In my graduate program one of my professors said that it takes ten years to develop any level of mastery. Ten years. When people ask me for my definition of a ‘long-term relationship’ my answer has always been ten years, but it wasn’t until this morning that I connected the words of my professor to my answer.
What does it mean to develop a level of mastery in your relationship? Just like any skill, it’s developing the knowledge and awareness of intimately knowing something inside and out. It’s knowing something in our bodies, and having the ability to react and respond without even thinking about it. It’s being in tune and connected to something. With our partner that means integrating all that we have learned through our shared experience and having the ability to read and respond to each other knowing the effect of a certain touch, look, or gesture.
The other night I met with the speakers for next week’s Glue Talk on emotional intimacy, Jeff Pincus and Rachel Cahn. They spoke of emotional intimacy as this intimate knowledge or mastery. They said that intimate partners should know how to play each other as an instrument, knowing how to tune each other to achieve a certain quality of sound. When we know our partner’s intimate fears, desires, moods, and struggles, we can help regulate them and respond to them in a way that allows them to show up more fully in the world, and vice-versa.
Developing Intimacy and Mastering Relationships
Tracey & Stan, after 14 years, have achieved this beautifully, and speak of being constantly amazed at what their relationship allows them to do in the world. It is this level of mastery in their relationship that allows them to contribute more as individuals. Stan says, “Our relationship has enabled us to do things we could not do before.”
Emotional intimacy comes from paying attention to body language, to tone, to facial expressions and from a curiosity and willingness to open to our partner. It requires practice and study.
If you want to achieve mastery in your relationship, or learn what skills may be missing if you are single, join us as we dive into Emotional Intimacy next Tuesday night 7-9 pm, October 21st at Shine with Jeff Pincus and Rachel Cahn. The evening will include curated films from Global Glue Project, a fascinating discussion, Q and A, and time to socialize and converse on this universally interesting topic that impacts each of us.
Share your stories with Global Glue on Twitter! #gluetalks #sticktogether!