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Stages of IntimacyNo matter how close you are with your loved one, working your way through an intimacy plateau is no easy feat. Yehuda Berg, author of The Spiritual Rules of Engagement, explains how to power through them using some strategic refocusing.


Illustration of held hands in the shape of a heart.

The Settling-In Period
Most people claim that this is when the bloom is most definitely off the rose, but Berg sees it a little differently. “This is the real test to be unconditional and manage your expectations,” he says. “The excitement isn’t real because we’re just feeding off the energy of the excitement. Now comes the real sharing and understanding that the bigger picture is the two of you together.” That means embracing the growing process and continuing to communicate and focus on where the relationship is going.

The After-the-Wedding Period
Often, Berg says couples have no clue what to do with each other after the wedding. “People don’t realize the commitment they have to each other on a spiritual level, and there needs to be that sense of commitment—that I’m there no matter what, and I’m the person who’s going to help you become the best person you need to be.” When you find yourself frustrated with post-wedding blues, ask yourself: How are we going to help each other through this?

The Baby-Making Period
No doubt about it: This phase of deciding to have a baby is stressful. And according to Berg, it’s because the focus is usually on the wrong thing. “The goal is the relationship—not the child,” he says. “If you have an amazing relationship that will make something special, the child is the manifestation of that. But when people focus on the child as the goal, they end up with problems.”

The Post-Baby Period
And now you have a bundle of joy to share with the world…except that joy can leave you pretty worn out. Berg says that he has both experienced and seen how the mother “marries” the child for a period, and that can strain things by creating a new dynamic. How to counteract it? Don’t lose focus on the relationship. “Challenges come up, and if we’re conscious people, we take what comes in our life as opportunities to grow,” says Berg. “We need to look at it as, how will the child make us better as two, and then as three? Often people lose the two and then it becomes a triangle. If we believe in tikkun and karma, there’s a reason certain souls choose us—to challenge and give us light and energy and bring out the best in us.”