Archive

Is Commitment A KIller?

Well, to answer this question, it can be put in terms of a couple’s sex life. For so many couples sex can become a source of tension and there are a couple reasons for this. The first reason is that so many of the issues that arise in our lives as patterns and stories, vacillate between the domains of sex and money. In other words, sex and money are so often emotional triggers for most people and it is usually one or the other, or a combination of the two that brings up our unresolved stuff. Sex and money are also powerful triggers for a couple because they are so intimately connected with our creative energies and our heart centers. My focus in this article is going to be on sex, and with that said, the second reason this area can be such a trigger, is that it is about different things for men and women. For women, sex has a tendency to be about ownership and security and for men the tendency is for it to be about acceptance and a sense of wanting. How can this cause conflict and how can commitment be the killer of a great sex life?

Couples Tension

The answer to this question can be found in our changing values within relationship. For women, once they achieve ownership and security (Read: commitment and the sense that your partner is now yours and committed) their values tend to change and sex is no longer as high of a priority as it was before. Now, for women, other stressors and values become first on the priority list and can often impede and affect the desire for sexual intimacy. Some of these stressors or values may be as simple as getting enough sleep, having a clean and organized house to larger ones like paying the bills on time, or questions of career, direction and purpose. So where does that leave the man in all of this?

Shame

For men, they are often left wondering why they and their partner are no longer having sex as much as they used to. Their values have not really changed, because for most men, sex and performance in the bedroom is one of their primary means to achieving acceptance and feeling wanted by their partner, whether this is conscious or unconscious. There are also other cultural reasons that men exhibit these tendencies that I will not go into here. What usually manifests as a result of these disparate value systems is a dynamic of tension that can set up the beginning to the end of many relationships because it becomes such a sensitive “hot button” issue that many couples would rather just not talk about it or push it under the rug. This can be just as dangerous. Many men have not learned to develop these qualities from with and consistently seek fulfillment of these desires outside of themselves, in the form of sex, sports cars, acceptance of peers through sports, career, or other endeavors. Even when men do cultivate this from within, it odes not necessarily dispel their desire for sexual intimacy, but it can help to alleviate its ability to become an emotionally charged issue.

When this issue is not addressed there is a tendency for men to be afraid to even initiate sex or ask for it in fear that it may upset their partners even further, and for women, they feel the stress of the situation many times in the form of a sexual deficit that needs to “be made up for”, setting her up for feeling guilt and resentment towards her partner. It often becomes an unspoken push and pull scenario with each person trying to get needs met and not really communicating in terms of those needs. Many are unaware of what some of those needs truly are underneath all of the push and pull.

So how can this dynamic be reconciled? How can each party get their needs met? How can each partner learn to speak into each other’s values to move out of being stuck in the tension and move forward in growth instead of entropy?

First and foremost, I recommend looking at what emotions it is bringing up for each of you and what unconscious conditioning/stories the situation is revealing. It is about learning to be vulnerable, manage emotions and shift perceptions around some of the challenges we encounter in our interactions in our relationships. There are many self-help books out there to help you learn the skills and tools necessary to do this work. They can help get you started and the work that I do with people with the Law of Reflections can help you get to the core causes of this internal struggle that manifests outwardly in your relationships. If you aren’t quite ready to do this type of work yet, what are some practical everyday things that you can do to begin to alleviate the tension and symptoms of these deeper issues? If you would like some pragmatic tools that you can begin to apply right now, then read below. If you would like to go deeper and neutralize the emotional triggers at their cause, you can always contact me for a consult or a session.

Here are some simple things that you can apply to your relationship right away, while you are looking for the suitable tools and people to help you and your partner.

1) Master the Art of Communication
Communicate clearly and openly about what you would both love. Cherish and appreciate each other rather than trying to change each other. Also, use dialogues with one another, not alternating monologues. Another helpful tip is to not compare your relationship to unrealistic fantasies. When you communicate openly and authentically, it is easier to dispel fantasy and reveal your truth together with an open heart. Vulnerability is another key to clear communication. When we are ready and on the defensive, it shuts down communication and closes our hearts. There is great strength in being vulnerable, because it lets the other person in and fosters deeper, more intimate connection.

2) Speak Into Each Other’s Values
Every human being wants to be loved and appreciated for who they are and who they are is highest on their values. Anytime you expect the person to live in your values or vice/versa, you shut down the relationship. A great question to ask is: How is what they are dedicated to helping to fulfill what you are dedicated to? And, how is what you are dedicated to helping to fulfill what they are dedicated to? In other words, how are each of you serving each other’s highest values? A relationship lasts as long as both people communicate in each other’s highest values or priorities. When they don’t do this, there develops an imbalance of power in the relationship.

3) Values Activity
A constructive activity you can do for your relationship is to list your top 5 values on one side of a piece of paper and write your partner’s top 5 on the other side. Now think of at least 5 ways the other person’s top 5 values helps you to fulfill your first priority. Next, list at least 5 ways in which your top value helps the other person fulfill theirs.

This helps to balance your perceptions of each other and it opens a new door for communication and intimacy.

4) Recommended Reading
A great book that I read several years back is “Non-Violent Communication” by Marshall Rosenberg. It outlines how to communicate our needs constructively while being vulnerable and open to the other party’s needs as well. Another great starter book is “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz.