Obstacles to Intimacy Series
~Exploring God’s Gift of Intimacy~
In the Obstacles to Intimacy Series, we discussed Obstacle #1: Sex Addiction, Tips & Tools to Overcome Obstacle #1, Obstacle #2: Intimacy Anorexia, How We Become Intimacy Anorexics, Reactive Intimacy Anorexia and The Anorexia Cycle.
The Three Dailies
One of the most successful ways of sharing your feelings with your partner is through a process we refer to as the 3 dailies. The three dailies exercise allows you and your partner to express your feelings without feedback, share affirmations toward one another and pray together on a daily basis.
This is one of the most powerful recovery tools, because it counteracts multiple acting-in, intimacy anorexic behaviors: withholding love from your partner, withholding praise or appreciation from your partner, having an unwillingness or inability to discuss feelings with your partner and staying so busy there is no relational time for your partner. It also prevents a couple from controlling with silence or anger, because in order to share these things daily, you must be in agreement with one another.
Before I share the exercise, it is important to understand the rules. First, you must try to maintain eye contact with your partner. It allows you to stay focused, as well as see into the soul of your partner. Some things words cannot describe, but your partner’s eyes can say it all. Second, the feelings shared cannot involve your partner or your marriage. Feelings shared must be outside of the marital relationship. And finally, once a feeling is shared, there is to be no feedback or comments. Each partner must feel safe to create emotional intimacy. However, after 72 hours, you may discuss the feeling work that has been shared as you determine to be appropriate and if permission has been granted.
Share Two Feelings
This exercise requires each partner to share two feeling words, utilizing the following the format. “I feel __________ when __________. I first remember feeling __________ when __________.” The first sentence is a present tense feeling. A feeling you experienced within the last few days, weeks or months. The second sentence is past tense, preferably a feeling you experienced as a child, younger than 18 years old. (NOTE: Refer to our Feelings List.)
My husband and I printed the list of feeling words, cut them apart and drew them out of a paper cup each evening. During this process, there were things my partner shared I had never heard in the eight years I had known him.
Again, remember there is no feedback regarding what has been shared, and it must not be about your partner. You both need to feel safe in order to create the emotional connection you are pursuing.
This is a wonderful exercise. Each partner takes turns sharing two affirmations about the other partner. For example, “I like, love, appreciate or enjoy when you __________ or I like, love, appreciate or enjoy how you __________.”
At first, this process may be uncomfortable since we may not be used to hearing compliments and affirmations from our partner. Personally, I had never heard so many affirmations from my partner until we started this exercise. It was refreshing and encouraging, realizing how much my partner appreciated about who I was and what I did. I encourage you to reach outside the box and find things you appreciate in character about your partner as well. Throughout this process, you may find yourself more drawn to your partner, as the romance is slowly rekindled, and the spark is re-ignited.
Prayer is the heart of recovery. No couple will ever receive the healing balm the Great Physician can provide without humbling themselves before God and asking for help. Some of you believe the lie that you cannot pray, let alone with another person. The enemy would like nothing less than to prevent you and your partner from praying together. Remember, everyone can pray. If you can think and speak, you can pray aloud. There is power in prayer, especially where two or three are gathered together in Jesus’ name. Prayer initiates positive results. Your prayer doesn’t have to be anything fancy or lengthy. Keep it simple.
The three dailies was one of the most beneficial exercises we experienced as a couple in our recovery process, as the process allowed each of us to express our feelings and remove our tendency to become emotionally anorexic. It also helped us rebuild intimacy and trust in our relationship and allowed us to see and verbally appreciate one another’s strengths.
It may also be beneficial for you and your partner to keep a recovery journal, The 3 Dailies Worksheet. My husband and I did this for the first 100 days. It has been encouraging to review what we shared in the past, as well as see how far we have come in our recovery process.
Excerpt from Ashes to Beauty.
In my next blog article, I’ll be discussing Obstacle #3.
Kerry Schortzman is the Director of Operations at Transformed Hearts Counseling Center as well as an author and speaker. She has traveled the road of recovery alongside her husband through the wildfires of intimacy anorexia. She has a heart and passion to see healing and restoration in relationships and marriages as well as to bring public awareness to eliminate sex and human trafficking. Kerry has been married since 1998 and lives in Colorado with her husband and four daughters. She and Cory have been seen on the CBS Early Show, Inside Edition, and ABC Good Morning America, Fox 21 News, and TLC/Discovery discussing the harm of sex addiction and the joys of recovery.
Cory’s books include: Out of the Darkness, Into the Light the Workbook, Into the Light the Steps, Ashes to Beauty the Steps, 301 Dating Ideas, 301 Conversational Ideas, 301 Ways to Say I Love You, 301 Ways to Love Your Children & 301 Recovery Tools & Tips.