finally at a place where I am not focusing so much on restring my marriage, as improving it.
Posted By: believer

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/28/11 01:51 AM

Lil - That sounds like wall socket sex to me. It happened to me a couple of times with my ex SO, but I couldn't figure out why it happened.
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/28/11 02:42 AM

It used to happen regularly. Like once or twice a month.

So, I strive towards it again? Its so confusing. I really thought from reading all the co-dependency stuff that it was a manifestation of enmeshment.

Just googled the list hoping I wouldnt have to type it out. Crap.

Wall Socket Sex

-Time Stops.

Yep. Actually that happens normally LOL

-External reality fades; there is a sense of being transported to another place and time
again, normal.

-Your consciousness changes, so that, for example, separate acts blend into a single prolonged event. A million delights merge into one.
Just sounds like orgasm.

-Boundaries between you and your partner shift or cease to exist. You feel your partner next to you - without touching - as if your bodies are intermingled. Your skin feels open, your pores enlarges.
Used to

-Your emotions appear on your partners face. You see your essence embodied in your partner. He or she knows exactly how to touch you. S/he moans at the exact instant every thing seems transcendentally perfect to you.
Occasionally, but not often

-Your partners face "melts" taking on unusual or unexpected emphasis and character
Not really

-You watch your partner undergo age changes. You know exactly what he or she looked like in childhood, or will look like when older. You see the child and parent in your partner
Not really

-Profound mutual caring and joy overflow the bond between you. You're moved to tears, appreciating other people past and present, and what it means to be human.
Moved to tears, yes, appreciative of life, yes. Other people, no.
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/29/11 01:07 AM

Hoping more people are going to comment here. I don't get much out of hearing my own voice LOL.

Chapter 4 was good. Less Wow! moments but still plenty that resonated.

-How can you tell the married couples in a restaurant? They're the ones not talking. Is this not talking 'icy cold' or 'warm and relaxed'. For most its a case of they are not talking because they don't want to hear the response - ie they already know what their spouse will say. Sounds a bit like a disrespectful judgement, but I suppose to an extent we can correctly surmise what our spouse will say. Doesn't mean the silence is a good thing, except in the warm and relaxed situation.

"The person with the least desire for intimacy always controls intimacy in the relationship as long as partners are dependant on validation from each other."
So true and not just in regards to intimacy. The spouse who least wants anything controls the thing.. whether that is SF, tidy house, spending time together. Refered to later on in the chapter as 'Tyranny of the weak'

Self validation intimacy seems similar to the 'Drive By' concepts of sharing and expecting no response back. 'It is important to me to share this with you, but I make no demands on you to reflect, or even acknowledge that I have shared it.' Its letting yourself be known, and still not succumbing to the anxiety that your spouse may not like what you are disclosing.

Self presentation - reflected sense of yourself, the most important priority is getting the response you want. Rather reminded me of how affairs start with AP's sharing and validating/reflecting/me too'ing. "Unfortunately it never provides the security and acceptance we crave because we know our partner never really knows us"

"It is quite possible for one partner to have an intimate experience when the other doesnt" Bit of an A-ha! moment here. I read a blog once where the H noted that sfter SF the preceding night, his W had thanked him for the SF and exclaimed how she had really felt the connection with him." He didnt say anything to her, but admitted that his mind had been elsewhere and the SF had been somewhat token. In the same way I have had moments of what I felt was intimacy, only to discover later that DH (bless him) had been humouring me, or saying what he felt was the right thing. It is my choice whether to continue to take the moment as it was too me - a time of intimacy, or let DH retrospectivly take it away. Have decided to make a stand for keeping it, as the alternative is too much like re-writing history.

Final take-away message for me:
"as long as Joan believes Bill is supposed to accept and validate her, Bill can "pull the rug" out from her whenever he doesn't like what she is saying".
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/29/11 03:44 AM

Hiya Lil - I'm here! I'm sorry it's a little slow - that's my fault. I meant to move us forward faster, but the whole moving into the new house thing is draining....

As to wall-socket sex...is that something you'd like to experience again? Perhaps there are more than one ways to get to it. I know later one he mentions something to the affect that sometimes people achieve it spontaneously.

I see you already moved on to chapter 4. YAY!

I'll post a quick sum up here in just a sec, but one thing that I keep coming back to is self-soothing as a technique for achieving differentiation.

I really like the idea of self-soothing. It is something we've really worked on developing with DD. That girl is amazing. It is wonderful to watch her get upset, then calm herself and move through it. I really appreciated the story Schnarch tells about teaching his daughter to self-sooth.

I never considered that self-soothing is something I need to continue to teach myself. Having read this book and watched the interactions between DH and I over the last week I can totally see how we are Emotionally Fused in many ways - passing functionality back and forth between us. I had it for a while, then DH got it back, and now I'm getting it back. I had to stop myself and try to think - how do I break this cycle?

I haven't figured it out yet... But, I think, knowing that it is there is a start. I think learning to self-sooth, I won't constantly seek for validation from my husband (or at least I wont expect it as a precursor to feeling intimately connected to him) and thus won't be so dependent on him emotionally - short circuiting the cycle.... just thoughts.

Many of the things you mentioned also resonated with me.
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/29/11 03:58 AM

Chapter 4: Intimacy Is Not for the Faint of heart
Schnarch lays out the difference between what he defines as two types of intimacy created by validation:

Other-Validated Intimacy which is where one shares with the expectation of acceptance, empathy, validation or reciprocal disclosure from one’s partner. This is contrasted with Self-
Validated Intimacy, in which a person maintains their sense of self-worth and identity while disclosing and has no expectation of acceptance or reciprocity (this ability is closely related to your level of differentiation). Like Lil, I see how the drive-by honesty concept is part of this: disclosing because you want to share without expectation of ANYTHING from your partner. I also see some interesting ways this skill can dove-tail with dealing with your inner-critic, as discussed elsewhere on this site.

Originally Posted By: p102
“Intimacy is often misunderstood as necessarily involving acceptance, validation, and reciprocity from one’s partner – because that’s what many people want if they’re going to disclose important personal information. But intimacy is not the same as closeness, bonding, or care-taking (all of which bring comfort by emphasizing togetherness, continuity, and shared history). Intimacy is an “I-Thou” experience. It involves the inherent awareness that you’re separate from your partner, with parts yet to be shared.”


He identifies several drawbacks to other-validated intimacy:

  • You become more dependent on each other’s whims and less capable of true intimacy when stressed.
  • Paradoxically hope that your partner has their act together while hoping they don’t
  • Self-presentation as opposed to self-disclosure
  • One partner can manipulate the other’s reality.
  • Can lead to dependence


Another drawback – or thing to know about other-validated intimacy, is that it doesn’t naturally progress to self-validated intimacy.

Other-validated intimacy can lead to dependence and create anxiety spirals – where the emotions of one partner feed into the emotions of the other. Self-validated intimacy, on the other hand, can lead to inter-dependence.

Finally, there is the idea that by its very nature, Marriage is going to push you towards Gridlock. It is going to push you to grow (differentiate), separate (emotionally withdraw or even divorce), sacrifice your values, or sacrifice the values of your spouse. It is inherent in the nature of marriage as a system. I found this idea comforting. Gridlock doesn’t mean I’m doing it wrong – doesn’t mean my marriage is doomed, broken, abnormal…. It’s just marriage.

Gonna post on Chapter 5 tomorrow so we can get this discussion moving along – so sorry about that guys. Hoping to start on Section 2 Sunday and I’ll post on Chapters 6&7 then.
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/29/11 05:10 AM

Okay....after V's last post I am sold. Starting tomorrow.
Posted By: Jayne241

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/29/11 05:32 AM

This book is really awesome, even more than I expected.

It is way more than just a book on how to have better sex.

I just finished chapter 2 (sorry I'm so much slower than y'all!) and I found parts of it that were very much like "How To Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It (HTIYMWTAI)", and parts that reminded me of "The Dance Of Anger/Intimacy", and parts that reminded me of "The Road Less Traveled (TRLT)."

To me it felt like "TRLT" and "HTIYMWTAI" were 100-level college courses, and this book is 600-level (grad school). It's like HNHN and HTIYM are treating symptoms, and this book is teaching the theory, the cause, the symptoms, the treatment, and the cure.

Lil, I'm sorry you felt like you were talking to yourself! Is it ok for us slower readers to post comments as we finish chapters you've already finished?
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/29/11 07:36 AM

I was only kidding, sort of smile Go for it. Today was the first time ever I beat Vibs, and shes threatening several more in the next 3 days eek

and I am really interested in hearing what others think or get out of each chapter. I have often noticed how many people reading the same thing can draw different points from it
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/29/11 07:46 AM

Originally Posted By: Vibrissa
Hiya Lil - I'm here! I'm sorry it's a little slow - that's my fault. I meant to move us forward faster, but the whole moving into the new house thing is draining....

As to wall-socket sex...is that something you'd like to experience again? Perhaps there are more than one ways to get to it. I know later one he mentions something to the affect that sometimes people achieve it spontaneously.

I see you already moved on to chapter 4. YAY!

I'll post a quick sum up here in just a sec, but one thing that I keep coming back to is self-soothing as a technique for achieving differentiation.

I really like the idea of self-soothing. It is something we've really worked on developing with DD. That girl is amazing. It is wonderful to watch her get upset, then calm herself and move through it. I really appreciated the story Schnarch tells about teaching his daughter to self-sooth.

I never considered that self-soothing is something I need to continue to teach myself. Having read this book and watched the interactions between DH and I over the last week I can totally see how we are Emotionally Fused in many ways - passing functionality back and forth between us. I had it for a while, then DH got it back, and now I'm getting it back. I had to stop myself and try to think - how do I break this cycle?

I haven't figured it out yet... But, I think, knowing that it is there is a start. I think learning to self-sooth, I won't constantly seek for validation from my husband (or at least I wont expect it as a precursor to feeling intimately connected to him) and thus won't be so dependent on him emotionally - short circuiting the cycle.... just thoughts.

Many of the things you mentioned also resonated with me.


I'll probably fall behind again now. Its friday night meaning the weekend is upon me and that means family time. hey dont worry about my grumbles, your not the only one reading the book, and your moving house. I am astounded that your able to read as much as you are.

Assuming I was having WSS, yes I would like it again. I miss it. I've said so since it went and because no one ever commented I figured it was enmeshment blar blar. I am just not sure when it will. I worked out it started happening about the 10th year of our marriage. This time we've been 'together' 3 years.

I am interested in learning the self soothing technique when I reach that bit. DH and I had a tense moment tonight and I found myself realising I was being anxious and concerned about his feelings for me, meaning I was other validating. Once I figured it out, I was able to stop some of the anxiety.
Posted By: wiser_now

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/29/11 12:19 PM

Just want to offer a quick apology and back out gracefully. I wasn't able to get the book. I am reading along, though.
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/29/11 02:06 PM

The chapters in section 2 are a bit easier a read, I've found. If u think that's too fast I can slow it down smile.

As to the WSSS lil... maybe it was from enmeshment... but maybe not. It sounds like it is something you COULD achieve again, but from a place of healthy interaction.


Looking forward to u joining is Herf!

And w_n, sorry you couldn't get the book. Feel free to comment if the mood strikes you:)
Posted By: Jayne241

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/29/11 04:32 PM

w_n, I owe a "pay-it-forward" book to the cosmos. believer sent me HTIYLWTAI. If you are comfortable sending me your address, I could send you a copy of TPM.

Then it would be "tag, yer it" and you owe a pay-it-forward.

Sort of like the Cheese Touch. (Any readers of Diary of a Wimpy Kid here?)
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/29/11 04:32 PM

Should I go stick my finger in a light socket?
Posted By: wiser_now

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/29/11 05:32 PM

Aw, Jane! While I'm totally on board with paying it forward and the generosity with which your gift is offered, I am not comfortable sharing my address. I've done it before with varying results (from pleasant to horrifying) and it makes me feel a little sick inside that it's still out there with some folks.

I hope you understand and thank you again for the kind offer.
Posted By: Jayne241

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/29/11 05:50 PM

Yes, I totally understand. smile It was just an offer, not a demand.

I guess I've still got the Cheese touch then. *sigh*
Posted By: believer

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/30/11 12:27 AM

I hope he discusses the WSS more in coming chapters. I'm up to Chapter 5 and so far, kind of understanding everything.

His take on a low desire spouse is certainly interesting. He gives a great explanation of why some spouses start out having lots of sex and end up not wanting it. And it has nothing to do with sex drive or past experiences.

He talks about Carol, who is low drive, but didn't start out that way. Turns out that she had low self esteem and anxiety. She had lots of sex at first to entice her husband. When she was married and more secure, she felt like she had to serve him.

Later on, she got resentful.

It's much different than most of the books about desire.
Posted By: flowmom

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/30/11 03:49 AM

I have experienced WSS many times. I think the loss of ego of the experience is more akin to a spiritual experience than to the dysfunction of co-dependency and enmeshment.

Schnarch ditches the term WSS in Intimacy & Desire. He devotes an entire chapter to the importance of f-cking. I mean no offence by using that term - it's the one he uses and he uses it very deliberately. He is not talking about generic sex or the many euphemisms for it.

Lil, it makes sense to me that WSS would disappear post-D. Trust is essential.

“before a woman will be thoroughly indecent with you, she needs to determine that you are essentially decent.” - [link]
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/31/11 05:57 AM

Ha! Got the internet working! I may not be able to post tomorrow, we'll see


Chapter 5 – Sexual Desire: Who Wants to Want?

Chapter 5 begins with a discussion of how we view desire. How we have switched, as a society, from viewing low desire as a good thing, to seeing it as a bad thing, as evidence of some sort of dysfunction.

Originally Posted By: pg 127
Now, you’re supposed to want it (unless you’re excused for a medical or mental condition). Low sexual desire is almost always considered a problem. (I’ve found it often reflects good judgment: healthy people don’t want sex when it’s not worth wanting.)


He identifies several problems that arise from seeing sex as ‘natural’
Originally Posted By: pg 128
Viewing sexual desire as a ‘natural’ hunger masks its complexity and encourages people to see themselves as defective.


Human sexual desire is typically thought to be composed of 3 characteristics: Basic programming to reproduce, relieving tension and fulfilling a craving for sexual gratification (we seek for pleasure). However, he identifies several other aspects of sexual desire that affect sexual potential and desire. He also explores the effects our different ‘brains’ (reptilian, mammalian, neocortex) have on desire.
Marriage is a system, a collection of processes. It’s complexity creates a context for the desire that we feel.

Originally Posted By: pg 139
Sexual desire wihin marriage isn’t reducible to two sets of the various aspects of sexual desire…or two sets of reptilian-mammalian-neocortex brain systems, or both partners’ unresolved individual differentiation issues. There’s more involved than each partner’s thoughts, feelings, past histories, anticipations, replays of parental dynamics, or unconscious processes…The point is that sexual desire in marriage involves all of these but is more than any of these parts.

Sexual desire in a marriage system is complex, inherently.

By its nature, the person with the lower drive will control sex – always.

Because of the nature of marriage, we often fall into the strategy of not wanting to want.

Originally Posted By: pg 150
We can’t delay wanting until we know our wants will be fulfilled. Marriage and life offer no such guarantees. Wanting, as an adult, takes strength… Differentiation (your ability to calm your anxiety and soothe your own heart) makes wanting tolerable, though still not safe.
People who don’t want to want are unable to tolerate the vulnerability involved in choosing their partner.


When spouses are Emotionally Fused – their partner matters so much to them that it creates fear – a fear of losing the acceptance of the partner, or of losing the partner altogether. To protect ourselves we don’t want to want our partner. We often mistake this as indifference, when actually it is a reaction to the importance we place on our partner.
There are 4 options available at this point: withdraw emotionally, engulf your partner, be engulfed, or raise your level of differentiation.
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/31/11 07:59 AM

Chapter 5 had reassuringly familiar concepts. He discussed the fact that the brain is our largest sexual organ. The brain is made up of the Reptilian brain lizard the mammalian brain (cortex) and the neocortex. The reptilian and cortex are not the parts of the brain that we are capable of utilising for differentiation.

Quote:
When your severely anxious, as though your life is at stake, you behave like a reptile. Reptiles and badly frightened people have two characteristic's: they have no sense of humour, and they eat because reptiles don't fight fair.their young. Relationships are not peaceful or stable. Although you're responsible for what you do at such times, the notion of 'choosing' is erroneous because the part of your brain that chooses (your neocortex) is no longer in control. Lessons in "fighting fair" are usually forgotten


He 'decodes' the infamous ILUBINILWU. The first love actually means caring, and wishing well for, while the second love translates to wanting. So it becomes "I care for you, I just don't want you anymore.
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/31/11 08:10 AM

Originally Posted By: flowmom
I have experienced WSS many times. I think the loss of ego of the experience is more akin to a spiritual experience than to the dysfunction of co-dependency and enmeshment.

Schnarch ditches the term WSS in Intimacy & Desire. He devotes an entire chapter to the importance of f-cking. I mean no offence by using that term - it's the one he uses and he uses it very deliberately. He is not talking about generic sex or the many euphemisms for it.

Lil, it makes sense to me that WSS would disappear post-D. Trust is essential.

“before a woman will be thoroughly indecent with you, she needs to determine that you are essentially decent.” - [link]


I didnt take offense smile

I had a look at the link and it was interesting. I read the quote out to DH and he agreed it was most likely true.

I have broken one of Schnarchs rules - I have been reading bits of the book to DH. I want him to know what I am doing, and where I am coming from and the reality is he will never willingly open a book, especially not a relationship book. While he agrees with what I tell him he makes it very obvious that he isnt interested. He said "MB told us we had a great marriage because we did their stuff and now your telling me we don't". He also makes jokes about what I am saying - uses humour to deflect what I am saying. I am all for fun and laughter but when I am trying to have a serious conversation about something important to me, I feel discouraged and reluctant to continue.

Yes I see the correlation with the couple in chapter 5. I just dont know how to change this dance.

The reason I am sharing this is because I think the trust stopping WSS concept, is true. I am finding it very hard to express anything about the loss of the WSS because it means I am bringing up the A. His lizard hates me bringing up the A. Frankly I think DH is perfectly happy with things as they are and doesnt understand why I feel there is a problem.

:frustration:
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/31/11 03:49 PM

lil, I wonder if one of the reasons he is uncomfortable talking about it is because he knows that his actions (even though you have forgiven them) are the catalyst for the problem. Granted, stbx and I had big problems in this area way before my A.....and then during hysterical bonding it was like I had the H I had always longed for. But in talking about it, he said that all that uninhibited, assertive, hang from the rafters passion was really a desperate attempt to get me back and be good enough.....so it actually for him was the worst time of his life. And I couldn't really argue with that - even though hearing it crushed me - because I knew I was the one who had caused that.

