By Maria Sylvester, MSW, CPC
“When you do things from your soul, a river moves through you. Freshness and joy are the signs.” ~Rumi
“Wait,” I called after him. “Before you leave, let me look at you — take you in for a second.” He stopped. And staring into those luscious pools of deep green, my heart jumped, then danced its happy dance. Wow. Nice unexpected start to the morning. Even better, as an additional perk, the sweet memory lingered, making my entire day feel cozy, rich, and expansive. A fresh start. A fresh start for us. This simple little request broke something open in me, and I felt deliciously connected to him again in a way I hadn’t felt for a while. And perhaps it worked some bit of magic for him too.
Regardless of how wonderful a partnership might be, even the best of relationships go through times when the energy seems to dull, wax, or wane. Things between you can begin to feel flat, routine, or boring. Just like everything else that lives and thrives, a relationship needs to be well-fed. In my work coaching couples in how to improve their relationships, as well as being deeply committed to my own, one thing that is guaranteed to nurture and nourish a partnership is to develop the art of making intimate requests.
When I talk about intimate requests here, I’m not referring to intimate sexual requests, although they can also be deliciously powerful and helpful in deepening connection. Rather, today I’m talking about the art of making kind, loving, creative requests of a non-sexual nature that have the effect of replenishing and rekindling the positive, close energy between lovers, marital partners, or friends.
Intimate requests are wake-up calls! And they are such even if you haven’t consciously realized your relationship needed an awakening. Intimate requests reveal what we are longing for, and allow our partners the opportunity to better understand us and respond. Intimate requests therefore empower both the request maker and the request receiver. Sometimes, you may find yourself making a request of your partner, and only after the request is met do you realize the life-saving, heart-opening grace of the moment. In other words, you realize, deep in your body and spirit, how desperately you needed that which your beloved just fulfilled! At any time in your relationship, you have the glorious opportunity to begin anew and freshen things up.
In order to make an intimate request, you have to first become mindful of what you want, need, or desire. This means, in effect, we have to dig deep and be ready to make ourselves vulnerable. To figure out these soul-longings and find that which you are seeking, you will want to switch into a slowed-down, contemplative mode, then trust what you discover there. What are you noticing? Let your intuition guide you. What would feel good? How might you want to be nurtured? What might help you feel more intimately connected? What desire, if met, might help you grow or connected more deeply your partner?
Don’t jump too far ahead of yourself here. Go with what first hits you. This is exactly what I did when I sensed I needed to take pause and gaze into my husband’s eyes that morning not long ago. My heart ached for such, and I asked for it spontaneously and quickly before I could talk myself out of it or rationalize the desire away as a silly little daydream or longing. The heart always knows what matters and what we need. We just have to listen and trust the knowing.
New beginnings bring with them the treasure of new realizations. Take for instance the wonderful intimate request my husband made recently for a date night at the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase. He and a dear friend of mine schemed up a plan — a surprise double-date adventure into this new (for us) venue, plus dinner at a restaurant he had never been to before. What a blast! And what laughs! Most endearing, and refreshing for our relationship, was my husband sharing afterwards that the very best part of the evening for him was listening to me laugh like he hadn’t heard me do so in a long while. Like magic, this intimate request brought each of us gifts. For me, it was an unexpected, fully-orchestrated night out with close friends doing something new and different. For him, it was a fun time, plus the unique experience of his sweetie cracking up and laughing hysterically, sometimes to the point of tears, as the jokes rolled. Intimate requests keep it fresh indeed!
The kinds of intimate requests one can make of a partner are really endless. They can be requests to spend quality time together a certain way — taking a walk, visiting a museum, listening to music, reading out loud to each other, or cooking a meal, for instance. Quality time requests could also be bigger events such as weekend getaways, or invitations to attend concerts or sports events.
Intimate requests can also be those that ask your partner to do something for you — to prepare a bubble bath for your lounging pleasure, or a request for a foot or back massage, or help you with gardening or house tasks. One might even make the intimate request for a few hours alone, knowing that receiving such will help recharge you, refueling your energy to return to the partnership in glowing form.
The beauty of any intimate request, especially if one’s partner is open to hearing and lovingly responding to them, is the growth potential they offer the relationship. We enter into relationships for a multitude of reasons, though I believe one key reason is the longing to grow and develop ourselves in new ways — to become an even better person than we were outside of the union.
We carry within ourselves a sense of great possibility. And those possibilities are reached, and expanded on, through the alchemy of rich, meaningful close connection with others. Intimate requests, both in the making and the honoring of them, have the power to expand our self-awareness, our capacities, and our overall quality of life. They are not to be taken for granted. Intimate requests help bring juicy, dynamic, new energy to our interactions.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, making and receiving intimate requests can be downright fun! Intimate request-making is like pushing a big, beautiful relationship reset button. New appreciations for each other, and for ourselves, develop when we creatively traverse new territories together. Your love becomes even more vibrant and empowered. A previously restless heart feels more satisfied. Passions ignite and sparks fly where mere embers might have been previously, slowly burning out. Intimate requests foster greater closeness between partners, which automatically helps keep things fresh. So go ahead, try making a few requests of your own, and watch as the surprise and unexpected novelty of the moments that follow remind you why you fell in love in the first place!
Maria Sylvester, MSW, CPC is a certified Life Coach in Ann Arbor, MI who loves empowering
adolescents, adults, and couples to live from the HEART of what really matters to them so that
they can bring their fully expressed, vibrant selves into the world. She has a special gift for helping
women reclaim their feminine power, and embrace their radiant, sensual, sexy spirits. Their lives
transform. They soar into their mid-life magnificence!