Intimacy in relationship grows through practice. Just like the popular children’s story of going on a bear hunt, you must go through it. There’s no shortcuts or easy street!
Dogs, Barks and Teeth, Oh My!
I had been attacked and bitten by a dog less than a week before. As I turned on a busy street, an unleashed dog headed straight for me, barking loudly. I scanned the ground for anything to pick up, and ran down a different street!
Screaming and crying, I slowed to turn back and check. Yes, the dog had turned back towards the house. I considered calling for help or even just walking home. I chose to complete the run, hoping I would “run off” this awful feeling.
A Pivotal Moment
Returning home, I stared through angry, scared tears. This was a pivotal moment of intimacy for me, for our relationship. I could suck it up, be strong and not need anyone. Or I could let this person see my raw fear and my shaking body. Even after all the training and personal work, I could not hold all that I was feeling. As I began to speak, my voice quivered and sounded really loud! I felt overwhelmed! The outpouring had begun and I couldn’t stop it.
He was frightened and I was frightened. We both started the dance of defensive actions and offensive threats. There was a moment as we stood across the room from each other when I realized we were both out of range.
Making a Request
I made a request. “Can I show you what I need right now?” With his yes, I knelt down in front of him seated on the piano bench. I reached out and held his face in my hands, explaining that my thoughts are irrational. He could ask what I needed, he could touch my hands, my hair, make eye contact with me and offer to hold my shaking body. I didn’t need the gun I threatened to purchase. I didn’t need him to go find the dog.
And he did reach out and hold me. Connection was better than disconnection. This is the intimate space of being seen and heard. It is a practice of using our tools and noticing. This is not perfection. It is a growing space in relationship.