I think for a couple that has had amazing sexual life before an A....it really is possible to have swing from the chandeliers after (call me Pollyanna but I do). But I am sure it takes a long time and it can;t be forced. Our problem was that we never had it to begin with.
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/31/11 08:09 PM

Heya Lil - couple of thoughts.

Quote:
I have broken one of Schnarchs rules - I have been reading bits of the book to DH. I want him to know what I am doing, and where I am coming from and the reality is he will never willingly open a book, especially not a relationship book.


Don't worry, I've broken this rule as well... grin

Quote:
MB told us we had a great marriage because we did their stuff and now your telling me we don't


I think that MB has laid a great foundation for our marriage, but I don't think greatness is ever actually achieved... not in the sense that we're done and good. There is always room for growth and improvement. I think that MB was a great starting place for me, but there is more than just MB - just meeting ENs and avoiding LBs. I think that is what Schnarch is delving into - the personal growth that marriage spurs within us.

It happens whether we like it or not - we're never really stagnant.

Quote:
The reason I am sharing this is because I think the trust stopping WSS concept, is true. I am finding it very hard to express anything about the loss of the WSS because it means I am bringing up the A. His hates me bringing up the A.


I'm gonna go out on a limb here - and this may be sacrilegious or just flat out wrong, I don't know... but trust works two ways. The other party 'earn's' our trust by being trustworthy, but we chose to give that trust. Sometimes we give that trust too easily and get burned.... so we refuse to give it again - perhaps not even consciously but we do - as a means of protecting ourselves.

So while your H can do all he can to regain your trust, it isn't going to help any if you aren't able to eventually open up and allow that trust to exist again, which can be scary because you can get hurt again.

This was in Chapter 5 of PM:
Quote:
Martial arts experts don't stay at 'red alert', ready for battle at any moment. They are perfectly relaxed because they know that they can take care of themselves. Their 'safety' doesn't come from trusting other people; it comes from knowing they can trust themselves. They've shown themselves they can respond effectively when the situation warrants...I'm not trying to lull you into dropping your defenses; I'm suggesting you defend yourself in a smarter way.


So the trust is different, not as open and not as free - but maybe it isn't your husband you should be trusting... It is yourself you should be trusting. Trusting that if something bad happens again, you will be able to see it and overcome it. Trusting in your ability to self-soothe regardless of what his actions in the future may be.

Quote:
Frankly I think DH is perfectly happy with things as they are and doesnt understand why I feel there is a problem.


I find the most interesting thing about this book is that you don't need your spouse to be on board to affect a change. By YOU becoming more differentiated, by YOU being more able to trust yourself, by YOU focusing on your own personal growth - change will come.

I could be way off base - but it's just what came to me.
Posted By: believer

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 07/31/11 08:40 PM

Originally Posted By: Vibrissa
Heya Lil - couple of thoughts.

Quote:
I have broken one of Schnarchs rules - I have been reading bits of the book to DH. I want him to know what I am doing, and where I am coming from and the reality is he will never willingly open a book, especially not a relationship book.


Don't worry, I've broken this rule as well... grin

Quote:
MB told us we had a great marriage because we did their stuff and now your telling me we don't


I think that MB has laid a great foundation for our marriage, but I don't think greatness is ever actually achieved... not in the sense that we're done and good. There is always room for growth and improvement. I think that MB was a great starting place for me, but there is more than just MB - just meeting ENs and avoiding LBs. I think that is what Schnarch is delving into - the personal growth that marriage spurs within us.

It happens whether we like it or not - we're never really stagnant.

Quote:


I find the most interesting thing about this book is that you don't need your spouse to be on board to affect a change. By YOU becoming more differentiated, by YOU being more able to trust yourself, by YOU focusing on your own personal growth - change will come.

I could be way off base - but it's just what came to me.


I agree 100%. It even works when you don't have a partner. I've been changing and trying to be more self-validating. I feel much more content.
Posted By: flowmom

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/01/11 02:23 AM

Vibrissa, I like what you've written about trust. Especially for a woman who expresses herself through her feminine energy, being able to be vulnerable and open is central to her sexuality..
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/01/11 08:02 AM

Originally Posted By: herfy
I wonder if one of the reasons he is uncomfortable talking about it is because he knows that his actions (even though you have forgiven them) are the catalyst for the problem.
I understand that, and yet I find it annoying. I know he had an affair, I want to be able to refer to it without being concerned that he thinks I am holding it over him. It happened, it sucked, now I need to be able to honestly talk about it as if it happened to someone else so that I can find out where my block is. I dont need him to apologise, or even speak. If he really felt an urge he could say "I know, I did'nt know, you've said that." I am over the side stepping.

Originally Posted By: Vibs
I think that MB has laid a great foundation for our marriage, but I don't think greatness is ever actually achieved... not in the sense that we're done and good. There is always room for growth and improvement. I think that MB was a great starting place for me, but there is more than just MB - just meeting ENs and avoiding LBs. I think that is what Schnarch is delving into - the personal growth that marriage spurs within us.
I like that, I am going to use it smile

Originally Posted By: vibs
trust works two ways. The other party 'earn's' our trust by being trustworthy, but we chose to give that trust. Sometimes we give that trust too easily and get burned.... so we refuse to give it again - perhaps not even consciously but we do - as a means of protecting ourselves.

So while your H can do all he can to regain your trust, it isn't going to help any if you aren't able to eventually open up and allow that trust to exist again, which can be scary because you can get hurt again.
Quote:

So the trust is different, not as open and not as free - but maybe it isn't your husband you should be trusting... It is yourself you should be trusting. Trusting that if something bad happens again, you will be able to see it and overcome it. Trusting in your ability to self-soothe regardless of what his actions in the future may be.
I read this this morning so I have had all day to chew on it and yes, you are completely right. I dont trust me, and to an extent I don't trust DH. I am working on the self soothing, I am not sure how long that is going to take smile
Quote:
I find the most interesting thing about this book is that you don't need your spouse to be on board to affect a change. By YOU becoming more differentiated, by YOU being more able to trust yourself, by YOU focusing on your own personal growth - change will come.
I can feel some change within but not enough. I dont understand how the book can suggest it can be done by one when you have exercises like The Hug - but more on that in my report, next post.



Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/01/11 08:18 AM

Chapter 6 (Section 2)

Originally Posted By: Schnarch
'being relaxed' is really a baseline of tension you carry like body armour


Big wooh! on that statement. I could actually feel the tension as soon as I read it. Have been working on reliving it all day. Dr.S talks about how anxiety is contagious, and when in proximity to an anxious person we have the choice of taking on the same anxiety, separating ourselves from the person or differentiating and centring ourselves so we are aware but do not share it. An example is how when you pick up a fractious child and you are calm, they will calm down with little more than a hug, but if you are tense, no amount of cuddling will settle them.

The Hug

I dont entirely understand The Hug. At first it seemed like an exercise to be done to help spouses feel each other, but then the example couple where told to not do it. The H because he felt forced into it and pursued, the W because she had FOO issues making her willing to chase someone in order to be held.

I did try it out with DH yesterday. We got over 4 Mississippi without any jolting. Typically I am the Hugger and he is the Jolter. He commented that he was unsure of his part in it as he has little desire for hugging, he couldn't grope me, and hasnt suppose to lean on me and in fact was suppose to focus on himself making me superfluous to the moment laugh

I liked the hug - obviously I would, I like hugging. I did realise that I am hugging him to fill my own needs. Going back to MB, that would be a no-no because he is to fill my EN's, I am not to fill both of ours. I think my stepping away from helping him fill my needs might help me move towards differentiation. I am going to miss my hugs tho frown

On the positive side, after The Hug exercise we had SF and he really did make a huge effort to make more skin contact with me, more hug type holding during it, than the more usual emphasis on erogenous spots.

If we do The Hug again,or any hugging, I need to remember the very few steps Dr.S gives: stand on your own two feet, relax, listen to your inner voice and note it trying to discourage you, note where in your body you have tension.
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/01/11 01:33 PM

I stayed up way too late reading last night. You know what's funny? Beginning with the very first couple, I felt that tension between the "outside" voices saying "OH MY! For shame you hoochie mama!" and my own inner voice saying "How cool is THAT?!?" The tug of war between what a "normal" woman would think and what I was taught and my own desires and the fact that I really think when God wrote "the marriage bed is undefiled" He meant it.

Not sure how specific I will get here....but let's just say I have figured out I must be pretty uninhibited. I love being that way, but I do sometimes let that outside force make me question whether or not it is "proper." I look forward to shutting that outside voice up some.....and not just about sex.
Posted By: believer

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/01/11 11:01 PM

As you get farther along, HRF, you will see that is why a ONS or affair is easier than a long term marriage. Often in a marriage, a wife cares too much about her partner and feels that he will be judgmental if she lets herself go wild. It's also why sex is sometimes better when a couple goes away to a hotel for a weekend.

BTW - Where is this place? Every time I want to post here, I have to look Vibrissa up and look at her posts. Does that make sense?
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/02/11 02:07 AM

Book reviews, under marriage resources
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/02/11 08:35 AM

Chapter 7.

Vibrissa was right, it does get easier to read in the second section. read

'Open your eyes'. As a rule we seem to think closing our eyes during kissing and SF is more romantic than eyes open.
Quote:
For many, love is blind - and we're grateful that it seems that way. We are afraid we wouldn't be loved if we were truly known. We tune out our partner (or ourselves) to tolerate getting close enough to touch
Only problem I have with eyes open is that since SF is normally at night, and since it's winter here there is no natural light, and neither of us want to get out of bed after, so we have the lights off. I tried keeping my eyes open, but all I could see was an outline LOL. If we have SF in the morning, I am normally still mostly asleep so keep my eyes closed out of tiredness. I am not sure how much 'seeing' one gets out of blurry morning eyes
laugh

Foreplay can be seen by both spouses as 'ticking a box', or 'just doing your job' leading to resentment by both spouses. I agreed with that. I sometimes feel if I had a jolly good snog first, you could skip the foreplay altogether. I get more turned on by deep passionate kissing than by feeling we're just doing the steps from initiation to climax.

Kissus interuptus. Technique whereby spouses kiss for a period, pull back and look at each other, then resume kissing. Requires similar focus as The Hug : relax, listen to your inner voice and note it trying to discourage you, note where in your body you have tension. Smiling and a friendly "Hi!" is allowed smile Allows you to see, and be seen.

Communal genitals. Alas one of my favourite sayings has to go: "Men, you do not own your penis's, they belong to your wife. You have peeing rights only".
Spouses may feel that if they are not going to have sex with anyone else then half their spouses genital 'belong' top them, therefore they MUST be made available to the other on demand. Genitals are not property, we own our own body.

Pg 202 in my book said "dont kid yourself that just reading this book will free you or your marriage from the shackles of fusion".

Well, darn
laugh

Tried The Hug again last night after explaining to DH that I wasnt going to ask for it. He kind of hunched down and folded himself over me. That was different.
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/03/11 12:57 AM

I am getting deeper into the book now, and I can see that it is very timely for me. And not because of sex....but because there are some things I need to learn. Some things that I definitely need to learn.
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/03/11 12:47 PM

Between this and the "sop chasing your partner away" thread, I think I am stumbling on some very important stuff.
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/04/11 01:47 AM

Been trying to use differentiation when H says something I don;t like, so I can hear what he is saying without letting emotion cloud it. Apparently I am crap at it because he says I come over as stoned and indifferent laugh

I am up to chapter 9, but won;t post my thoughts to date, because I am interested in hearing what others are getting from it
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/04/11 01:47 AM

Originally Posted By: heremainsfaithful
I am getting deeper into the book now, and I can see that it is very timely for me. And not because of sex....but because there are some things I need to learn. Some things that I definitely need to learn.


Going to share?? grin
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/04/11 02:42 AM

The whole idea of self-soothing is very important. Because I cannot get into the habit (again) of needing reassurance to feel secure. It's needy. I also need to unlearn what years of tiptoeing taught me. If I am....ME, then the risk of opening up is reduced because the success of that opening up isn't determined by whether or not I get a positive response. The opening up itself is the "achievement."

That's a start.
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/04/11 03:15 AM

Heya - this one is a bit late - again... but we finally have internet! So we should be a bit more regular.

Chapter 6: Hugging til Relaxed

Gonna abbreviate Hugging til Relaxed as HtR

HtR, in this chapter, is a tool that Schnarch has developed to explore and build differentiation. Hugging is a great demonstration of how couples actually DO communicate. We might not like the message, but we ARE communicating. Even while embracing we can create and reinforce a sense of distance between us and our spouse.

Originally Posted By: pf 160
Given that sex therapy generally progresses from easier to more difficult steps...it's easy to assume hugging till relaxed is a 'baby step' compared to intercourse. My approach differs in that you generally get the hardest thing first. Hugging till relaxed isn't easy to do with real depth...It's something almost everyone can eventually do, and it doesn't require nudity or genital contact. It's beneficial to couples who have widely differing comfort levels with (and motivation for) sexual behavior.


HtR involves 4 steps:
1.Standing on your own feet.
2.Putting your arms around your partner.
3.Focus on yourself.
4.Quiet yourself down (turn inwards to access your own resources to emotionally balance yourself and feel comfortable in your own body.)
It lasts as long as it needs to last and is done as often as desired. Often your breathing will go in sync, that isn't a good or bad thing, don't try to force it. It's ok to reposition yourself – it is actually mutually beneficial for you to reposition.

HtR can reveal a lot about your relationship and yourself. Having a connection with your partner requires you have a connection with yourself.

Paradoxically – by not leaning upon your partner, by each spouse standing on their own two feet they are more able to hold each other and create more intimacy. Leaning becomes uncomfortable – your support depends on the ability of your spouse to support you:

Quote:
...when your spouse is your support system, you have to keep one eye on him or her at all times... If he or she ‘moves’ emotionally or physically, you immediately feel off-balance, even threatened...When you draw your sens of stability from your partner, you have to try to control him or her at all times. In short, you can never relax.


HtR is an opportunity to learn to self-sooth, to self-center. We cannot be taught to self-soothe, rather life provides us opportunities to learn it. HtR is one way to get that opportunity. It presents 2 challenges, not losing yourself to the pressures and demands of others while developing the capacity to stabilize your emotions and fears.

Anxiety will often arise – sometimes even after you've become relaxed. Anxiety is also contagious, however if you are centered, you can keep from catching your spouse's anxiety while maintaining a connection with them.

Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/04/11 03:20 AM

I am loving the notion of self soothing. Of not having to depend on my H for my emotional well-being. I like the idea of CHOOSING to be with him, rather than needing to for my own peace.

There is a statement in chapter 5 that really struck a chord with me:
Quote:
What else could you wish for someone you truly love, but to be happy when he’s with you and also happy when he’s not? (So many hope that their partner feels pain during separation just so they can feel valued. That is not love; it is emotional fusion.)


During this whole move, there was a week where DH and I had to be separated. We called and Skyped occasionally. I kept forcing myself to miss him, and constantly asked if he was missing me. He really didn't seem to miss me much - there was one night he couldn't talk because he was playing with the friends he was staying with. I was affronted and upset - I needed him to be MISSING me. If he didn't miss me then perhaps he didn't love me.

I was shackling him with my love - shackling myself as well.

I find it liberating to think that it's ok to be happy apart - it isn't something you prefer, not a choice you'd make - you want to be with your spouse, but your life doesn't fall apart if they're gone for one reason or another.

We tried the HtR technique the other day. Strangely - for all the anxiety that the idea brings up in me - I was ok for most of it. DH was leaning on me for most of it and I found that pressure uncomfortable. I had to keep shifting and repositioning as his weight started to hurt my hips. I think he got frustrated by my repositioning and broke contact - I could have kept going though. I wanna try it again - never actually got to relaxed - I was too busy analyzing so I never got to the focus and quiet part.
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/04/11 03:24 AM

Quote:
And not because of sex....but because there are some things I need to learn.


I'm actually loving that this book isn't so much about sex - it really IS about intimacy.

Quote:
The whole idea of self-soothing is very important. Because I cannot get into the habit (again) of needing reassurance to feel secure. It's needy. I also need to unlearn what years of tiptoeing taught me. If I am....ME, then the risk of opening up is reduced because the success of that opening up isn't determined by whether or not I get a positive response. The opening up itself is the "achievement."

That's a start.


I like this - to bring in a bit from the Control thread over in Troubled Marriage. When we need someone else to feel secure, when we cannot open up - when we can't self-soothe, it's like we are unable to control ourselves, and so we try to control the world around us. But that is impossible. We can't control our spouse - and so we feel insecure, unstable, un-trusting.

By self-soothing, WE are in control of our 'stuff'. WE are responsible for our stuff. We don't need another - and by not needing them, we are free to CHOOSE them.
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/04/11 03:55 AM

As an aside - this thread has climbed to #7 on the Hot Topics list over on the side <--- pretty cool huh?

Gogo BookClub!
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/04/11 01:48 PM

(that's because people think it's about s-e-x........)

No, it really is a good book. I am learning so much.

I used to LOVE Little House on the Prairie. I remember one episode where Laura had admitted to Nellie that she liked Johnny Johnson, not realizing that Nellie was recording it on the Victrola. Then Nellie played the next day at school. Laura was all upset and Pa went to find her. He said something that stuck with me:

Nothing bad ever came of telling folks how you feel about them. His point was that expressing love/appreciation/ etc for someone was its own reward. Their return wasn't the point. The point was the feelings YOU had. I used to live that way. I was the one who never hesitated to tell a friend just why they were such a friend. When I was engaged the first time I never hesitated to tell K what I felt. It didn't matter if he said it back or who called who the most or who kissed who first. I was so comfortable with my own emotions and so willing to share no matter the outcome that I was...open.

It is understandable after years of...stuff that I would hesitate. That I would feel as if I shouldn't feel, and as if I certainly shouldn't TELL anyone what I feel. That self-protection would be the guide rather than openness. It's understandable, but I kind of mourn the loss of that freedom. So I have decided to reclaim it. If I am self-validating, then it should become easy once again for me to share.....because the response to that sharing isn't the point. The sharing is the point.

I am not going to even ask if that makes sense to anyone....because it makes perfect sense to me smile
Posted By: believer

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/04/11 04:32 PM

Whew, I finally figured out how to get here without following Vibrissa around.

I like the part where he was talking about how martial arts people are confident that they can take care of themselves, so they are relaxed and not REACTING to all kinds of things. Their safety doesn't come from trusting other people, but trusting themselves.

They've shown themselves they can respond effectively when the situation warrants. They focus their energies and act decisively when need be, rather than squandering energy reacting unnecessarily to things better off ignored or self-soothed.

