You love him. You married him. He is a great father. He might even be a good friend, but you wonder: “Is he the one? Is he my soul mate?”
It’s not that you would dream of another man, but there is something more you are seeking.
You may have tried to talk to him about your desire for deeper connection, for a little more compassion and understanding and heck, even a bit more sex with some real passion would be nice, but he’s not quite getting it. (He’s up for more sex though.)
You see friends on Facebook who have the sort of relationship you think is possible, and they inspire you as well as cause moments of envy, but at least you know it is possible. So it leaves you wondering: “How do I get that?”
There is within all of us a longing for deep love and soulful connection. We have a desire to be on fire with joy, passion and knowingness. We want a true partner in life and in body and spirit too.
Many women I speak with talk about wanting a spiritual connection with their spouse, and express the sadness and loneliness they feel at times inside their own marriage.
I get it. Been there!
Men want this too, though it is the rare one who will say it in those words. Chances are your husband wants what you want. So what to do?
Creating Soul Connection
Though there really are poor matches, let’s assume that your spouse is actually a good match for you. Here are some ways to cultivate connection with him without getting him to change every darn thing about himself:
Compassion—see the bigger picture about men.
There are a lot of cultural imperatives for why men don’t express a need for deep connection (other than sexually), so don’t be too hard on him if he is not asking you how you feel, what your heart longs for and what you dream about. There are men who are amazing communicators and who are totally in touch with their own heart, but many men are learning that it’s actually safe to feel. They may have been belittled, bullied, chastised and maybe even beaten in the past when they showed sensitivity, emotion or vulnerability so it is scary.
Also, consider that men have few models of open, loving masculine behaviour. What is the current model for a great husband? A great lover? An open-hearted and yet still strong man? Maybe Will Smith. I can’t actually think of someone else right now.
Though there are amazing men doing amazing things, there are a lot of models of what not to do in mainstream culture. And most of us learn behavior by modelling what we see. Consider that in our culture, and maybe in his family, he may not see a lot of great models. So, he’s trying to figure it out.
Celebrate—reinforce what you want.
We are usually pretty good at reinforcing what we don’t want. I am guilty of this too. But when someone just keeps telling us what we do wrong, we start to feel that we are wrong, and we can’t do anything right. Most humans respond by either passivity (f*ck it, I can’t do anything right so why try), passive aggression (I’m not going to go to that class with her because I can’t do anything right anyway, but I won’t tell her how I feel), or outright aggression (I’m such an a**hole all the time aren’t I. Just go to class with your perfect yoga guys).
I’m not suggesting that you don’t ask for things or give feedback, but I am suggesting that you try reinforcing, celebrating, noticing, applauding and making a big hairy deal about the things you see your husband do, say, be and become that are meaningful. He will love this and will do more of it.
It’s just human nature to seek out praise. You aren’t doing it to be manipulative but to actually express gratitude, love and it feels better to celebrate than complain.
My husband was recently struggling with some family dynamic stuff. I reinforced how good he was at setting boundaries, at speaking his needs and how he had gotten so much better at staying calm. There were a few things that I may have done differently but he needed my positive feedback and support. This was also a vote of confidence that he was doing some things well, which gave him momentum and more confidence.
Because he did not feel judged by me, he asked for my feedback and advice on how to handle the stuff he found challenging. We had a lovely conversation about “ancestral energy” and how to heal it. This conversation would have never taken place if I had said, “You know you could use Shamanistic stalking methods to clear your family patterns and finally be free. You aren’t doing this right.”
Communicate—know your audience.
Yup, just as you would not try speaking Spanish to German-only speaking people, don’t try to speak “spiritual” to your partner if he doesn’t have a clue what you are saying. It only makes him feel stupid, not enough, and alone. He won’t say that to you, but chances are he is terrified of the distance between the two of you too.
Instead of picking up a guide book on how-to speak your language he probably gets defensive, flip, sarcastic or dismissive. He makes fun of your passion for yoga. He jokes about your “cult.” It is just a coping mechanism. Yes, it’s a**hole behaviour but see it for what it is: fear.
Though he needs to learn to manage his own fear, when we see it for what it means, we don’t have to react so harshly. We can have compassion.
Does this mean you can’t share your deeper insight, evolutions and passion?
Of course not, but consider his perspective. In the above example, if I had told Ian that I could teach him Shamanistic techniques to “stalk” out the dark energy of his ancestors (and he is a super open guy), he would have thought, “Okay, witchy woman. No thanks.”
I had to allow him to have his journey and give him support and applause in ways that made sense for him. This created a space between us that allowed for connection and a deeper conversation, which lead to me teaching him Shamanistic techniques to “stalk” out the dark energy of his ancestors. Cool, eh!
I flounder at times too but by applying these practices, I literally fell in love with my husband again and it feels wonderful. I have my soulmate back, so to speak.
Your dedication to great love and compassionate relationship is literally changing the world! Keep it up and know we are all in this together.
Author: Shasta Townsend
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photos: Author’s Own, Gideon Wright/Flickr