The other day I was browsing through Barnes & Noble, and as I passed by the rows of books about love and sex I felt annoyed. Seeing those volumes brought to mind the biggest open secret in today’s culture: Most relationship advice doesn’t really help you and your partner improve — or sustain — your love life.
Most people know this to be true. And ironically, the never-ending stream — books, magazine articles, workshops and now, websites and e-zines — confirms it, because If any of them really did help, there wouldn’t be so many of them. In fact, substantial research confirms that these programs and advice aren’t very effective at all.
I think the reason this: Most of the prescriptions for restoring emotional and sexual vitality focus on the wrong things. Most teach techniques – actions and strategies for having better sex, for improving listening and communication, or for successful negotiating around conflict. But if you want to deepen intimacy and build greater vitality in your whole relationship, you have to nourish its spiritual core. Acquiring new techniques won’t do it. However, there are some practices that help you nourish your relationship’s spiritual connection, as I describe below.
What Handicaps Most Relationships
Let me explain. By “spiritual,” I’m referring to a less visible, less behavioral realm than most relationship advice and strategies deal with. Your relationship’s spiritual core includes, for example, your sense of purpose and life goals as a couple; how your values and ideals may change and evolve over the years, as separate individuals and as a couple. The relationship challenge is whether these and other spiritual dimensions are in synch. Continue reading