I'm working towards that now.
Posted By: flowmom

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/04/11 04:41 PM

HRF, you make sense to me wink

I agree about what you wrote about how control comes into this Vibrissa. Being attached to others reacting the "right" way is a control issue.

My BFF and her H are going to go one of the Schnarch's Crucible workshops! It's really expensive but she thinks it will be worth it. I'm curious to find out about how it goes.
Posted By: believer

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/04/11 04:55 PM

Let us know, flowmom. I'm sure it must be good.
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/04/11 06:32 PM

Originally Posted By: believer
Whew, I finally figured out how to get here without following Vibrissa around.


Awww you can stalk me any time believer! LOL!

Yeah, flow - let us know how it goes for your BFF.

And I know you don't need it - but you make a lot of sense to me Herf. I like your post.
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/04/11 06:47 PM

Yeah well.....I should not have said it out loud. It's kind of being tested. But I will not cave. I will soothe myself.
Posted By: MariaK

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/05/11 09:04 AM

I love both his books. Reading PM was a strong experience for me. And in English!! I had to read pages again and again to get some things. Some of the words he is using are not included in any Greek English dictionaries... frown

Self soothing, differentation, getting rid of hang ups in relation to my body, sex etc, have a lot to do with our "new marriage".

(Just kissing with our eyes open, makes such a wow difference for us!)

I am on vacation, on an island, when I get back home, I will re read the books and share more on what I think helps me a lot.
Ciao
M

Tried to go to counceling, he is crazy expensive. With tickets etc it was more than 20.000 for us
Posted By: believer

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/05/11 05:15 PM

Maria - I'm IMPRESSED that you could read it in English! That's my language and I'm a good reader, but have struggled some with it.

Enjoy your vacation and hope to hear more of your thoughts!
Posted By: believer

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/05/11 11:51 PM

Some hug music......

Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/06/11 01:22 AM

OK, I have to admit I havent been reading the book. No particular reason, just havent felt like it.

H made a comment about the book yesterday. He said "I dont like that hugging book you've been reading. I know it's about more than hugging, but why does he get to say how we should hug? Why are we trying to strive towards someone else's ideals?"

I have not initiated a single hug for days now, and he is approaching me for hugs, which is really nice. Guess it was true, he didn't need to come for hugs, because I did all the work. I try and centre myself for them but its difficult because they are short.

Originally Posted By: Vibs
During this whole move, there was a week where DH and I had to be separated. We called and Skyped occasionally. I kept forcing myself to miss him, and constantly asked if he was missing me. He really didn't seem to miss me much - there was one night he couldn't talk because he was playing with the friends he was staying with. I was affronted and upset - I needed him to be MISSING me. If he didn't miss me then perhaps he didn't love me.
yep I get that. I used to find myself asking H "Do you love me" and like you it is a form of shackling. I need to accept it at face value. He is here, making a good life with me, is respectful and doesnt get too wound up when I have 'moments' LOL

Originally Posted By: herf
I used to LOVE Little House on the Prairie. I remember one episode where Laura had admitted to Nellie that she liked Johnny Johnson, not realizing that Nellie was recording it on the Victrola. Then Nellie played the next day at school. Laura was all upset and Pa went to find her. He said something that stuck with me:

Nothing bad ever came of telling folks how you feel about them. His point was that expressing love/appreciation/ etc for someone was its own reward. Their return wasn't the point. The point was the feelings YOU had. I used to live that way. I was the one who never hesitated to tell a friend just why they were such a friend. When I was engaged the first time I never hesitated to tell K what I felt. It didn't matter if he said it back or who called who the most or who kissed who first. I was so comfortable with my own emotions and so willing to share no matter the outcome that I was...open.

It is understandable after years of...stuff that I would hesitate. That I would feel as if I shouldn't feel, and as if I certainly shouldn't TELL anyone what I feel. That self-protection would be the guide rather than openness. It's understandable, but I kind of mourn the loss of that freedom. So I have decided to reclaim it. If I am self-validating, then it should become easy once again for me to share.....because the response to that sharing isn't the point. The sharing is the point.

I am not going to even ask if that makes sense to anyone....because it makes perfect sense to me smile


made total sense to me. I read a thing donkeys ago about how people are quick to run down and not to praise. DD15 is very complementary towards people, if she likes their shoes, she'll tell them. And people love it, really lap it up, so I try and do the same. If I like a womans dress, or hair cut or whatever, I don;t just think to myself "Thats nice", I tell her.

Originally Posted By: B
I like the part where he was talking about how martial arts people are confident that they can take care of themselves, so they are relaxed and not REACTING to all kinds of things. Their safety doesn't come from trusting other people, but trusting themselves.

They've shown themselves they can respond effectively when the situation warrants. They focus their energies and act decisively when need be, rather than squandering energy reacting unnecessarily to things better off ignored or self-soothed.


I am still working on self soothing, not sure how successful I am being. I want to get to a point where I like receiving a complement, but I dont NEED to get them.
And then help DD learn to do the same.
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/08/11 01:09 AM

Chapter 8

Mainly about 'vibes. Signals sent between people to: suggest sexual interest, joy, anger, sadness, pain. Sometimes we are aware of sending the vibes, sometimes not. Sometimes we can feel vibes from others when we are most definably NOT interested.

Touching without feeling.When 'feeling' your partner are you engaging body, heart and mind? When couple stop sending and receiving vibes from each other, they are touching without feeling. Suggestions to improve include slowing things down, less is more, add eyes open sex, focus on your spouse, and try for eyes open orgasm, although he says only a few people are capable of this.
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/08/11 01:22 AM

Chapter 9

"where's your head at?"

What are you thinking about during sex, and are you willing to share it with your spouse? Mind wandering is a common occurrence during sf, and some people dont even notice it happening. Some use it to increase sensation or in the case of men, to reduce sensation so as to carry on longer.

The quantum model premise is explained as "what you think about during sex, affects how your genital function and whether you reach orgasm". Sexual mind set is divided into 3 categories: sexual trance, partner engagement and role play. Trance is defined as primarily focusing on body sensations, almost sensate with turn taking. Fantasies are mostly wordless visual or sensory images. Can lead to the other spouse feeling used and ignored. Partner Engagement is itself broken down into 6 levels of engagement, starting with sadistic focus of a sexual predator who sees the partner as a type of puppet, through to the levels where the partner becomes more than a walking talking sex toy. Role play is self describing smile

Trance is generally used by males, while engagement by women, although there are men and women who are the other way. Neither gender is entirely comfortable with role play at about the same level. Mixing and matching from all 3 sexual styles can help reduce boredom, and help develop strength to love.
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/08/11 01:33 AM

Chapter 10

Doing, being done, and the F word.

I didnt want to mess with TOS smile

It seems I was right, when I queried at the beginning of the book if doing and being done is a taking charge issue. Effing is more of a state of mind than action.

Doing: moving into your partner, tasting their essence, ravishing them with fervour and generosity, sending them to the edge and experiencing your own eroticism in the process. Partner reciprocates by receiving.

Being done:surrender, union and the power of receiving. The level of intensity is high and not under own control, while not abdicating responsibility/just lying back and taking whatever gets dishes out if it crosses boundaries.

Effing:Possible without intercourse. Being in touch with your 'dark side'. Accepting you are a sexual being at all times, not just when the lights are out and the PJ's have been removed. Akin to the passion of first love, but tempered with maturity. Making out, grinding, biting, slightly aggressive. Removing your 'psychic armour, and being with your spouse. Aspects of doing and being done, as a part.
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/08/11 04:30 AM

Chapter 7: Love and Foreplay Aren’t Blind, Unless You Insist on It

Intimacy and Wanting is hard - we all feel like we should want intimacy, but because it is so difficult we avoid intimacy. Intense intimacy is hard to tolerate.

Foreplay isn’t about technique and it always happens – and no one does it the same way. It is where you set the ‘tone’ of your sexual encounter. When the ‘meaning’ of the sex is the same, that is what we find boring, not the technique.

Originally Posted By: 191
We like to think that, in the best of circumstance, foreplay is where couples establish emotional connection and instill feelings of love, arousal, and desire in each other. More commonly, however, foreplay establishes disconnection


Shifting from foreplay to intercourse requires a decision. There is often a lot of 'pushing and shoving' in foreplay. There is signaling and counter-signaling. This is the manifestation of the struggle “You're not going to control me”

The lower your differentiation, the lower your tolerance for intimacy will be and thus you will have a larger focus on technique rather than connection. Eyes - open foreplay is a way to increase your differentiation.

Originally Posted By: p 198
Eyes-open kissing uses foreplay’s natural negotiation process in a deliberate manner. It helps you see what’s lying under the surface of your relationship. It can raise your level of differentiation and increase your tolerance for intimacy and passion, if that’s what the two of you need.


Kissus Interruptus (kissing with intermittent pauses for eye-contact.) can help us to connect – to keep us present in foreplay. As opposed to tuning our partner, and ourselves!, out of our sexual encounter.

Originally Posted By: pg 201
The pressure for togetherness between undifferentiated people...often blows couples apart in reaction. The paradoxical realization that your partner can never completely control you - and yet can have an impact on your life just by exercising self-control - often comforts couples enough to make new solutions possible.



Chapter 8: Eys-Open Orgasm: Making Contact during Sex
Sexual Vibes are the sexual feelings we receive from one another. Often when we talk about alienation - being alienated from our partner we are talking about a loss of sexual vibes.
Sexual vibes are a form of self-validated intimacy. We will only send what we've validated within ourselves. After a point, if won’t be able to send sexual vibes to your partner if sex has become a forum for other-validated intimacy in your marriage. Sending vibes in an intimate relationship has to be a conscious act of will.
There is a difference between touching and feeling. We can touch without actually feeling one another.
Originally Posted By: pg 223
The real issue in sexual mastery is self-mastery.

Eyes Open Orgasm, like Eye's open Foreplay, is a way to keep you present and create intimacy with your partner. It is difficult for many people to achieve, but that’s ok. It is something to work towards.
Originally Posted By: pg 232
This kind of emotional transparency requires a high level of self-acceptance based on knowing who you are and what your partner is likely to see. You can’t be carrying a lot of anxiety or a load of unresolved issues to bed. You have to feel pretty good about yourself to let your life-mate look inside you.
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/08/11 04:30 AM

Hiya 'lil - seeing you moved us forward, thanks! Gonna go catch up now smile
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/08/11 04:37 AM

Haven't finished reading Chapter's 9 and 10 - gonna stay up late tonight smile

But I really enjoyed the chapters on keeping your eyes open.

A struggle we've often had in our marriage is that DH craves more intimacy. I'm more a wham-bam thankya ma'am kinda girl. For me, sex=orgasm. Don't get me wrong, foreplay is fun, I enjoy it and all... but I don't go crazy for it... and it isn't so much about technique (DH has amazing technique).

I think it may be an intimacy thing. I can very easily get 'touched-out' and just shut down. So sex has to be done within this little window before I shut down... because it quickly can switch from pleasure to actual revulsion (i.e. nausea, inability to breathe).

The problem is that DH craves intimacy. He needs it in sex - and I just have trouble getting there.

But, lately, we've been trying the eyes-open thing. Sex still doesn't last long- but we're achieving that intimate connection. He's been so much more satisfied lately, it's almost palpable. And it has nothing to do with the physical.

Hope that wasn't TMI.
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/08/11 08:18 AM

Is it possible to TMI on this thread??

I moved the book forward because I started back at work today, and I know how quickly I end up becoming deeply involved in it over the calving period. I am up to Chapter 12, but didn't want to over whelm every one smile

Quote:
A struggle we've often had in our marriage is that DH craves more intimacy. I'm more a wham-bam thankya ma'am kinda girl. For me, sex=orgasm. Don't get me wrong, foreplay is fun, I enjoy it and all... but I don't go crazy for it... and it isn't so much about technique (DH has amazing technique).
and here I was thinking I was the only one smile

I think mine is more learned behaviour. I have the ability to get pleasure quickly from sex and more than once. Because for the last 13 years I have been working in a job that means I get up super early, and go to bed late-ish because of home commitments, I am tired almost constantly. So if I can get it hard and fast, I get pleasure, DH gets pleasure and then I can sleep. I'm not adverse to the 3am wake-ups but again, there is a POJA that I dont have to wake all the way up for them.

Since I have been trying the differentiation, I have noticed an enormous change of late in DH. I stopped approaching him for hugs and kisses and now he approaches me. A lot. He snuggles up to me any time he can get near me. I am VERY appreciative of his affection, and let him know about it wink Yet when I commented to him yesterday about the posted research on men needing more hugs and kisses than women, his comment back seemed to show he still believes I am the higher needing affection person.

I did the eyes open sex, it was different and less intense for me. I think it's because I am a trance person, so more practise needed, I guess. DH cant quite do it. I never realised how often he looked at his shoulder grin

I am not sure about the satisfaction level, but I do know we have made some big steps in our intimacy. We are both stepping outside our normal roles, with him being more affectionate, and me being more aggressive.

Hows that for TMI?
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/08/11 03:34 PM

Hmmmm.....I am drawing on the past here....but it always bothered me that from the first "kiss with intent" until after sex, h never opened his eyes or looked at me. I always wanted him to, but he would't, and that bothered me. Going farther back, even though there was no intercourse, one of the things that made things so intense with my first fiance was the eye contact, the moving on instinct, the talking....

During hysterical bonding, h became....assertive and in command and actually did open his eyes and ride that wave of intensity. When we talked about it much later he recalls that time as the worst time of his life sexually because he was trying so desperately to "win me back" that he did things with which he was uncomfortable. I remember that being a blow because it was what I had always dreamed of. Odd.

Now that probably WAS TMI...but I think I need to process those kinds of things to put them to rest and to help me to see my own stuff.
Posted By: believer

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/08/11 10:02 PM

Sex is easy for me, thank goodness.

Haven't had a partner since Nov. 15. This is the part of the book that SUCKS for us single people.
Posted By: flowmom

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/09/11 12:29 AM

I read this book many years ago, and some of the intimacy-promoting ideas did influence the sex in our marriage in a positive way. Except when we stopped having it frown .
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/09/11 12:31 AM

B, I'm not gettin' any either, but I am still learning tons about myself.
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/09/11 01:10 AM

It's funny, reading this book and then going to read help threads. I keep thinking "It's ok, just work on your differentiation. Learn to self-soothe"

I think differentiation is a powerful tool for growth - and conflict between DH and I doesn't seem as negative seen through that lens.
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/09/11 01:30 AM

I know....and every time I feel myself wanting to reach for something or someone but I look to myself first, I feel stronger. Not that reaching for people is wrong....but there is a difference between reaching and dependence.
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/09/11 01:33 AM

yes to you both. Conflict is actually up for us, but I am coping with it so much better. And I totally am reading other threads and thinking "you should read the book"

My only concern is that I am coming across as stand offish to H and others now frown I am trying not to, but it sort of creeps in a bit.
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/09/11 01:45 AM

This is random....but lil I have meant to tell you I LOVE the av.
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/09/11 02:12 AM

Quote:
My only concern is that I am coming across as stand offish to H and others now I am trying not to, but it sort of creeps in a bit.


Interesting - I think I've been coming off similarly. Perhaps this is part of the process of 'holding onto self'. Maybe with practice I can become more adept at doing this and reaching out to DH simultaneously.

One thing I have noticed, and it has made me cringe to see, are the ways I've 'trained' my H to interact with me. I've noticed him speaking in ways that almost seem like 'walking on eggshells' and constantly providing other-validation to make me feel better. I am seeing my insecurities reflected in his behavior, in how he interacts with me.

It isn't a pretty thing to notice - to see how we've twisted our interactions around as a result of emotional fusion and borrowed functioning (it's nice to have terms to put to the interactions between us).

Differentiating seems to spur conflict, in a good way, because you changing yourself seems to force change upon your spouse - they have to chose to differentiate as well, and it isn't comfortable.
Posted By: Squeaky Tree

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/09/11 01:05 PM

Don't think I should avoid this thread any longer - will read it (the thread) soon. Too much talk about it. Looking on amazon - is it worth spending the extra £4 for the latest edition?

Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/09/11 01:48 PM

I don't think there are any changes to the new edition - in fact I think in the intro of it he says he wouldn't change a thing (I'm going from memory here) so I don't think there's a problem with getting an older edition.

I'm getting my own copy from Paperback Swap in a few days! So I can stop making notes on post-it's, lol.
Posted By: Squeaky Tree

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/09/11 02:33 PM

thank you
Posted By: Squeaky Tree

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/09/11 04:36 PM

OK,

I've now the thread and I think it would be useful. I guess I don't fully understand differntiation...but sometimes I think: yep, that's me - I'm differentiated.

Thing is I think I maybe take it too far, from what I am picking up here it is kind of an extension of boundaries.

I've been thinking about the highs and lows of my sex life, try to isolate my fear of intimacy.

The most sexy I felt was just after DS was born - but that could have been desparation to keep J - he was angry and resentful of both me and the babe.

The other time was during the A. I didn't have sex with OM and I didn't fantasise about him while I was having sex with H during the A. But during that time I felt very very sexy and I was certainly having WSS with my H.

I remember loving my body for both periods (one at 200lb and the other at 150lb)....

some time later things went wrong with my intimacy levels.

And that was s'posed to be about standoffishness but I've forgotten what I was going to say and how it relates. grin
Posted By: believer

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/09/11 11:45 PM

Originally Posted By: Vibrissa
It's funny, reading this book and then going to read help threads. I keep thinking "It's ok, just work on your differentiation. Learn to self-soothe"

I think differentiation is a powerful tool for growth - and conflict between DH and I doesn't seem as negative seen through that lens.


Me too, Vibrissa! In fact, I've told several people about the book. I finished it on the plane today.
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/11/11 01:26 AM

Okay.....so I read chapters 9 and 10, and I am having some trigger related issues. I think I should delve into them. Not sure about.....how okay I am with just putting it out here though.

Has nothing to do with me feeling uncomfortable about the content....more like troubling things that I wish I wasn't thinking about. Hmmmmm
Posted By: believer

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/11/11 01:51 AM

Stop thinking about them, HRF. That's what I did.
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/11/11 01:53 AM

Yeah......but this is stuff I did not let myself cycle through when I was going through it. It has nothing to do with wishing I could have some sex. I joke about that but I'm not about to implode or anything.

I don't know. It's all in the past so maybe it just needs to stay there. Too much "navel gazing" can be....too much.
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/11/11 04:28 AM

Chapter 9: Where’s Your Head During Sex? Mental Dimensions of the Sexual Experience

This chapter explores our mind during our sexual encounters. Apparently, everyone’s mind starts to wander a bit during sex. Often people fantasize – sometimes even about having another partner. This produces struggle, because we all secretly fear that our spouse is fantasizing about someone else, which plays havoc with our need (our dependence) on our partner’s validation. What could be more invalidating than to know our partner is imagining being with someone else while they are with us?

