When you and your partner come together, the level of insecurity that each of you brings to the relationship will limit the level of intimacy you will experience. If you build a wall of protection around yourself and your heart, you’ll never experience the kind of intimate sex that is possible when both individuals are willing to see and be seen by their partner. By letting go of your reservations and pushing away your fear of letting someone else in, you’ll reach an elevated level of intimacy you’ve never known before.
Try Kissing with Your Eyes Open
In his book, Passionate Marriage, Dr. David Schnarch recommends that couples who are battling to connect sexually should try kissing with their eyes open – specifically as a tool during foreplay leading up to sex. When you move in for a kiss, don’t close your eyes. Keep them open and look right at your partner. This technique will not magically remedy your relationship. The purpose is to get you to actually look at your partner and let them look at you. It’s about confronting your insecurities so you can deepen your intimacy. Yes, it will likely feel awkward at first—but that’s all part of the process.
Testing the Eyes-Open Kissing Technique
According to Dr. Schnarch, the first time you try kissing with your eyes open, “All you’re aware of is eyeballs. Actually, eyes-open kissing makes us acutely aware of ourselves. You have an extreme sense of proximity and exposure to your partner. Often you want to ‘back-off.’” (198) This new technique is going to take some time to get used to. The awkward sensation “demonstrates how we have learned to tune out our partner and ourselves in order to function sexually.” (198) Kissing with open eyes forces people to become aware of themselves, specifically what they’re thinking and feeling.
How to Start Kissing Your Partner with Your Eyes Open
One couple mentioned in Dr. Scharch’s book describe the uncomfortable experience they had when they started kissing with their eyes open. The wife admitted that she had to face a number of internal questions, such as:
- What if I see things I don’t want to see?
- What’s going on in my own head? What’s going on in his?
- What kind fo reaction am I going to get?
- What am I afraid he’ll see in me?
If you’re feeling intimidated, you’re not the only one. In general, people are afraid of being rejected, even from the person who vowed to love them for the rest of their lives. If you’re nervous about what your spouse might see in you, chances are very high that your partner has the same insecurities.
Part of the process of eyes-open intimacy is being brave enough to tell your partner the truth about any fears or desires you have for your relationship. As Paul encourages us in Ephesians, ““But, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—…Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another.” (Eph 4:15, 25 NIV) Your commitment to honesty may cause some contention at first, but once the issues have been worked through and resolved, you will experience a deeper level of closeness than before.
Why Should I Try it?
Creating awkwardness probably seems like a crazy way to enhance intimacy – but by going through the process of looking at your partner and allowing them to look at you, you’re stepping out from the self-made walls you’ve built and squashing your own insecurities. You’re making a choice to overcome the fear of rejection. By taking this step, you break the chains that have bound you – the tangled chains of constantly questioning your spouse’s opinion of you.
Initiating this change can be scary, and will likely be met with some resistance. As Dr. Schnarch points out, “It takes two to keep your marriage the same; it only takes one to change it… You are likely to hear accusations such as, ‘You’re making a mistake’ or ‘You’ll destroy our relationship’ more than once before the benefits kick in.” (199, 202) But – there will be benefits, and they will be worth it.
Why Does this Work?
Kissing with your eyes open will cause at least one (eventually both) of you to think about how you approach intimacy, and to consider what is holding you back. Kissing is merely an appetizer, but it says a lot about how you communicate in your relationship and during sex. As Dr. Schnarch explains, “Foreplay is where we negotiate the levels of intimacy, eroticism, meaning, and emotional connection (or lack thereof) in what follows next.” (190)
Looking your spouse in the eye will not repair your relationship – but dealing with your insecurities about sex and marriage will.
Take Your Time
This process doesn’t work overnight. Working through years worth of fears and insecurities takes time. In general, people do not like change – yet the change journey is often how God refines couples. Paul’s final instructions in his letter to the Thessalonians were about mutual edification: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (I Thess. 5:11 NIV) The same is true for married couples. You cannot improve your marriage or yourselves unless you are willing to endure periods of pain and stress. The process of self-improvement is not an easy one, but the results are worth it.
If you and your spouse are having a hard time connecting emotionally and/or sexually, consider meeting with a professional Christian counselor in Spokane. They are trained to pinpoint the issues that may be hindering your intimacy and will help you develop a feasible plan to enhance communication, remove the roadblocks, and achieve the closeness you desire.
Dr. David Scharch’s book, “Passionate Marriage”
“Kiss Me,” courtesy of Pexels, pixabay.com, CC0 Public Domain License; “Winter Kissing,” courtesy of freestocks.org of Olsztyn, Poland, unsplash.com, CC0 Public Domain License; “Good Morning, Love,” courtesy ErikaWittlieb, pixabay.com, CC0 Public Domain License