When the mammalian part of our brain feels safe, that’s when all the snuggling, playing, and sexy stuff can happen.
Many people, males included, simply shut down in the romantic department when they are stressed. But it’s not just sex that safety in a relationship promotes. It strengthens the relationship and allows you to discuss the difficult subjects. It allows you to grow and develop. It allows you to have a relationship, instead of just an adult version of parallel play. (Parallel play is the level of play that children engage in before they graduate to interactive play. Parallel play is basically two children doing the same thing side by side, but not together. Think of two kids each with their own pail in the sandbox, doing the same thing, but separately.)
So, how do you get this safety, especially when your relationship is already feeling stressful?
First and foremost, stop saying the word “divorce”.
Just eliminate the “D” word from your vocabulary.
Be kind and respectful.
Even if you are angry, you can still choose to be respectful. This means you can ask politely. You can treat the other person as a person, and not just as a terribly disappointing experiment gone wrong. When you are upset about something, or you want something, if you will state it in a kind and respectful manner, you are more likely to get what you want. Being kind and respectful is more effective than going on the attack. When you attack, the other person is forced into defensive mode and will not hear you.
Create rituals together.
Rituals promote safety and togetherness. Some examples of rituals are: kissing goodnight, no matter how you feel, hugging hello at the end of the day, or saying “I love you insert pet name”.
[Tweet “Rituals that involve touch are especially effective in creating and maintaining safety in a relationship.”]
Play a game together.
Playing games gives you a positive way to be together.
You may have grown up in a home that was far from safe, but you can learn how to create safety in your own home. We all need to know that if things get rough, or if we screw up, we will be able to weather the storm, and we won’t be abandoned, or tossed to the curb. We need to know that our spouse or partner has our back and is not hostile towards us. If this is far from your current situation, do not despair. You don’t have to be perfect, but start learning about safety, and start today. It’s important.
Remember, safety first!