Originally Posted By: pg 243
Here’s the paradox: the very thing that makes poorly differentiated people go crazy over their partner’s sexual fantasies predisposes them to do the same thing themselves! …Being dependent on validation from others, they have to lie about it even while they are complaining about their partner. And in the midst of all this, they want their partner to validate them and make them feel secure.


Originally Posted By: pg 243
Humans will always fantasize; that’s not necessarily a problem. The difficulty is that the way we fantasize (and hide it) interferes with intimacy…

So fantasies can be used to bring a couple together – and differentiation can help you not ‘take it personally’ SHOULD your partner chose to fantasize about someone else.

Schnarch then identifies 3 common mind sets for sexual encounters, and how increased differentiation can allow each mind-set to deepen the connection and intimacy between partners. We all probably have a preferred mindset, one in which we are more comfortable.

Sexual Trance is where one experiences an altered state of consciousness. Often you focus on the sensations you are feeling and so don’t want a whole lot of talking or outside noises. People who can only achieve low levels of sexual trance often have to ‘tune out’ their partner to achieve orgasm. This can leave their partner feeling used – which lowers the intimacy between partners. In order to increase intimacy in the Sexual Trance ‘style’ both partners can attempt to trance and/or go deep into a trance, so that your eyes can be opened. This allows you to make a connection with your partner without losing the necessary awareness of your sensations.

Partner engagement is all about the bond between the parties involved. There are various levels from one extreme to the other. On one end are sexual predators, each level progresses until partners actually recognize one another as ‘real people’ as opposed to ‘walking genitals’. The last two levels require higher levels of differentiation. As the differentiation of the partners increases, there is deeper engagement between partners. This, in turn, lowers the potential partners available to you. It takes time and effort to reach higher levels of partner engagement – you can’t do it with a great number of people.

Finally is Role Play, which is all about exploring and acting out your secret sexual desires. Role Play requires that the ‘role’ you are playing ‘fit’ with your personal sexual self-image. As your differentiation increases, you become more comfortable in various roles, without feeling awkward or fake.

Sexual boredom in marriage often arises from using limited styles. Couples often ‘rule out’ various things they aren’t comfortable with (those that are frightening because they are beyond their ability to self-sooth) and then have to make do with what is left. This provides only limited opportunities for variation in the ways we connect as a couple. By increasing our differentiation, we can find a balance between the use of all 3 styles.

Originally Posted By: pg 257
Someone with truly balanced sexual development is equally comfortable with all three psychological dimensions of sexual experience. Such a person has no sexual ‘pseudo preferences” – that is, preferences based on limitations.


Originally Posted By: pg 259
Sexual conflict in marriage is not just inevitable – it’s important … The resulting friction stretches you…Remember, this “growth” is the differentiation that has to keep pace with your spouse’s growing importance in your life – if you want to keep intimacy and sexual desire alive as you stay together longer. Poorly differentiated people mistake the absence of open conflict to mean that everything is ok

Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/11/11 04:33 AM

Originally Posted By: heremainsfaithful
Yeah......but this is stuff I did not let myself cycle through when I was going through it. It has nothing to do with wishing I could have some sex. I joke about that but I'm not about to implode or anything.

I don't know. It's all in the past so maybe it just needs to stay there. Too much "navel gazing" can be....too much.


This presents an interesting conundrum. Schnarch says in several places that you can use the present to work through past problems - use the present to build differentiation and resolve those past issues. However, all the examples he describes are within the context of an intimate relationship (obviously). So how does one resolve the past in the present when there isn't an intimate relationship?

Is it navel gazing to examine the past, and process the anxieties it brings you; acknowledge the ways it is shaping you today and chose to no longer allow it to do so?

I don't know what it is you are working through Herf - but I think there is a difference between navel gazing via rehashing the past over and over and over again and honestly examining what went before and how it is hampering you now and committing to a plan to change that.

I don't know if you can process it here - maybe not - but I think there is a way to process it, get through it and move forward, and I don't think that is a bad/unhelpful thing to do. I think it's healthy.

Just my $.02
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/11/11 04:41 AM

So on Chapter 9. Honestly it's been harder for me to resonate with this chapter. Mostly because I didn't really identify with any of the 3 states strongly. Also DH and I are usually pretty good at sharing fantasies - sometimes I can tell he isn't 100% there, sometimes I'm not either - but other people don't commonly intrude in our thoughts.

I'm more of a 'gotta do x, y, z when we're done here' type of person. I am fairly sure DH doesn't think about other people - he doesn't like to do that even on his own (though I could be wrong about that...)

Plus none of the styles seemed like 'me'. We do a little bit of all 3 - perhaps Personal Engagement a little bit more than the other two, but they're in there from time to time.

We typically teeter on the dividing line between level 4 and 5.
Quote:
His/Her happiness and satisfaction become as important as one's own. Compassion, consideration, mutuality, and integrity steer the interactions, made possible by one's ability to calm one's anxiety and self-soothe one's conflicts and hurts
We've stood on the cusp of this threshold several times in our marriage.

Sometimes we come closer to it than others. One big thing holding us back was the lack of connection my husband craved and I felt uncomfortable giving (or I thought I was uncomfortable giving - I've tried it recently and it isn't that scary at all!) Implementing a lot of the last few chapters over these last 2-3 weeks has made a DRAMATIC improvement in that area.

I will say I take a lot of comfort from his stance on conflict - that it's ok, that it is part of marriage, in fact that it is NECESSARY for a healthy, strong marriage.

I like that message - I hope that is one I can pass on to DD well enough to counter the constant message of "If it's meant to be it's all just a ride off into the sunset".
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/11/11 02:25 PM

The more I thought about it the more I think....nah. I'll go ahead and say that when I was thinking of the more "intense" levels of sex and referencing it with my own experience, it was making me sad that those times that I really did feel....in the moment and uninhibited were not with h. That made me sad and regretful again. But it is what it is. And I think the best way for me to process it is to not worry about all that and just think with the mindset of learning for the future.
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/12/11 02:49 PM

Finished the book. Now I am going to go back and read some things again.

That last section was amazing! My brain is still digesting. I loved what he had to say about the past. And it brought to light a few things about me that I need to work on (again). Because I have to admit that I see some "mom" in me at times. She was a master of manipulation......and gosh, I can see ways that I have tried to do the same. And it is interesting....the people in my life who have been around the longest and who I most respect will not allow me to manipulate them. They won't play the game.

Very interesting.
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/13/11 08:47 PM

I am still reading the book, time wise my choice has come down to read the book, or read on MA. Book wins smile

For those who have finished - Believer and Herf - would you write a synopsis of the book, and what concepts where important for you? Overall this is a great thread and very informative.

Herf, I have been very interested at how often I can either relate the book to my relationship with H and former relationship with my mother. I wonder if he will ever write a book about differentiation with an emphasis on FOO
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/13/11 11:43 PM

That is interesting. I thought some about my mother....as well as my relationship with my own children, esp. DD.

I wanted to cry when I finished, partially because some of it was exhausting, and partially with this feeling of...freedom?

This is a new thing for me. I have always used lots of words, and words were my way of making sense of things. But it's like the things in me - good things - just seem inexpressible with words. I am just......content - not complacent, just peaceful.
Posted By: believer

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/14/11 03:06 AM

I finished the book and gave it to my niece today. She and her SO are having some problems. I did talk to them both about some of the stuff in the book. YIKES!
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/14/11 03:26 AM

Did you tell them to go home and have WSS????
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/14/11 06:38 AM

I see most of us are finishing the book - I've dropped the ball a bit. I got a job (yay) and have been desperately trying to prepare for my first day and finish setting up the new house, so my reading fell behind. I would love to hear y'all's thoughts.

Chapters 10 and 11 are here(I plan to post summaries of the last three chapters Monday):



Chapter 10: F***ing, Doing and Being Done: It Isn’t What You Do, It’s the Way You Do It.

I struggled a bit with this chapter. I’ve read it three times and am still having a bit of trouble summing it up. This is probably just me.

Schnarch introduces 3 terms – F***ing, Doing and Being Done. He uses Doing and Being Done almost as euphemisms of F***ing. F-ing seems to be a subjective “you know it when you’re doing” it type of things that is uniquely defined by each person(probably why I struggled with this).

Originally Posted By: pg 267
…Commonly described as: (a) two-way vs. one-way energy, (b) equally shared, (c) a profound energy link, (d) effortless flow, (e) aggressive “give it to me!” sex, (f) no secrets/self-revealing/ nothing held back, (g) Clearly seeing and accepting each other, (h) brain/body/sould connection, (i) going to the limit, (j) losing oneself (wild abandon, uninhibited, (k) Finding oneself, (l) amazing, (m) timeless, and (n) transcendent.

F-ing can be done without sex or genitals, at all. However, it is difficult for many people to do. Doing so requires harnessing your sexual power and aggression (phallicness in males and muliebrity in females). Aggression is often pushed out of sex – it is associated with anger and abuse. However healthy aggression has a place in f-ing. F-ing uses the anger and aggression that naturally occurs in marriage and ‘digesting’ it through sex.
Women seem to “know more about doing and being done.” However, they often stifle their sexuality and eroticism for the sake of their partner.

[quote=pg 286] Doing your partner – and allowing yourself to be done – takes more than getting over hang-ups. It often dakes developing what hasn’t existed before: self-master and self-development.


Section 3
Chapter 11: Two-Choice Dilemmas and Normal Marital Sadism

Life will present us with ‘two-choice’ dilemmas: choices we don’t want to make. The consequences of choice present us with anxiety. Often we will want both, but can only get one – or we don’t like the result of either. So we will avoid making a choice for as long as we can – and try to keep our spouse from choosing as well.

However, accepting these events as an opportunity for growth fuels differentiation. Anxiety is inherent to growth. We will often try to remove anxiety before we move forward – but anxiety is resolved while moving THROUGH change. Eventually we have to make choices, typically we chose the option that causes the least anxiety or has the more expendable consequences.

While avoiding choice we often become sadistic.

Normal Marital Sadism is something that occurs in every marriage. Hate occurs in marriage – sometimes we hate our partner BECAUSE we love them so much, and thus we are vulnerable to them.

Originally Posted By: pg 310
…People who cannot acknowledge their hatred are most pernicious to those they ‘love’. One cannot control what one won’t acknowledge exists. Mature adults have the strength to recognize and own their ambivalent feelings towards their partner. They self-soothe the tension of loving and hating the same person at the same time – and the fact that their partner feels similarly.


It is hard to admit that we hate our spouse. It is painful to accept that we are hateful, malicious and vindictive. We try to deny that we are this way, even to ourselves. However, we cannot overcome this, and create intimacy if we refuse to acknowledge its existence. We cannot fix something we won’t admit is broken.
This is the ‘dark side’ of each of our natures, made even more so by our desire to ignore its existence.
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/14/11 06:47 AM

Quote:
I have been very interested at how often I can either relate the book to my relationship with H and former relationship with my mother.


I have struggled with my relationship with my mother for .... well forever (the story is elsewhere - don't feel like rehashing it).

I remember sitting with my pastor discussing my relationship with my mother (he's never met her) and the struggles I've had with our relationship and he stated "You're trying to break the cycle." It made sense, in many ways I'm trying to break the cycle of abuse and .... failure(? not sure if that's the right word) ... parental inadequacy (?). In many ways she's the best mother she is capable of being - given the limitations of her own mother.

There was a paragraph in Chapter 10 that spoke to me powerfully:
Quote:
When we stand up and confront ourselves in ways our parents have not, a desire for justice makes it harder to forgive them in some ways. However, the increased differentiation this endeavor provides allows one to better self-soothe, to validate one's own experience, thereby unhooking the need for confession from one's parent. At this point, forgiveness becomes an act of self-caring and a deliberate decision to get on with one's life


Going through all this - I definitely feel the bolded section. I just haven't gotten to the latter point - the forgiveness part. I get closer and closer to it. Sometimes I feel like I almost have it - then the anger and need for justice emerge....Someday I'll get sick of this invading my life. I keep holding on and holding on, I don't know why I can't let it go....well I probably could figure it out if I thought about it hard enough.
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/14/11 08:26 AM

I hear all that ^^^

I have mummy issues, will join you in a thread about it one day....just not now please laugh

I was listening to Radio Rhema today, and a devotional thingy came up. The guy was talking about forgiveness, and how you're suppose to go talk to someone who offends you etc. Anyway, he said a bit into it "sometimes we forgive and let go, some times we forgive from a distance, either way we forgive because God forgave us". The bit about forgiving from a distance really struck me. I get peace of mind by staying distant, which stops me finding new things I need to forgive wink


Hey, well done on the new job!! claps I started work last week.
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/15/11 11:00 PM

I finished the book! Being sick has it's advantage smile

I will do a chapter by chapter summery later. For now, while it is all fresh in my mind... I was surprised at how much closer I felt to God during prayer time since starting the book, and was very interested in the differentiation/spirituality chapter. While I didnt agree with all Snarach had to say on it, I was equally pleased that I was able to pick out what those were, and let them go, without feeling or thinking "well if that is wrong, might as will discount everything else he had to say".

I also have come to believe I may have had a slightly higher level of differentiation pre A. I dont know if it was the emotional over drive that lowered it, or the way 'I' interpreted our marriage programme that changed it. I suspect a mix of both. I know that emotionally I am still changing, hopefully to a more like before level.

Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/16/11 09:22 PM

Chapter 11 - 2 choice dilemma's and normal marital sadism

Most issues in marriage can be boiled down into a 2 choice decision "Is the pain of doing this, out weighted by not doing it?"

Often we think we have a choice between being anxious or not, but in reality the choice is just what anxiety we want to deal with. Spouses are not ever 'in the same boat, but in 2 separate 'boats'. If we want to steer both both, we may call this togetherness, but our spouse may call it 'control'.

Quote:
When relationships hit gridlock, everyone wants two choices. The problem is that we only get one at a time. You make a choice and then your spouse gets to make theirs (or vis versa).
It is at this point that many spouses expect the other to 'be reasonable' which in reality is asking for sacrifice.

This is the reason many spouses feel stuck in a situation because going forward means choosing. Maintaining the status quo offers the fantasy of not having to choose, or if you wait long enough, another more palatable choice will appear. The choice we ultimately make more often only reflects which anxiety was the least tolerable, or which option was the most expendable. Anxiety is inherent in growth and plays a productive role in development. The real problem is our fear of it.

We all have a 'nasty' side. Nasty as in a side that is bad or evil. We all have a touch of it, and control it to differing degrees. This can come out by torment those we love while feigning unawareness.
Quote:
The long term marital relationship is where you learn to screw your partner, two ways at once.

Marital hatred is normal short term. Sometimes we hate our spouses because we love them. That love has made us vulnerable to them. We deny the hatred because of our narcissism and because it makes us feel unlovable.

Monogamy operates differently at different levels of differentiation. In higher levels it stops being a ponderous commitment to your spouse or the relationship, and becomes a commitment to oneself. The relationship is driven by personal integrity and mutual respect, than deprivation or bludgeoning. Having an affair becomes a self betrayal.

Mercy F-ing is a form of marital sadism. It withholds the sweetness of sex, and makes it a chore to be got done with. People who accept mercy F's rationalise that it will do until the good stuff comes, but often it never does. Peope who give mercy F's, feel angry about their partners accepting the offer. It feels like all the other wants is their body, and they have the proof, since that is all they offered. Refusal also offends, as they choice is taken away and becomes a 2 choice decision of who is going to want. Often neither partner wants to be the pursuer, but rather be the pursuee. Couples may not enjoy playing with each other's genitals, but 'enjoy' the sport of playing with each others minds - mind F-ing.

Quote:
Your ability to really do your spouse comes from the same place as within as your urge to 'screw him over;. Confronting normal marital sadism has its positive side: its the path to accepting that you can love and hate the same person at the same time. And to being really b-a-a-d. That long drawn out exclamation, "Oooh, you are so nasty!" Getting so you can enjoy your nasty side and put it to goos use is a real accomplishment.
Posted By: believer

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/16/11 09:23 PM

I ordered 2 more copies of the book. One for me and one for my sis's BFF. While we were shelling crabs, we were talking about it, and she desperately needs it.

It made hilarious conversation for 4 women drinking beer! I told her about the open eyes sex, and she made a comment that it would be hard with your face in a pillow. It got funnier and funnier, but I guess you had to be there.

My niece LOVES the book and is getting a lot out of it.

Of course, I have no one to practice on, but the hugging thing has been very interesting. Before I never paid too much attention to hugging, but now I am.

It started with my son's GF's 4 year old. She hugged my son and I told her she was a good hugger. After that she came to me for hugs several times a day, and LONG ones.

My niece did a lot of long hugging too, and several times during the evening. The next day we went crabbing and my sis's BFF started hugging me, and did several times during the evening. I always hug her when I see her, but this time continued hugging her longer than usual. Then she kept approaching me for more. She is in a marriage that doesn't have a lot of affection.

So it has been very fascinating to pay attention to that. I think I've hugged longer and more in the last 2 weeks than I did in the last 2 years. Seriously.

I can hardly wait to get to the wall socket sex, but I want the right guy, *sigh*.
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/16/11 09:35 PM

You know.....I never thought about the hugging in reference to anyone but a spouse/SO. Thanks, believer! DD especially has been "huggy" lately, and I could do that with her. of course, she likes to lean into me, and I like to let her wink

You know, it's funny. Schnarch doesn't really make any comments about how sex should be reserved and who it should be reserved for. It isn't an inherently "Christian" book, so that did not surprise me. And I would never just go sleep around willy nilly anyway. But one thing that kept striking me is that truly, TRULY intimate sex is precious. It isn't something that just happens because you picked up some hot guy and swung from the rafters.

My view that the only time one can be sexual is after "I Do" has altered, but the idea that sharing my SELF with another person should be done with thought and care has not. I deserve the right person and the right experience.

So do you, b. smile
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/16/11 09:57 PM

I never thought of the hugging outside of DH either, but thinking about it, Hopper is a good hugger too, and would probably like more hugs from me.

Thanks for that B.
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/17/11 12:55 AM

I have started to notice something. I almost hated to share it because I don't want to jinx myself. As I am focusing on self-validation, I am finding things more...peaceful and centered. Which isn't that surprising. However, I have gotten some encouragement lately from a couple of posts her or IRL from friends here......and I find that because I don't rely on it or hope for it or "need" it......it means more. It's more precious.
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/17/11 03:49 AM

Wonderful paradox huh, herf?

I have noticed some wonderful things the last few days as I've been focusing on my self. Finally finished the last couple of chapters earlier today (I chunked DD and DH into the living room to watch Ratatouille while I read).

I contemplated doing my summary tonight, but, like lil I wanna get my thoughts out.

Two parallel ideas in the last few chapters resonated with me in a frightening way: hating our partner is possible even (and sometimes particularly because) we love them; when critical mass is reached the sentiment 'I don't respect you and I don't respect myself.'

Now, I love my husband. He is the most amazing man on the planet (I will brook no disagreement on this issue :P). But sometimes... sometimes... man I can barely type it. Sometimes I do not like him, hate him, don't respect him.

I'm terrified to admit that, even to myself.

Part of the reason I'm here - part of the reason I read marriage books and study and learn - is that I'm terrified of screwing up my marriage. Growing up I was never going to get married. I lived the pain of divorce, I wasn't risking putting another innocent life (my child's) through that. Until I met the man I HAD to be with. My participation here is prophylactic.

My biggest fear in every book I read is to learn that our marriage is doomed, that our problems are insurmountable and we will end up divorced. I strive, every day, to have a good marriage.

Admitting that, at times, I hate my husband.... that at times I do tiny things to tweak him, to assert my dominance and supremacy over him, that I commit small acts of marital sadism.... is like admitting we are broken... that I'm broken... admitting that despite my trying, I'm failing...and because of it we are doomed.

But I do these things, I think these things. It shames me but there is power in admitting that, in seeing them, in being conscious and aware of them.

It hurts to actually contemplate this.

I understand from whence this hatred springs, I can pinpoint the genesis of it within my upbringing and childhood. Interestingly it is intertwined and fed by my Inner Critic (to pull from another amazing thread here). Feeling this hatred for him is really a reflected hatred for myself.... the disrespect I show him is founded in the fundamental disrespect I have for myself, the violation of my own integrity.

Wow - I didn't expect to get so deep....

Among the other issues that struck me was that we are both more and less differentiated than I thought we were. In his description of couples and their levels of differentiation, my relationship with H seems to follow the pattern of the first couple entering the crucible: Bud and Claire.

I've always thought that one of the reasons DH and I 'work' so well is that we both constantly self-confront. We both examine ourselves and look to our own actions when things don't seem to be going well (and sometimes the other party doesn't even know things aren't going that well). I've lost count of the times DH has come to me and said "I've realized I'm doing x, y, or z and it's having affects a, b, c. I'm going to work to change that". Shifts happen, slowly and, most of the time, calmly (though we've been through a doozie of a 'crucible' these last couple of months).

I think that is why I've had some difficulty throughout this book as he describes 'gridlock' and 'crucibles'. We have them, we've met them, but they happen.... quietly. They're life altering and paradigm shifting, but I can only think of once that we've been close to that brink - and it's fairly recent. Perhaps it's because we haven't been married long enough... I dunno.

Finally as to spirituality and death. This didn't ring as much for me, probably because my theological beliefs are quite different from his, though I do think that the process of differentiation IS a spiritual one.

I've never really had a problem with death. I've always joked that DH and I have to die together, that way neither of us has to experience the pain of separation. Actually, at most he can leave 6 days earlier (he's 6 days older). Maybe it's because I have less to lose because of our level of intimacy, I don't know, but I'm not frightened of losing him to death. This is intertwined with my theological beliefs, but death has never been scary or saddening to me - not in a profound way.

I remember when my grandfather died when I was about 7. I couldn't understand everyone's grief... and this is the man who's bed I ran to when I was frightened in the night. But.... I'll see him again, I'm bound to him for eternity, as I'm bound to DH and DD. To me the grief of death has always been the grief of a momentary loss - to be reclaimed again at a future date.

Anyways... tons of thoughts....
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/17/11 08:20 AM

I understand that. Since D-day I have hated my H more than I have hated any other person LOL. I have also loved him more than any other person. I suppose I hated him occasionally pre A. I can think of a couple of different times I toyed with the idea of leaving him, and one time I got close enough that I started researching divorce.

I 'think' those times in the crucible did teach me things about myself, I am not sure if they did anything for H. I can remember just after D-day wondering WTH was going on because I had thought that after confronting him, the A would wend and he would resume normal marital position. I guess he was in his own crucible of sorts then.

I am guilty of telling him that I had to die first. Mostly because after my response to being left the first time, I wasnt sure I would cope with a 2nd. I told him the other night he was allowed to die first. He responded that it wasnt like either of us got a whole lot of choice in it laugh
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/17/11 08:48 AM

Chapter 12 - Your crucible survival guide

Few of us enter therapy to change ourselves - we are usually seeking ways to change our situation, or our spouse. Changing yourself is hard.

Holding onto yourself is a short hand way of talking about differentiation:
- Maintaining a clear sense of who you are
- Maintaining a sense of perspective
- Willingness to engage in self confrontation
- Acknowledging your projections and distortions
- Tolerating the pain involved in growing.

Holding onto yourself allows you to pull out of negative interactions. Instead of matching your spouses feelings and emotional tone, you break out from the emotional gridlock. You do not go down with them when they are depressed, despondent or hopeless. This may be interpreted as a lack of caring of empathy, but NOT getting distraught because your spouse is, stabilises the relationship. You can connect without becoming reactive.

When you can control yourself, you have less need to control your spouse. You do not need to become adversarial, a behaviour which is not self validating. Holding onto yourself promotes good will although it may not look like that to your spouse at the time.

You may think you have a problem when your spouse wont accept you as you are, however we often have a distorted lens that we look at ourselves with. The problem is not that your spouse wont validate you, it is what gets validated is an inaccurate self portrait.

Constructing your crucible involves extracting your unresolved personal issues embedded in your gridlocked situation and confront them as a matter of personal integrity. This is done unilaterally without counting on your spouse to do likewise. Focus on yourself instead of "working on your relationship." "there's something wrong with our relationship" usually means you want to work on your spouses half of it.

Being out of synch with your spouse and maintaining yourself is normal. It is neither wasted or traumatic unless you insist on it. In order to do a better job of self soothing:
- Dont take your spouses behaviour or lack of change personally.
- give your dilemma purpose and meaning by recognising who current issues reflect the past and may impinge in the future
- If you cant regulate your emotions, control your behaviour
- Stop your negative metal tapes. Stop 'awfulizing' the situation
- realise self soothing may require you break contact with your spouse.
- use out of synch time effectively. Hobbies, visiting and outside interests
- Self soothing does NOT involve self indulgence, emotional regression, or food or substance binging
- Promote yourself.

Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/17/11 12:30 PM

Okay.....I'll admit one of MY fears as I got closer and closer to the end of this book:

What if reading this book makes me see that I need to give my M another chance??? I can't do it. Why do I have to think about that????? I almost stopped reading when I got to the whole crisis crucible blah blah blah part. Because I had determined I would be open even if it meant wading back into......there. I felt physically sick with fear......but I pressed on.

And I discovered something. But H and I have been "crucibled" more than once. My response for a few of those was to back out....to avoid it because I was afraid. Then came the ultimate selfish and cruel....my A. And after that I knew that we would need to move forward THROUGH them or....not do this anymore. So I began. And H tried.....he really really tried. And then he didn't. Or maybe him differentiated is this man he is.

Either way.....I am who I am, and part of being honest in that is NOT living in denial and as a shell of myself in order to "go along to get along." We are on divergent paths, and the only way to go in the same direction is for one of us to lie.

It was sad but oddly reassuring. He is not a cold fish...he is he. I am not a selfish beeyotch. I am me. And that is okay. And all of us WILL be okay. It will suck more first....but then we will be okay.
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/17/11 02:39 PM

Quote:
Or maybe him differentiated is this man he is.


I think that is one of the consequences of differentiation. The reason it IS so scary is because it is possible that you lose the marriage. Instinctively we understand this, which is why we do EVERYTHING we can to avoid differentiating.

All of the examples in the book are of couples entering the crucible, differentiating and growing TOGETHER, but there is never a guarantee that that will be the end result. Differentiation can pull you apart as well.

Originally Posted By: pg 378
Eery spouse must decide if and when things have gone too far; this can be difficult in less extreme cases. After serious self-confrontation and effort to repair your relationship have failed, it can be an act of differentiation, integrity and sanity to divorce.


I would say your's is a 'less extreme' case, herf. There is no abuse or blatant manipulation... but your self-confrontation and integrity will not allow you to live within a passion-less marriage.

Maybe his differentiation has brought him to the point where his integrity demands he accept his lack of desire.... or perhaps you are differentiating and faced with the choice to also differentiate or to lose his marriage, he is choosing the latter. Hard to say....

Either way - I think the peace you feel and the changes you describe in your life of evidence that you are doing what is best for you.
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/17/11 08:13 PM

My differentiation is becoming a problem in my M.

Now that I find I cannot join in the emotional arguments and can only respond from reason, I am almost entirely in conflict.
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/17/11 09:20 PM

Is that a bad thing?
Posted By: Jayne241

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/17/11 09:26 PM

Maybe it will challenge Flick to grow as well?

(I have bee following, and I still want to post my comments on the book if/when I ever have more than 5 minutes...)
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/18/11 01:46 AM

Vibs - yes. It blows. I have spent most of the last 3 years making a happy fun marriage, and now we are at each other all the time. I stopped pursuing him re hugging and for a little while he initiated, now we hardly even touch, even in bed. SF has become non existent. I'm pretty sure I'm doing something wrong with the differentiation because I was not expecting this. Shoot we start an Alpha marriage course in 2 weeks and I dont want to go.

Jayne, I would love your input on the book.

I went to TPM website and nosed around the forum thee.Its not highly active so doesnt take long to read over the threads. Lots of very intelligent people with problems. Wonder if I could convince Dr S to come here and post a bit like Al Turtle, and TAM Chris have?
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/18/11 01:54 AM

That would be A-W-E-S-O-M-E.

I remember you talking about why you stopped initiating hugs....But was it because you thought you were seeking outside validation through them? I don;t necessarily think there's something wrong with initiating a hug if we need one.
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/18/11 02:05 AM

Yes, it became obvious that the hugging was outside validation for me - if he hugs me, he likes me and I am doing ok. However there was also a small factor of he knows how important touch is to me (highest EN, like super high) and also the fact that my constantly approaching him for hugs was pursuing him. Since touch is about number 20 on his list of top 10 EN's, he gives every impression of doing it to humour me.

Initially it seemed to be the right thing to do. He initiated more and I thought it was a good thing because I wasnt forcing myself on him, and letting him determine the level of hugging that was comfortable and sustainable or him.

I dont know. I have to admit I am unwell - again. Have been constantly sick of something for about 2 months now and its wearing thin. Right now I am all emotional and weepy and puking a bit too LOL.

I did note one thing. When I am at my sickest, is when I least want to differentiate. I like my sympathy seeking fusion cuddles
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/18/11 02:55 AM

I think being sick makes a difference. Being weaker physically makes us need support - that makes sense.

I was just asking because sometimes I got into the cycle with h of waiting for him to initiate, and since it wasn't on his radar, I often felt starved.
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/18/11 02:57 AM

Chapter 13 - Reaching critical mass

What happens when one spouse wants to move on, and the other won't budge?.

Marriage is made up of growth cycles (GC)and comfort cycles(CC). The role of self soothing and self confrontation correlate with these. In the growth phase self soothing is more required while self confrontation needs to be ramped up in the comfort cycle while the need for self soothing is low. The growth cycle is not about destabilising your marriage, any more than the comfort cycle is about stabilising it.

The CC of poorly differentiated couples emphasises reciprocity, soothing each others fears, and overriding concern for moment to moment security. However the dependence on other validated intimacy and borrowed functioning/reflected sense of self increases lack of intimacy, sexual boredom and gridlock. Emotional fusion causes spouses to feel easily threatened, ans likely to doge anxiety. They find the growth cycle threatening. Couple who remain in the CC until the relationship presents: divorce, loss of integrity, living death or getting into the growth cycle.

Well differentiated couples enter the CC in order to digest and integrate the lessons from the GC.The safe harbour of the CC make the GC seem more like a quest than a survival training. Other validation and other soothing occurs but they are not reliant on it.

No marriage can remain solely in the GC. Those who try burn out to fast. Time is needed for grounding and reflection. You cant be "working on your relationship" every minute.

As partners become better to self confront and self sooth, they feel less need to control each other. However in emotional fused couples, paradoxically when one spouse begins to hold onto themselves, the other feels controlled, and the tranny of the lowest common denominator resurfaces. The partner who wants to enter the GC has more control of the process because of their positioning in the system. The relationship can only remain in the CC by consensus. The partner who doesnt want to grow attempts to freeze the process by attempts to embroil the other in conflict or undermining the forward movement. Spouses would rather fight with the other than with them self.

Hallmarks of critical mass
- One partner can sense the other is changing
- partners settle down
- the tone becomes quiet
- distancer-pursuer oscillations stop
- the full picture emerges
-people stand up and take action
- partners talk straight
- blaming and criticism stop
- Anger doesnt escalate
- ultimatums are rare
- respect and empathy increase
- Spouse's do not lose hold of themselves and over react

Do's and dont's of critical mass
- Do repair the positive connections with your spouse
- Do pay attention to your spouses attempt at repair and dont take them for granted
- Do be willing to make the first move
- Pace your self so you dont burn out quickly
- Dont make commitments or deals on your way INTO critical mass
- Dont expect your partner to "be there for you'***
- Holding onto yourself doesnt mean you are right.


***another paradox. ironically poorly differentiated spouses are the most likely to demand "be there for me", but are the least countable on for reciprocity. When spouses cannot regulate their own anxiety, they are too dependant on soothing through the relationship to put their partner first in times of discord.

Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/18/11 03:03 AM

Originally Posted By: heremainsfaithful
That would be A-W-E-S-O-M-E.



I sent an email, with the url on it.

We'll see smile
Posted By: believer

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/18/11 10:43 PM

Great summary, Lil.

I wonder if people who read the book can give their idea of differentiation and being self validating.

There are some here that haven't read the book, and those are the beginning steps.
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/18/11 10:57 PM

Those have been the big things for me. Self-validation esp is.....transforming my brain.
Posted By: flowmom

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/18/11 11:07 PM

Lil, I hope you feel better soon. Everyone feels more fragile when they are sick.
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/19/11 06:04 AM

Thanx Flo.
Had some RC today and we seem to be on a better footing for it.

Chapter 14 - Sex, love and death. (Final Chapter)

Differentiation is beautiful hard, an act of spiritual grace, and is not often graceful. Schnarch feels 4 elements are prominent during the process: heroism, generosity, spirituality and lack of shame.

He discusses the 'original Siamese twins - Chang and Eng'. They were born in Siam and joined at the center of their chests but a wrist thick protrusion. They moves to the USA, married, built separate houses, and maintained separate families. They had very different personalities, interests and temperaments. They devised ways to share in the burden of work, such as creating a 2 person plow they could pull together. Despite being physically fused, they also differentiated by ruling that each was only a visitor in the others home for the 3 days they resided there. They spoke for themselves, and refused to be a 'we', by demanding to be recognised as separate individuals.

Freedom doesnt come from getting away from your partner, it comes from mastering yourself so that there is room for 2 people in your relationship. You stop trying to control or limit your spouse to ensure there is room for you. It is not the freedom to do what ever you want because it is not about being stubborn, selfish or inconsiderate. Rather it brings freedom from tranny of the lowest common denominator.

Schanarch at this point, went into detail about his beliefs on spirituality and the manifestation of the divine, which I wont comment on here.

What makes us seek greater self direction, mutuality and spirituality. Schnarch suggests Spirit surfaces as our urge to differentiate. Although many believe absence of desire is the hallmark of spiritual enlightenment, desire could fuel spiritual and emotional development.

Some women (and men) with body embarrassment issues may feel that severe modesty equals spirituality. However an omnipresent being can see us everywhere, no matter where we hide, and can see our 'nakedness' whether we are clothed or not.

Desire out of fullness for your spouse, means accepting 'wanting to want.'Intentionality and free will are central ingredients for consciously undertaken desire which is freely chosen. This desire doesnt become satiated with time, but grows. Marital commitment to monogamy becomes a promise to ones self. Differentiated spouses
Quote:
dont spend much time monitoring the alternative, and have accepted the path their life has taken, and will take. They stop seeing attractive people they meet as "someone I could have/should have married" It becomes easier to sooth the loss of paths not taken and people not tasted.


As people become more differentiated, thy may begin to morn the old them they are losing, as the new them is born. Many people who seek holding onto themselves, dont want to give anything up, and they want the path clearly mapped and safe to travel. Several religious/spiritual writings imply that
Quote:
Sin isnt about unconfined desire - its our refusal to desire and grow, our refusal to believe in ourselves, and our willingness to live below our potential. Sin is our "not wanting to want"
A suggestion is made that the answer to sin is not self denial but allowing ourselves to desire more fully.
Originally Posted By: The Talmud (Rabbi Arika)
We will have to account to God for all the good things our eyes beheld, but which we refused to enjoy


Loving is not for the faint of heart and relationships are an inevitable source of pain. Its not the bad marriage that are hard to bear, but the good marriages. A profoundly good marriage means the vulnerability of having more to loose. The end result of a marriage is one spouse having to bury a beloved, irreplaceable friend. Lack of differentiation means spouses hope to beat the system by dying first. The attitude is "you take the hit, better you than me". Having strength to love on life's terms allows you to say
Quote:
"you go first. I dont want you to die but you are entitled to your own life and your own death. Go easily. Dont worry. I'll take care of myself somehow.Holding onto my self with you has made me strong enough to do that"


Nobody is ready for marriage, being married makes you ready for marriage.
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/22/11 01:17 AM

No body with anything to add???
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/22/11 01:33 AM

I got some - sorry it has been a crazy busy weekend. I wanna post a bit on differentiation and self-soothing.

Hoping to post tomorrow.
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/25/11 12:53 AM

Many welcomes to Dr David, and thank you for coming to Marriage Advocates

thumbsup
Posted By: Chrysalis

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/25/11 05:47 AM

Wow! Just Wow!
(reaching for my Kindle copy of Intimacy and Desire....)
Posted By: believer

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/25/11 04:08 PM

I wish that Passionate Marriage was available on Kindle.

Best book I've read in a long time.
Posted By: LovingAnyway

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/25/11 05:14 PM

Thank you, Lil, for inviting Dr.David. I had the nice experience of sharing with DH this news...and his reaction was excitement. Which is really cool to see. And when I said, "He's the author of the book we're reading, Intimacy and Desire, and he's in our area, too", then DH got excited about continuing reading the book together.

Got a dose of joy in that.

Sooooo...when we do begin I & D with the book club, are we going to continue on the same thread, make a new one (also titled book club) or what? Inquiring minds really want to know.

Thank you for the motivation injection - that's to everyone on this thread, too.

LA
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/25/11 05:19 PM

I would love to do another book club - I thought this was an excellent experience. I was thinking of taking a week or two off before starting another round of judging to pick a new book - unless everyone really wants to do Intimacy and Desire (which I am perfectly ok with!) In that case we can look at starting up again in a few weeks.

Looking at my schedule I think I may be able to head it up again - hopefully my training will be winding down by then.

What say y'all?
Posted By: LovingAnyway

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/25/11 05:39 PM

Yes, please!

(Hope you get well trained and wound down.)

LA
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/25/11 05:40 PM

I enjoyed this, however I would find it difficult to do another book this intense, until around Christmas time sorry.

I could maybe do one at the level of 5LL or similar
Posted By: believer

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/25/11 06:24 PM

I'll read anything.
Posted By: Squeaky Tree

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/25/11 07:18 PM

Would love to. But I don't think we would reach POJA on me buying another book. frown (and I haven't got the last one yet)
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/26/11 12:45 AM

Tell ya what, ST....If you PM me your addy, I'll pay it forward and send you whatever the book is...since someone sent me mine smile

I'll read anything too.
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/29/11 12:57 AM

So...

are we finished with the Passionate Marriage, or are there any further comments/thoughts/insights?
Posted By: Vibrissa

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/29/11 01:56 AM

I think so. I had more that I wanted to post - but now I can't remember what that is... been sick this weekend and so my brain is bleh.
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/29/11 02:21 AM

Honestly.....I'm still...amazed at how much of a difference this has made in my thinking when I'm not even having sex - baha! But really, This book was the topic at the perfect time in my life.
Posted By: LovingAnyway

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/29/11 05:53 PM

Oh, Vibrissa...Blech! I say to bleh brains.

Hope you're feeling better soon.

LA
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/29/11 06:11 PM

LA makes me frequently giggle
Posted By: LovingAnyway

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/29/11 07:29 PM

GMTA, Herf.

smile

LA
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/30/11 01:39 AM

I hope you get better soon too Vibs.

Overall I have had mixed results with the book. I saw some great progress in some areas, some big steps backwards in other areas. Having said that H is now on AD's so that might be a factor.

I still dont get hugged as much as I want, but I am liking myself more, and better, these days.
Posted By: MariaK

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 08/30/11 07:49 AM

lildoggie,
it is amazing that Dr. Schnarch joined here! Thanks and WELCOME Dr. DAVID!!!

(Maybe he can be convinced to have PM translated into Greek!)
Maria

Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 09/01/11 07:53 AM

Originally Posted By: Vibrissa
Quote:
I gots to find me some ladies like you all!!!


Seriously gonna become a broken record - but read Passionate Marriage... it will change your life.

Women likeLOVE sex... if they don't want sex, often it's because it isn't worth wanting.

Bit of something I learned from PM that I felt rang true: We naturally settle for 'good enough' sex - we shoot for the lowest possible level of acceptable (read: just getting an orgasm if that) that we don't develop the skills to have GREAT sex - and after a while... life piles up... conflict takes its toll and you just don't WANT it anymore, because the lowest common denominator version of sexuality just isn't worth wanting.


well shinola, I have suddenly discovered this is true. The tireder I get the more I am likely to take the easy way out.How do you get around this when sleep is becoming a major issue for you?
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 09/01/11 01:22 PM

I could be completely wrong here....but I think that couples probably do go through "slump times" during times of big changes or extreme stress. I mean....does anyone really expect WSS to be the top priority for the first few months after a baby is born? Lil, you all have just become parents of a little one again, you have recently gone back to work, it's COLD down there right now.....You might have to cut yourself some temporary slack.

I love sex, and honestly, I would love to live in a world where it happened every day. I really would. But if my life was in the midst of big changes and schedule adaptations and all that....I would let myself off the hook just a bit from being 100% on all the time. At least temporarily.
Posted By: Coach

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 09/07/11 07:54 PM

What's the difference between differentiation and wanting my LLs and ENs met? Is it how I react when they don't get met? When does it crossover from healthy to enmeshment?
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 09/07/11 08:04 PM



The short answer:

Differentiation means that you accept that you have EN's, and that you expect your spouse to fill them, but you equally accept they may not do so. Either way, their willingness is unrelated to you as a person, and says more about them as a person.

The long answer:

Differentiation is a somewhat awkward-feeling concept in psychology, unfamiliar to the American psyche; we know independence, and we know dependence, but we really don't "get" any other models of relating to one another. Defined by David Schnarch, Ph.D., in Passionate Marriage, "Differentiation is your ability to maintain your sense of self when you are emotionally and/or physically close to others," page 56.

While our current culture would say that "all perspectives are equal and valid," that does not mean that all perspectives are true. Think about the last time you were driving on the freeway and another driver cut you off. You probably got mad, and maybe cursed at that person about what a jerk they are. You probably felt personally slighted. Is your perspective that you were personally slighted actually true? Well, objectively speaking, the other driver had no idea who you are--your name, address, personality, religious affiliation, politics--so no, this wasn't a personal slight. In all likelihood, the jerk who cut you off wasn't paying attention to you at all, but rather was arguing on a cell phone with their spouse, fuming over a conversation with their boss, or otherwise upset about some situation in his/her own life. The act of cutting you off was only personal insofar as it was about the jerk. The wrong done to you had nothing to do with you, and everything to do with that other person.

I took from several different sources to answer this smile

Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 09/07/11 08:07 PM

Quote:
I believe that in humans a dialectic tension exists between the desire for connection/closeness and the push towards individual development and self fulfillment. I believe that effective couples therapy takes place when the therapist understands the importance of both attachment and differentiation and is able to integrate both types of interventions into the therapeutic process.

For many couples attachment occurs easily at the beginning, but sustaining it is difficult.

I use a developmental model of primary relationships in which an effective differentiation stage is essential to maintain the growth and vitality of the relationship, but it is often perceived by partners as rejection/abandonment. In fact, early differentiation often stalls and partners regress into hostile dependent or conflict-avoidant, stuck relationships. In American culture our images of marriage are often stifling and contain beliefs that are not supportive of an interdependent relationship containing two whole partners.

Discussion:
A heated discussion then ensued about the meaning of differentiation. It was clear that many participants believed differentiation to be a type of pseudo-independent autonomy that precluded any kind of dependence on the partner.

I went on to define differentiation as, "the active, ongoing
process of defining self, expressing and activating self,
revealing self, clarifying boundaries, and managing the anxiety that comes from risking either more intimacy or potential separation."

Differentiation evolves as partners:
1. Internally self reflect and identify their own thoughts,
feelings, wants and desires
2. Develop an increasing ability to express and expose
congruently more of who they are as individuals (without blame)
3. Develop an awareness and acceptance of the other partner as separate and different from themselves
4. Increase their ability to listen, hear and respond ffectively to differences with clear boundaries
5. Create an environment in the relationship that supports
desired changes

When partners in marriage are in the stage of early differentiation, they can appear indifferent or rejecting. They will frequently push their own desires at the expense of what the other wants.

Here is a case example of failed differentiation in a couple
with failed therapy as well.

The couple Jan and Jim lived together very happily for 6 years until the time when he wanted to get married and have a child. She was happy to marry but was clear she did not want any more children. She had single-parented a child from a teenage pregnancy, and now she was enjoying her freedom.

Jim always wanted children and he insisted children were a condition for marriage. She did not want a child because she wanted freedom to develop herself. Their relationship became very tense and they sought therapy.

Their therapist helped them realize how strong their connection was to each other. This therapist was unable to help them tolerate having some excruciatingly difficult differentiation-based discussions.

Jan was angry and believed she "wasn't enough for him." She
believed he was rejecting her and choosing children over her. Jim felt that her not having his child was a rejection of him.

Having the necessary discussions would have required enduring some very tense therapy sessions. These sessions would have been difficult for both partners and the therapist. If they had been able to discuss these difficult issues, they would have talked about Jan's taking Jim's drive to father a child less personally. They would have explored why he was so compelled to have a child and how he would translate his intense desire to father a child into the daily care of the child. Instead they avoided these discussions and had the child and her worst fears came to pass. He worked and traveled a lot and she was essentially single parenting again.

Their relationship deteriorated as she grew angry and vengeful. He became accommodating with the child and withdrawn with her.

Originally this couple loved each other and had a strong, secure attachment. By the time they came to me their differentiation had failed and enormous damage had been done. When differentiation is not handled well, it results in hostility, passive-aggressive behavior, unnecessary pain, potential marital depression, fall-out onto kids and possible divorce.

I believe that differentiation is crucial for partners to avoid compromising core values and beliefs, to work effectively with conflict/differences, to negotiate effectively, and to develop ongoing intimacy in a loving relationship.

The lower the level of self differentiation, the more likely one partner will:
1. Set other partner up to take opposite side of ambivalence
2. Project old feelings and experiences onto the other
3. Repeat negative transferences over and over
4. Stall out quickly in important negotiations

In the lively discussion that followed, it became increasingly clear to me that there is still much confusion in the field and that strong, independent stances by one partner without regard for the other are viewed by many as differentiation. Of course, this is not differentiation. Differentiation is only strengthened in an interpersonal context, when a partner is able to hold two realities--that of self and other. At times doing this means facing tension.

Original here
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 09/07/11 08:14 PM

Actually this is an interesting topic that seems to not have a lot of info about it on line that I can see. I found this abstract from an article, but I am reluctant to pay for it in entirety smile

Quote:
Differentiation of self, need fulfillment, and psychological well-being in married men.
Bohlander RW.
Source

Department of Psychology, Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766, USA.
Abstract

The contributions of differentiation of self and need fulfillment within the marital relationship to the experience of psychological well-being were examined in a sample of 95 married men. Differentiation of self, interactional-emotional need fulfillment, and sexual need fulfillment were each associated with higher scores on psychological well-being. Perceived interactional-emotional need fulfillment was identified as the most important predictor of well-being, followed by differentiation of self, and then perceived sexual need fulfillment. Regression analysis indicated that collectively these variables accounted for a significant proportion (27%) of the variance in well-being within the sample. Men who perceived their marital partners to be meeting their interactional, emotional, and sexual needs and who are able to maintain interdependent relationships with their partners were more likely to experience positive mental health. The results point to the importance of attending to issues of self-differentiation and perceived need fulfillment within the context of the marital relationship to facilitate psychological health in men.


There were a few other somewhat related things, but seemed to relate to mental health, rather than marriage specifically.
Posted By: Coach

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 09/07/11 08:42 PM

Quote:
Men who perceived their marital partners to be meeting their interactional, emotional, and sexual needs and who are able to maintain interdependent relationships with their partners were more likely to experience positive mental health.


No kidding.

This - marital partners to be meeting their interactional, emotional, and sexual needs leads to this - maintain interdependent relationships with their partners were more likely to experience positive mental health.

Women are attracted to the formula working the other way.

When I "need" my wife the most is when I am down, tired, rattled, or unsure of the way. I need the connection and energy that I can only get from her. This cool drink from her energizes, focuses and relaxes me and helps me get back on "my" way. However when I am down, tired, rattled and unsure it triggers her lizard and is a attraction killer.

I want to change this loop.
Posted By: LovingAnyway

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 09/07/11 10:15 PM

Coach,

I think the important word is "Men who perceive."

If you choose to perceive your wife as rejecting you, ignoring you when you feel down, putting more on you when you feel tired, or demanding that you know the way...then you'll feel even more disconnection from her.

She would still be interactional, emotional and might even be having sex with you. You might not experience her as meeting your ENs when you want her to and in the way you want her to...

Your perception matters. And it's really tough to have the clarity and energy when you're down to know that.

Your statement of women being attracted to the formula working the other way cuts out half of why humans fall in love with their spouse...

because they act from love. Part of feeling in love is being in love with ourselves. You don't get a say in that, Coach...my DH is sexier to me also as a result of my acts from love to meet his ENs...not only his response. Part of this has sustained me through times of great distance, withdrawal and crisis.

I'm attracted to the way my DH asks for what he wants from me...I believe I understand the cool drink you're speaking of. I like to drink and be the drink, at different times. He can be fearful and still attractive at times. It's when he's consistently fearful, consistently lost--the duration when I lose my attraction for him.

Takes a few months...not one night, one rejection, one week.

It's not an on-off thing, depending on his response.

Half of it is mine, and mine alone.

But then, I don't look at him as my sole security...when he's rattled my world is rattled. When he's rattled, I'm affected...not undone. We are a safe harbor for the marriage...and for ourselves. Maybe change the loop by the degree take your beliefs to.

My lizard can be riled, and it's my job to sooth it (it's mine), get into my adult brain, pre-frontal cortex, and act from love, anyway.

Now that's attractive to me!
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 09/08/11 01:50 AM

Quote:
When I "need" my wife the most is when I am down, tired, rattled, or unsure of the way. I need the connection and energy that I can only get from her. This cool drink from her energizes, focuses and relaxes me and helps me get back on "my" way. However when I am down, tired, rattled and unsure it triggers her lizard and is a attraction killer.


Just reading that made my lizard cry.....not for the reason you might think. I am the same way.....when I need reassurance/the cold drink/ etc the most....is when I feel the least attractive. I still haven't figured out the loop. I can tell when I am starting to go into need mode, and it freaks me out because experience tells me that need repels the very thing I need. That when I could care less and am lots of fun, I am attractive.......but when I NEED.....run away!

Whoever finds the secret formula for that will be a millionaire. Because I am just not wired to do aloof 24/7. When I am aloof I am not invested, which means I am not knowing, being known, or really caring all that much. And I don;t see much point in investing a lot of energy where I just don't care. However, once I start caring......there will be times when I need. That's just how I roll.
Posted By: Chrysalis

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 09/08/11 08:25 PM

hmmmm. I am about 25% through Intimacy and Desire. Very good read. I am starting to notice a dynamic of anxiety offloading behaviors in all kinds of relationships.

Why does a friend demand lots of conversation from me when I feel quiet? Because she is trying--- not very well--- to deal with her own anxiety. But-- ta da ! As the friend who desires conversation less, I am in control of how much conversation there is. (and correspondingly, she desires quiet less, so she is in control of how much quiet there is!)

The trick is not taking on the anxiety, but stopping and calming myself.

HUGE.

And then I started to recognize that a lot of my "need" feelings in marriage are about anxiety, not about need. Disequilibrium. Stop, breathe, don't offload my own anxiety on to my husband.

Oh.
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 09/08/11 09:57 PM

Quote:
And then I started to recognize that a lot of my "need" feelings in marriage are about anxiety, not about need.


This gets copied and pasted in the "WOAH!" quote file in Word because that just described me to a t. Wow.
Posted By: NewEveryDay

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 09/11/11 02:34 PM

Lil so what was the answer for the couple where one wanted a child and the other didn't? Did they find an answer they both liked?
Posted By: flowmom

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 09/11/11 08:38 PM

Originally Posted By: Coach
However when I am down, tired, rattled and unsure it triggers her lizard and is a attraction killer.
What is she telling herself about you and the situation? How has meeting your ENs in situations like this worked for her in the past?
Posted By: Squeaky Tree

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 09/25/11 07:35 PM

My book has arrived!!!!

Now I can read it with all of your foot notes. Thank you!
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 09/25/11 08:26 PM

Originally Posted By: NewEveryDay
Lil so what was the answer for the couple where one wanted a child and the other didn't? Did they find an answer they both liked?


I'm not sure about 'liking' but the conclusion was since the H did NOT want a child, and the W DID want a child, contraception would be the H's responsibility.

After a few months, the H came to a point where he was willing to have a child. I suspect because the responsibility was a bit of a bother. BTW the couple was the author and his W.
Posted By: poet

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 10/16/11 12:07 AM

I'm just putting my sig on this thread so I can find it again when I want to add something.
Posted By: Squeaky Tree

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 10/18/11 12:37 PM

I'm finding this really hard to read. I find myself not wanting to read it. I haven't got far past the first chapter. It's a bit TMI for me, I don't like it.....not the me I used to be who would have been turned on by it.

I guess it makes me feel very inadequate and scared. I feel that I am going to fail.

I'm going to read back through the discussion here and hope that I can find a bit that I am more comfortable with.

To avoid TJ have copied this post elsewhere
Posted By: Lil

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 10/18/11 03:17 PM

I struggled the first time I read it and only got through a third of it. This time I pushed past the initial section and found it became less about sexual acts that seemed a touch abhorrent to me, and became more about self validation, and giving myself rather than my body, to the relationship.
Posted By: Squeaky Tree

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 10/18/11 03:19 PM

Thanks Lil, i'll keep plodding
Posted By: Jayne241

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 10/18/11 03:23 PM

staytogether, don't worry, I'm plodding along too. The first 3-4 chapters took so long for me. I'm in chapter 4 or 5 right now, and won't have time to read again until after Halloween.

I have lots of thoughts, just no time to put them together in a thoughtful coherent post!
Posted By: poet

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 10/18/11 07:20 PM

Originally Posted By: staytogether
I'm finding this really hard to read. I find myself not wanting to read it. I haven't got far past the first chapter. It's a bit TMI for me, I don't like it.....not the me I used to be who would have been turned on by it.


Dear Stay,

I'm with you about the first chapter, since that's the only one I've read so far. And, that was three-or-so years ago. I found it to be extremely dense and hard to understand, much less easy to agree with. I did find it fascinating, however, and that is why I wanted to continue.

I plan to keep reading, or perhaps even going back and reading the first chapter again, since Jayne and Lil have so graciously agreed to go along with me/us slowpokes. smile

Take care,
Talk soon~
Posted By: Chani

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 10/18/11 07:38 PM

I'm poking my head in here because I want to be able to find this thread later.
Just ignore me for now, ya'll. Think of me as the potted plant in the corner.
Posted By: Jayne241

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 10/18/11 09:33 PM

Chani, too late - I see you!!!! And glad to see you, too!

Hmm. Interesting. Unless I try really hard, my computer spells your name "Chai." I hope you'll forgive me if I call you that sometime.

I'm glad people are starting to congregate here again!
Posted By: herfuturesbright

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 10/19/11 01:26 AM

I am going back to this a bit right now....just in my mind for now. Back to the idea of differentiation and self-soothing. Bottom line, because of the way my family dynamics were and because of the way I have conducted prior relationships....that is going to be my "repeated lesson" until it sticks. My comfort zone is to NOT be as well-differentiated as I should be. To crave that soothing outside myself. You don't rewire 40+ years with a few weeks of reading. smile
Posted By: Ace

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 10/23/11 04:53 AM

Just made my first Amazon order with a gift card. Too easy.

We'll join in when our copy arrives. Well, uh....H will read with me but I'll probably be the only one posting.

RHW mentioned this book years ago so I'm excited to finally get it.

Thanks,
Ace
Posted By: Squeaky Tree

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 10/24/11 04:58 PM

I'm up to chapter 3 now. I've got over the yucky bit and have enjoyed the section on differentiation. Recognising that actually in many areas we're ok and being able to see where our starting point is. Both of our families are not well differentiated and as the book says is likely, oppositely so - his family separating and mine unable to move without checking it through with all the other hundred family members.

We have certainly progressed.

How are you getting on poet?
Posted By: Ace

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 10/29/11 04:29 AM

Originally Posted By: staytogether
I've got over the yucky bit and have enjoyed the section on differentiation.


Yucky bit????

I just got my copy and read the dust jacket and table of contents. Not sure if I want to go much further if there are "yucky bits." crazy

Ace
Posted By: Squeaky Tree

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 10/29/11 12:17 PM

Repetition about her rejecting herself because she will taste him but not herself.

Enjoy!!!
Posted By: Chani

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 10/29/11 06:03 PM

I just got my copy today. Hopefully, I can read up to Chapter 4 by the end of this weekend.
Posted By: Chani

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 10/31/11 02:26 AM

I noticed that a certain very popular and active member of MB recommended this book to a new poster there. laugh

I finished the introduction and first two chapters. This book is not as simplistic as I thought it would be so I was pleasantly surprised. However, the author is wordy and repetitive.

Posted By: Jayne241

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 10/31/11 06:15 AM

Originally Posted By: Chani
I noticed that a certain very popular and active member of MB recommended this book to a new poster there. laugh


But but but... it wasn't written by the Good Doctor! Will they get banned? Will they end up here?
Posted By: Jayne241

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 10/31/11 06:18 AM

Originally Posted By: Chani

I finished the introduction and first two chapters. This book is not as simplistic as I thought it would be so I was pleasantly surprised. However, the author is wordy and repetitive.



This book makes some other books look like kindergarden, IMHO.

I had to restart it a couple of times. I won't have any chance to get back into it for another week or two, I hope I don't have to restart it again. Last time I picked it up, I was in chapter 4 or 5 I think.

I hope to join the discussion here soon... I've been saying that for awhile now...
Posted By: Chani

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 11/22/11 08:26 PM

This is not an easy book to read. The writing is dense almost textbook like at times. I keep reading certain sections over again to grasp the concepts. While there's good information here, this is not a straightforward book.
However, I'm going to keep plodding along until I finish it. *Scarlett O'Hara fist pump into the air*
Posted By: flowmom

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 11/22/11 09:32 PM

I agree - that is why I always recommend Intimacy and Desire instead.
Posted By: Chani

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 11/22/11 09:43 PM

Huh, haven't heard of that one. Now I'll have to find that book too.
Posted By: Squeaky Tree

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 11/23/11 01:47 PM

Hmmmm, my attitude to it is all wrong.....I tend to put it down when I am liking my H less.

Need to read it for me!!!!
Posted By: believer

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 02/20/13 02:06 AM

Here's a conversation with Schnarch that explains some of his thoughts -

A Conversation with Dave Schnarch about Resurrecting Sex
This article originally appeared in the New Zealand Herald on July 20, 2002.
You will hear me use the word marriage a lot, he says. "Working with sexuality in committed relationships is a major fascination for me. But I only use 'marriage' as a form of shorthand. The principles apply equally to newly formed couples, singles and golden-anniversary marriages."

In the world of sex-perts this man has been given the persona of a deity for his three ground breaking books, Constructing The Sexual Crucible, Passionate Marriage and Resurrecting Sex and for his paradigm-smashing theories developed from 20 years of conducting seminars on sexual matters and unraveling the truth for struggling couples. In some circles he is hailed as the best thing since William Masters and Virginia Johnson and, the blurb says, he has inspired audiences in many countries through his books and workshops.

When I ask him how many copies of Passionate Marriage have sold he is dismissive: "I've no idea but I know it's had 25 reprints."

That's any publishers' dream. So what makes this man's work so effective? "What you hear or read from me you won't have come across before," he says. "My methods show couples how to turn the worst sexual disaster into growth and connection and the promise of the best sex in their lives."

He has my complete attention.

His first paradigm-smashing premise is that sexual problems are normal. They are an inherent part of a relationship. Everybody has them sometime and they happen for a purpose. Healthy people have sexual difficulties to help them resolve their personal and relationship issues and grow as human beings."

But surely life behind two sex-perts' bedroom curtains is sizzling and seamless? "Not at all," he says. "I have had almost every problem you can think of at one time or another. Any one who has ever been in a committed relationship knows that its not 'happily every after'. Many therapists say 'you have to work on your marriage.' I say stop working on your marriage. Let your marriage work on you. Your marriage is there to teach you lessons. The biggest problem is that you just don't want to learn them."

Resurrecting your sexual relationship, Schnarch continues, "isn't as simple as learning new touch techniques, improving your communication skills or rescheduling your time priorities. It involves growing. A sexual problem is not just about genitals that won't do as their told. It involves two people with very complex feelings about themselves, each other and the world. Context is everything. Your sex life shapes your relationship and your relationship shapes your sex life. If you have a sex problem, you have to get your relationship to a state that supports good sexual functioning."

According to Schnarch one of the things that makes us quintessentially human is our ability to be intimate, which in turn gives meaning to sex. But people can become so adept at hiding, even from themselves, that a couple can live side by side, do what society tells them to do, don't divorce, raise their children and pay their taxes - and they're living next to a stranger.

That's one reason why people stop having sex, he says. "It's not that they are afraid of intimacy, but there is so little intimacy available to them that the sex is not worth having."

In Resurrecting Sex Schnarch states that solving sexual dysfunctions involves modifying the three components of total stimulation: first is body responsiveness. Response thresholds differ greatly, but for you to have "normal" sexual function, sensation must be transmitted from a remote part of your body to your spine and brain and then back to your genitals. Your genitals have a complex biochemistry all their own that must be intact. Anything that interferes with this process reduces your sexual responsiveness.

Next is physical stimulation, which involves the amount and quality of sensory input you receive during sex. However it's not as simple as how many places you're touched, or how fast or how long or how hard. A setting that is comfortable, pleasant smelling and a joy to the eye works better than rumpled bed sheets and smelly socks.

The final component comprises emotions, thoughts and feelings. These can so profoundly impact your sexual function that you might swear you have a serious physical problem when none exists. "Some people have come to see me, mistakenly reporting they feel ' absolutely nothing' or have ' absolutely no response' during sex," says Schnarch.

I get to see so much unhappiness in committed relationships. I get to see people who can't even touch each other anymore, who feel totally inadequate, or who are falling over each other to measure up and failing. I have to tell you that there are many people in pretty horrible relationships who would do things differently if only they knew what to do.

And doing things differently is what Schnarch says he is all about.

He reiterates: "My stuff is not about pole vaulting into bed or having better erections or orgasms or a better roll in the hay. I don't isolate any part of the actual workout as the problem but look at what happens in the bedroom as a result of what is happening in the relationship."

This is not so ground breaking in itself but Schnarch's approaches to therapy tend to turn existing theories upside down.

One of the old ways was to try and improve couples' communication, and while there is some validity in that, it often doesn't work because the causes of the problem are much more complex than they first appear. You know the old thing about 'ask for what you want (in bed)' and there was the expectation that he or she was just dying to give it to you. Well, there is a lot of withholding in relationships for all sorts of reasons and sex is a perfect place for withholding. Your partner knows what you want all right but pretends that he/she doesn't. So 'why' that is happening is what you have to unravel.

You see, most people think it's the absence rather then the presence of a connection that makes sex and marriage grind to a halt. But the most common picture I see is what I call emotional fusion, when partners become enmeshed in a kind of gridlock - like Siamese twins - fused at the hip, passing anxiety, validation of identity and lack of self-worth back and forth between each other. That type of relationship can soon become a cesspit of contention, alienation and resentment. Arguments are repeated over and over and go nowhere, and left unraveled the situation will most likely end up in divorce for irreconcilable differences.

It's not a pretty picture but, he says, "gridlock is actually the people-growing machinery of marriage in its early stages. It's when the comfort-safety cycle of a relationship ends and you and your partner are into the growth cycle."

Now comes one of the paradoxes, says Schnarch, "Intimacy is the key to great sex but the path to intimacy is a process I call differentiation - that means keeping hold of your individuality."

Schnarch pauses with his hand in the air to let me absorb this.

Uh huh. I can feel myself looking blank.

That is the cornerstone of my therapy, he goes on. "You see, whatever your sexual situation is, or is not, it is a picture of who you are and you have to play hard ball with yourself to see the picture. It takes work and courage to figure yourself out."

The less differentiated partners are, the more likely it is that their sex life will disintegrate, their marriage will bog down and it will require a crisis or a therapist to get them through their emotional log jams.

Intimate connection with a partner first requires solid connection with yourself. Even though it sounds ironic, it is the development of your own identity -an internal sense of self that you value, maintain and live by - that will lead you to greater sexual pleasure and intimacy. Giving up your individuality to be together is as defeating in the long run as giving up you relationship to maintain your individuality.

This sounds good, but I have to dig deeper to find out exactly what he means.

I also call it 'holding on to yourself', says Schnarch, "and it comprises a four-pronged tool: the art of holding to your values in the face of opposition from your partner; the ability to sooth yourself in the face of hurt and anxiety; to stay non-reactive when you partner is anxious or provocative; and to tolerate pain for growth."

Another important influence on the way we carry on in the bedroom, he says, has to do with the attitudes and expectations instilled in us by society and family. If you look at sexual desire, for instance; for a long time Western people's self-worth was measured by their ability to destroy their sexual desire with their mind. In the last three decades that view has reversed and now we've gone beyond making it okay to want sex to the point where we're supposed to want it (unless you are excused for a medical or mental condition).

When I was training as a sex therapist, says Schnarch, "I was taught that low desire was a characteristic of people who were poor candidates for treatment. Two decades later therapists see low desire as treatable disorder - and in some cases a lucrative industry."

What is often not pointed out is that desire is not necessarily something that occurs naturally. Our thinking ability modulates desire to a large extent and so does they way we attribute meaning to sex. If that sounds complex, it's because it is.

http://crucibletherapy.com/conversation-dave-schnarch-about-resurrecting-sex
Posted By: right here waiting

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 02/20/13 05:25 AM

This is great, b! I've just emailed it to myself to discuss with DH.
Posted By: believer

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 03/12/13 01:37 AM

I found this article today by Schnarch. I was thinking about him because of the whole hugging thing. I'm interested in hearing from those of you who have tried it.

It's been awhile since I read "Passionate Marriage", about 20 months. However I've adopted the hug until you are relaxed advice. Tonight I praised our 7 year old and she threw herself into my arms and gave me a looong hug.

Passionate Marriage: Forever an Oxymoron?

By David Schnarch, Ph. D.

Betty, a designer in a high-powered advertising firm, and Donald, a college professor bucking for tenure, had been married for 15 years. They spent the first 10 minutes in my office invoking the standard litany of our times as an explanation for their lousy sex life--they were both just too busy. Not that this focus precluded blaming each other for their difficulties.

Betty gets home from work so late that we barely see each other anymore, let alone have sex, said Donald resentfully. "We're collaborators in child raising and mortgage paying, but we're hardly lovers anymore. I've taken over a lot of the household chores, but she often doesn't get home until 9 p.m.--and most nights, she says she's just 'too tired' for sex."

Betty sighed in exasperation. "Sometimes I think Donald wants me to leap from the front door to the bedroom and take care of him," she said. "But I'm being swallowed up by a sea of obligations--my boss, the kids, the house, the dog, Donald, everybody wants a big chunk of me. Right now, I feel there's nothing left of me for me, let alone for him. He just doesn't get it that I need more time for myself before I'm interested in sex."

I asked them to be specific about how the stress from their very demanding lives revealed itself in bed--exactly what happened, and in what order, when they had sex. Several moments of awkward silence and a number of false starts ensued before another, much more intimate, level of their marital landscape revealed itself.

Betty looked hard at Donald, then at me. "The fact of the matter is, he doesn't even know how to kiss me!" she said grimly.

How would you know? It's been so long since you let me kiss you! hissed Donald.

When I asked them to describe their foreplay, Betty looked embarrassed and Donald sounded frustrated. "During sex, she turns her face to the side, and I end up kissing her cheek. She won't kiss me on the mouth. I think she just wants to get sex over with as fast as possible. Not that we have much sex." Betty shook her head in distaste. "He always just rams his tongue halfway down my throat--I feel like I can't breathe. Besides, why would I want to kiss him when I can't even talk to him! We don't communicate at all."

Over the years, I've worked with many couples who complain bitterly that the other kisses--or touches, fondles, caresses, strokes--the "wrong" way. I used to take these complaints at face value, trying to help the couple solve their problems through various forms of marital bargaining and forbearance--listen empathically, give a little to get a little, do something for me and I'll do something for you--teach them the finer points of sexual technique and send them home with detailed prescriptions (which they usually didn't follow) until I realized that their sexual dissatisfactions did not stem from ignorance, ineptitude or a "failure to communicate." On the contrary, "communicating" is exactly what Donald and Betty were already doing very well, only neither much liked the "message" the other was sending. The way this couple kissed each other, indeed their "vocabulary" of foreplay, constituted a very rich and purposeful dialogue, replete with symbolic meanings. Through this finely nuanced, but unmistakable language, both partners expressed their feelings about themselves and each other and negotiated what the entire sexual encounter would be like--the degree and quality of eroticism, connection and intimacy, or their virtual absence.

Donald and Betty had tried marital therapy before, but their therapist had taken the usual approach of dealing with each complaint individually--job demands, parenting responsibilities, housework division and sexual difficulties--as if they were all separate but equal situational problems. Typically, the clinician had tried to help Donald and Betty resolve their difficulties through a skill-building course on compromise, setting priorities, time management and "mirroring" each other for mutual validation, acceptance and, of course, better communication. The net result of all this work was that they felt even worse than before, even more incompetent, inadequate and neurotic, when sex didn't improve.

Knowing that Betty and Donald were most certainly communicating something via their gridlocked sexual styles, I asked them, "Even if you are not talking, what do you think you might actually be 'saying' to each other when you kiss?" After a minute, Donald said resentfully, "She's telling me I'm inadequate, that I'm not a good lover, I can't make her happy and she doesn't me anyway." Betty defensively countered, "He's saying he wants me to do everything exactly his way and if I don't just cave in, he'll go ahead and do what he likes, whether I like it or not!" I asked her why she was willing to have intercourse at all if she didn't even want to kiss him. "Because he is such a sullen pain in the ass if I don't have sex, " Betty replied without hesitation. "Besides, I like having orgasms."

Donald and Betty perfectly illustrated the almost universal, but widely unrecognized, reality that sex does not merely constitute "part" of a relationship, but literally and metaphorically embodies the depth and quality of the couple's entire emotional connection. We think of foreplay as a way couples establish connection, but more often it's a means of establishing disconnection. Betty was a living rebuttal of the common gender stereotype that all women always want more foreplay; she cut it short so they could get sex done with as quickly as possible--and Donald understood. Donald returned the compliment by "telling" Betty he knew she didn't like him much, but he was going to get something out of her anyway--with or without her presence, so to speak.

Clearly, foreplay for this couple was not simply a mechanical technique for arousal, amenable to the engineering, skill-building approach still dictated by popular sex manuals. Nor were they likely to improve sex just by being more "open" with each other, "asking for what they wanted"--another popular remedy in self-help guides and among marital therapists--as if they weren't already "telling" each other what each did and did not want, and what each was or was not willing to give. Instead of trying to spackle over these normal and typical "dysfunctional" sexual patterns with a heavy coat of how-to lessons, I have learned that it makes much more sense to help the couple analyze their behavior, to look for the meaning of what they were already doing before they focused on changing the mechanics.

Rather than "work on their relationship" as if it were some sort of hobby or home-building project, Betty and Donald, like every other couple I have seen, needed to understand that what they did in bed was a remarkably salient and authentic expression of themselves and their feeling for each other. The nuances of their kissing style may have seemed trivial compared to the screaming fights they had about money or the long days of injured silence, but in fact it was an open window into their deepest human experience--who they were as people, what they really felt about each other, how much intimacy they were willing to risk with each other and how much growing up they still had to do.

As in any elaborate and nuanced language, the small details of sex carry a wealth of meaning, so while Donald and Betty were surprised that I focused on a "little thing" like kissing, rather than the main event--frequency of intercourse, for example--they were startled to find how truly revealing it was, about their personal histories as well as their marriage. I told Betty I thought she had probably come from an intrusive and dominating family that never dealt openly or successfully with anxiety and conflict. "So now, you have a hard time using your mouth to tell Donald not to be so overbearing, rather than turning it away to keep him from getting inside it. You've become very good at taking evasive action to avoid being overwhelmed," I said. "You're right about my family," Betty said softly, "we kids didn't have any privacy or freedom in my family, and we were never allowed to complain openly about anything--just do what we were told, and keep our mouths shut."

Like grains of sand

funneling toward the "narrows" of an hourglass,

marriage forces couples into a vortex

of emotional struggle, where, to grow up,

each must hold on to himself or herself,

in the context of each other.

On the other hand, I said, I imagined Donald had never felt worthwhile in his family's eyes. He had spent a lot of time trying to please his parents without knowing what he was supposed to do, but he got so little response that he never learned how to read other people's cues--he just forged blindly ahead, trying to force his way into people's good graces and prove himself without waiting to see how he was coming across. "Come back here and give me a chance to prove myself!" his behavior screamed. "Are you so used to being out of contact with the people you love that you can successfully ignore how out of sync you are with them?" I asked. To Donald's credit, he didn't dodge the question, though he seemed dazed by the speed with which we'd zoomed in on such a core issue.

Nevertheless, Donald and Betty discovered that their discomfort in describing, in exact detail, what was done by whom, when, how and where, was outweighed by their fascination at what they were finding out about themselves--far more than was remotely possible from a seminar on sex skills. Betty, for example, had suggested that once kissing had stopped and intercourse had started, her sexual life was just fine--after all, she had orgasms and she "liked" them. But when I asked her to describe her experience of rear-entry intercourse --a common practice with this couple--she did not make it sound like a richly sensual, erotic or even particularly pleasant encounter. During the act, she positioned herself on elbows and knees, her torso held tense and rigidly parallel to the mattress while she protectively braced her body for a painful battering. Instead of moving into each thrust from Donald, she kept moving away from him, as if trying to escape. He, on the other hand, clasped her hips and kept trying to pull her to him, but never got a feeling of solid physical or emotional connection.

In spite of the fact that both were able to reach orgasm--widely considered the only significant measurement of successful sex--Betty and Donald's minute-by-minute description of what they did made it obvious that a lot more was happening than a technically proficient sex act. I told Betty I was glad she had told me these details, which all suggested that she thought it was pretty hopeless trying to work out conflicts with people she loved. "I suspect you've gotten used to swallowing your disappointment and sadness without telling anybody, and just getting along by yourself as best you can," I said. "It sounds very lonely," At that point, much to Donald's shock, Betty burst into tears. I said to Donald that he still seemed resigned to chase after people he loved to get them to love and accept him. "I guess you just don't believe they could possibly love you without being pressured into it. In fact, I think both of you use sex to confirm the negative beliefs you already have about yourselves."

For several seconds Donald looked at his lap, while Betty quietly cried in the next chair. "I suppose we must be pretty screwed up, huh?" Betty snuffled. "Nope," I said. "Much of what's going on between you is not only understandable, it's predictable, normal and even healthy--although it doesn't look or feel that way right now." They were describing the inevitable struggle involved in seeking individual growth and self-development within the context of marriage.

Betty said she used to enjoy sex until she became over-involved with her job, but I suggested that the case was more likely the reverse--that the demands of her job gave her a needed emotional distance from Donald. Her conscious desire to "escape" from Donald stemmed from emotional fusion with him--she found herself invaded by his worries, his anxieties, his insecurities and his needs as if she had contracted a virus from him. "You may feel that you don't have enough inside you to satisfy his needs and still remain a separate, whole person yourself," I said. "Your work is a way of keeping some 'self' for yourself, to prevent being absorbed by him. That's the same reason you turn your head away when he tries to kiss you."

I suggested that Donald's problem was a complementary version of the same thing: in order to forestall the conviction that he had no worthwhile self at all, he felt he had to pressure Betty, or anybody he loved, to demonstrate they loved him--over and over. Donald, of course, did not see that he was as important to Betty as she was to him, but their mutual need for each other was really a function of two fragile and insecure selves shoring each other up.

Like most of us, neither Betty nor Donald was very mature when they married; neither had really learned the grownup ability to soothe their own emotional anxieties or find their own internal equilibrium during the inevitable conflicts and contretemps of marriage. And, like most couples after a few years of marriage, they made up for their own insecurities by demanding that the other provide constant, unconditional acceptance, empathy, reciprocity and validation to help them each sustain a desired self-image. "I'm okay if, but only if, you think I'm okay," they said, in effect, to each other, and worked doubly hard both to please and be pleased, hide and adapt, shuffle and dance, smile and agree. The more time passes, the more frightened either partner is of letting the other know who he or she really is.

This joint back-patting compact works for a while to keep each partner feeling secure, but eventually the game becomes too exhausting to play. Gradually, partners become less inclined to please each other, more resentful of the cost of continually selling themselves out for ersatz peace and tranquility, less willing to put out or give in. To the extent that neither partner has really grown up and is willing to confront his or her own contribution to this growing impasse, however, would prefer to fight with or avoid the other. It's less frightening to blame our mates than to face ourselves. The ensuing "symptoms"--low sexual desire, sexual boredom, control battles, heavy silences--often take on the coloring of a deathly struggle for selfhood, fought on the implicit assumption that there is only room for one whole self in the marriage. "It's going to be my way or no way, my self or no self!" partners say in effect, in bed and out--leading to a kind of classic standoff.

Far from being signs of a deeply "pathological" marital breakdown, however, as Donald and Betty were convinced, this stalemate is a normal and inevitable process of growth built into every marriage, as well as a golden opportunity. Like grains of sand inexorably funneling toward the "narrows" of an hourglass, marriage predictably forces couples into a vortex of emotional struggle, where each dares to hold onto himself or herself in the context of each other, in order to grow up. At the narrowest, most constricting part of the funnel--where alienation, stagnation, infidelity, separation and divorce typically occur--couples can begin not only to find their individual selves, but in the process acquire a far greater capacity for love, passion and intimacy with each other than they ever thought possible.

At this excruciating point in a marriage, every couple has four options: each partner can try to control the other (Donald's initial ploy, which did not succeed), accommodate even more (Betty had done so to the limits of her tolerance), withdraw physically or emotionally (Betty's job helped her to do this) or learn to soothe his or her own anxiety and not get hijacked by the anxiety of the other. In other words, they could work on growing up, using their marriage as a kind of differentiation fitness center par excellence.

Differentiation is a lifelong process by which we become more uniquely ourselves by maintaining ourselves in relationship with those we love. It allows us to have our cake and eat it too, to experience fully our biologically based drives for both emotional connection and individual self-direction. The more differentiated we are--the stronger our sense of self-definition and the better we can hold ourselves together during conflicts with our partners--the more intimacy we can tolerate with someone we love without fear of losing our sense of who we are as separate beings. This uniquely human balancing act is summed up in the striking paradox of our species, that we are famously willing both to die for others, and to die rather than be controlled by others.

To make a vital contact by feeling and experiencing each other's reality, I suggested that Betty and Donald simply caress each other's hands and faces while attending to what they were doing and feeling.

Of all the many schools of hard experience life has to offer, perhaps none but marriage is so perfectly calibrated to help us differentiate--if we can steel ourselves to take advantage of its rigorous lessons, and not be prematurely defeated by what feels at first like abject failure. Furthermore, a couple's sexual struggle--what I call the sexual crucible--is the most powerful route both to individual maturity and the capacity for intimate relationship, because it evokes people's deepest vulnerabilities and fears, and also taps into their potential for profound love, passion, even spiritual transcendence.

In the typically constricted sexuality of the mid-marriage blues, Betty and Donald's sexual repertoire consisted of "leftovers"--whatever was left over after eliminating every practice that made one or the other nervous or uncomfortable. The less differentiated a couple, the less they can tolerate the anxiety of possibly "offending" one another, the more anxiety they experience during sex and the more inhibited, rigid and inflexible their sexual style becomes: people have sex only up to the limits of their sexual and emotional development. Unsurprisingly, Donald and Betty's sexual routine had become as predictable, repetitious, unadventurous and boring as a weekly hamburger at McDonald's. This is why the standard advice to improve sex by negotiating and compromising is doomed to failure--most normally anxious couples have already long since negotiated and compromised themselves out of any excitement, variety or sexual passion, anyway.

And yet it would have been pointless and counterproductive to march Donald and Betty through a variety of new sexual techniques. Using sex as a vehicle for personal and relational growth is not the same as just doing something new that raises anxieties. Rather, it depends on maintaining a high level of personal connection with someone known and loved during sex--allowing ourselves to really see and be seen by our partners, feel and be felt, know and be known by them. Most couples have spent years trying not to truly reveal themselves to each other in order to maintain the illusion of complete togetherness, thus effectively smothering any true emotional connection, with predictably disastrous effects on sex.

Donald and Betty were so obsessed with sexual behavior, so caught up in their anxieties about who was doing or failing to do what to whom in bed, that they were not really emotionally or even physically aware of each other when they touched. Like people "air kissing" on social occasions, they were going through the motions while keeping a kind of emotional cordon sanitaire between them. Their sex was more like the parallel play of young children than an adult interaction--except that they each watched the other's "play" with resentment and hurt feelings. Betty complained that Donald touched her too roughly--"He's crude and selfish!" she said, "and just uses me to please himself." Her complaint undercut Donald's sense of self, and he defensively accused her of being a demanding [Bleep!], never satisfied and fundamentally unpleasable--thereby undermining her sense of self.

In order to help them each find a self and each other I had to redirect their gaze away from their obsession with mutually disappointing sexual behavior, and encourage them to "follow the connection"--rediscover or establish some vital physical and emotional link as a first building block to greater intimacy. To consciously "follow the connection," however, requires the full presence and consent of both partners, each purposely slowing down and giving full attention to the other, feeling and experiencing the other's reality. For example, I suggested that Betty and Donald, who couldn't come up with even one way in which they made some sort of vital contact, might simply caress each other's hands and faces white attending to what they were doing and feeling.

The next session, Donald reported that he now understood why Betty felt he was too "rough"; he said the experience made him realize that he usually touched her with about as much care and sensitivity as if he was scouring a frying pan! But slowing down to really become conscious of what he was doing made him experience a sudden jolt of emotional connection with Betty. This awareness was an unnerving sensation for someone who had spent his life performing for other people (including his wife) rather than actually being with them.

Betty, too, was shaken by the jarring reality of their connection. She hadn't liked being touched roughly, but the concentration and attention in Donald's hands as he really felt and got to know her body was deeply disturbing; she found herself suddenly and unexpectedly sobbing with grief and deprivation for the warmth and love she'd missed as a child, and that she had both craved and feared in her marriage. Donald managed to keep his own anxiety in check during Betty's unexpected reaction, holding her hand while she cried her eyes out and gradually calmed down on her own. Later that night, they had the best sex they had experienced in a very long time.

Buoyed by this first success, more hopeful about their future together, they both wanted to know how they could enhance this new and still tentative sense of connection. I suggested they try something called "hugging till relaxed," a powerful method for increasing intimacy that harnesses the language and dynamics of sex without requiring either nudity or sexual contact. Hugging, one of the most ordinary, least threatening gestures of affection and closeness, is also one of the most telling. When they hugged, Betty complained that Donald always leaned on her--making her stagger backward--while Donald accused Betty of pulling away from him, letting go "too soon," and leaving him "hugging air."

I suggested that Betty and Donald each stand firmly on their own two feet, loosely put their arms around each other, focus on their own individual experience and concentrate on quieting themselves down while in the embrace--neither clutching nor pulling away from or leaning on each other. I never tell clients how long to hug, but few initially can take more than four or five seconds before they experience a kind of emotional "jolt" when the connection threatens to become too intimate for comfort. Once both partners can learn to soothe themselves and maintain their individual equilibrium, shifting their own positions when necessary for comfort, they get a brief, physical experience of intimate connection without fusion, a sense of stability and security without over-dependency.

While practicing hugging until relaxed with Donald, Betty found that as she learned to quiet her own anxiety, she could allow herself to be held longer by Donald without feeling claustrophobic. Just relaxing in the hug also made her realize that she normally carried chronic anxiety like a kind of body armor. As Betty calmed down and began to melt peacefully into the hug, not pulling away from fear that Donald would, literally, invade her space, he noticed his own impulse to break it off before she wanted to. After they had spent several weeks working on hugging till relaxed, they began to feel more centered within themselves when they did it; each no longer anxiously watched for the least little twitch in the other, or wondered what the other was thinking, or worried about doing it "wrong." When they each could settle down in the hug, they discovered that together they eventually would enter a space of great peace and tranquility, deeply connected and in touch with each other but secure in their self.

Soon, they could experience some of the same kind of deep peace during sex, which not only eliminated much of the anxiety, resentment and disappointment they had felt before, but vastly increased the eroticism of the encounter. Now that they knew what they were looking for, they could tell when it was absent. It was as if each had let slip away a hard, tough carapace, and allowed something tender and vulnerable to emerge. Later, in my office, while Betty gently stroked his arm, Donald teared up as he told me about the new sense of quiet but electric connection he felt with her. "I just had no idea what we were missing; she seemed so precious to me that it almost hurt to touch her," he said, his voice thick with emotion.

This leap in personal development didn't simply occur through behavioral desensitization. Sometimes, Betty and Donald got more anxious as their unresolved issues surfaced in their physical embrace. At times, when Betty dared to shift to a more comfortable position, Donald felt she was squirming to avoid him. It was my job to help them see how this reflected the same emotional dynamics present in other aspects of their marriage. Betty was attempting to "hold onto herself" while remaining close to someone she loved, and likewise, Donald was refusing to chase after a loved one to get himself accepted. Insight alone didn't help much; a lot of self-soothing was required. Ultimately, they stopped taking each other's experience and reaction as a reflection on themselves and recognized that two separate realities existed even during their most profound physical union.

Building on their new stockpiles of courage earned in these experiments with each other, I suggested that Donald and Betty consider eyes-open sex, the thought of which leaves many couples aghast. Indeed, Donald's first response to the suggestion was that if he and Betty tried opening their eyes during sex, they wouldn't need birth control because the very thought made him so anxious he could feel his testicles retreating up into his windpipe! But eyes-open sex is a powerful way of revealing the chasm between sensation-focused sex and real intimacy. Most couples close their eyes in order to better tune out their partners so that they can concentrate on their physical feelings; it is a shocking revelation that to reach orgasm--supposedly the most intimate human act--most people cannot tolerate too much intimacy with their partners, so they block the emotional connection and concentration on body parts.

Eyes-open sex is not simply a matter of two pairs of eyeballs staring at each other (indeed, people can hide behind a blank stare), but a way to intensify the mutual awareness and connection begun during foreplay; to really "see" and "be seen" is an extension of feeling and being felt when touching one another. But if allowing oneself to be known by touch is threatening, actually being seen can be positively terrifying. Bravely pursuing eyes-open sex in spite of these misgivings helps couples not only learn to tolerate more intimacy, it increases differentiation--it requires a degree of inner calm and independent selfhood to let somebody see what's inside your head without freaking out. "It scares me," said Betty, speaking many people's experience. "I don't like my body much and I don't like a lot else about myself, and I don't really expect him to, either."

But the experience was also exhilarating. As Donald and Betty progressed from shy, little, peek-a-boo glimpses into each other's faces to long, warm gazes and soft smiles, each found their encounters more deeply moving. Betty slowly realized that whereas before she had wanted to escape from Donald, now she yearned to see all of him, and for him to see all of her. "I felt so vulnerable, as if he could see all my inadequacies, but the way he looked at me and smiled made all that unimportant." Donald gradually relinquished the self-image of a needy loser; he no longer needed to pursue Betty for reassurance and found, to his delight, that she wanted him--a breathtaking experience. "Her eyes are so big and deep, I feel I could dive into them," he said in wonder.

In hugging 'till relaxed, Betty and Donald were to each stand firmly, put their arms around each other, focus on their own individual experience and concentrate on quieting themselves down while in the embrace.

Both began to experience an increasing sense of self-acceptance and personal security. "We're having better sex now than we've ever had in our lives," Betty reported, "And I thought we were getting to be too old and far too married for exciting sex." Donald agreed. Betty and Donald, like society at large, were confusing genital prime--the peak years of physical reproductive maturity--with sexual prime--the specifically human capacity for adult eroticism and emotional connection. "Are you better in bed or worse now than you were as an adolescent?" I asked them. "Most people definitely get better as they get older, at least potentially. No 17-year old boy is sufficiently mature to be capable of profound intimacy--he's too preoccupied with proving his manhood; and a young woman is too worried about being 'used' or too hung up about romance and reputation to really experience her own eroticism. Most 50-year-olds, on the other hand, have a much better developed sense of who they are, and more inner resources to bring to sex. You could say that cellulite and sexual potential are highly correlated."

So that's why I have such incredible erotic talents! said Betty.

As far as issues of gender equality are concerned, both men and women become more similar as they age and approach their sexual potential. Men are not as frightened of letting their partners take the lead in making love to them, and they develop far greater capacity and appreciation for emotional connection and tenderness than they had as young men. Women, on the other hand, become more comfortable with their own sexuality, more likely to enjoy sex for its own sake and less inclined to apologize for their eroticism or hide behind the ingenue's mask of modesty. As they age, women feel less obligated to protect their mate's sexual self-esteem at the cost of their own sexual pleasure.

Once a couple's sexual potential has been tapped, partners are no longer afraid to let their fantasies run free with each other. Donald, for example, let Betty know that he dreamed of her tying him up and "ravishing" him sexually--so one day, she bought four long, silk scarves and that night, wearing three inch high heels and a little black lace, she trussed him to the bed and gave him what he asked for, astounding him and surprising herself with her own dramatic flair. Betty had always secretly cherished a fantasy of being a dangerous, sexually powerful femme fatale, but Donald's clingy neediness had dampened her enthusiasm for trying out the dream--also she had been afraid it would make him even more demanding. But now, knowing he was capable of being himself regardless of what she did or did not do, Betty felt much more comfortable expressing her own sense of erotic play.

The Sexual Crucible Approach encourages people to make use of the opportunity offered by marriage to become more married and better married, by becoming more grown-up and better at staking out their own selfhood. But the lessons learned by Betty and Donald, or any couple, extend far beyond sex. The same emotional development that makes for more mature and passionate sexuality also helps couples negotiate the other potential shoals of marriage --money issues, childrearing questions, career decisions--because differentiation is not confined to sex. In every trouble spot, each partner has the same four options: dominate, submit, withdraw or differentiate. Differentiation does not guarantee that spouses can always have things their own individual way and an unfailingly harmonious marriage besides. Marriage is full of hard, unpleasant choices, including the choice between safety, security and sexual boredom, on the one hand, and challenge, anxiety and sexual passion, on the other.

But spouses who have learned to stand on their own two feet within marriage are not as likely to force their own choices on the other or give in or give up entirely just to keep their anxiety in check and shore up their own frail sense of self. Learning to soothe ourselves in the middle of a fight with a spouse over, say, the choice of schools for our child or a decision to move, not only helps keep the discussion more rational, but makes us more capable of mutuality, of hearing our partner, of putting his or her agenda on a par with our own. The fight stops being, for example, a struggle between your personal needs and your spouse's personal needs, often regarded by each as my "good idea" and her/his "selfishness," but which is really often my fragile undeveloped self versus his/her equally fragile, undeveloped self. Instead, we can begin to see that the struggle is inside each of us individually, between wanting what we want for ourselves personally, and wanting for our beloved partner what he or she wants for himself or herself. Becoming more differentiated is possibly the most loving thing you can do in your lifetime--for those you love as well as yourself. Someone once said that if you're going to "give yourself" to your partner like a bouquet of flowers, you should at least first arrange the gift!

There is no way this process can be foreshortened into a technical quick-fix, no matter how infatuated our culture is with speed, efficiency and cost containment. Courage, commitment, a willingness to forgo obvious "solutions," tolerating the anxiety of living without a clear, prewritten script, as well as the patience to take the time to grow up are all necessary conditions, not only for a good marriage, but for a good life. At the same time, reducing all marital problems to the fallout from our miserable childhoods or to gender differences not only badly underestimates our own ability to develop far beyond the limitations of our circumstances, but misjudges the inherent power of emotionally committed relationships to bring us (drag us, actually, often kicking and screaming) more deeply and fully into our own being. Marriage is a magnificent system, no only for humanizing us, maturing us and teaching us how to love, but also perhaps for bringing us closer to what is divine in our natures.

David Schnarch, Ph.D., is the founder of the Sexual Crucible® Approach and director of the Marriage and Family Health Center in Evergreen, Colorado. His books include Passionate Marriage: Sex, Love, and Intimacy in Emotionally Committed Relationship and Constructing the Sexual Crucible: An Integration of Sexual and Marital Therapy. Address: 2922 Evergreen Parkway, Suite 310, Evergreen, CO 80439. Website: www.passionatemarriage.com

Posted By: Marta

Re: BR: Book Club: Passionate Marriage - Keeping Love & Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships - 01/20/15 04:40 PM

Just bumping this as it was a good thread.
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