Relationship Habit of the Month: Nurture intimacy

An article titled '36 questions that lead to love' in the NY times from 13/02/15 captured our attention at Goachi. The post talks about a study of psychologist Arthur Aron, who wanted to know if total strangers could be made to fall in love with each other by accelerating intimacy in a 45-minute interview set-up. In his experiment, two strangers share turns asking each other 36 questions. They are broken into 3 sets, each set is intented to be more intimate than the one before. And the experiment ends with the pairs staring in each others eyes for four minutes. It might seem like a rediculous recipe for love, but it worked. Two couples ended up getting getting married and invited the whole lab to the wedding!

Intrigued by these 36 powerful questions, I decided to test the effect it would have on me and my husband. Would I feel the butterflies as strongly as I did 12 years ago? Would I learn unexpected things about my husband's inner life (like that he has one?! ;)). Would we have a spiritual experience and end up having passionate sex? So, I decided to ask my husband to end the day with this little test. What did I have to lose anyways?! Well at first, it seemed like my dignity and an otherwise perfectly fine evening! My husband, with a mix of mockery, irritation and desperation in his eyes, gasped 'You've got to be kidding. Are you serious? You really believe in this stupid little test? And besides, aren't we in love already?!'. Ah, how sweet and nice try. But I really wanted to do this.

'It's out of scientific interest and I"m writing an article for Goachi on it, honey'. Good thing my husband is a rational guy with a good heart, so five minutes later we were sitting in the front of the fireplace with a glass of wine, ready for our double interview.

At first, I was slightly amused and irritated at the same time by my husband's attempts to make the whole thing seem silly and get it over with as fast as possible. But by the third question 'Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say. Why?' he started to get really interested in my answers. The answer was 'Yes' and I was touched by his obvious concern, as he worried that my life must be quite stressful if I go through the agony of preparing phonecalls. Yes, he's the typical loveable and yet punchable guy who wants to solve his wife's problems.

By question 8 'Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common', we were totally into the conversation. It was just him and me talking about life in front of the fireplace. And now and then, we remembered to check what the next question was. 

I didn't really discover new things about my husband, but I was definitely touched many times during the exercise. We talked about our relationships with our mothers, what we would change about our lives and what we loved and respected about each other. His answer to question 21 'What roles do love and affection play in your life?' was 'It's everything. It's the canvas on which all the rest is painted.' Melt.

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Unfortunately we didn't up having passionate sex that night (Ok, I know, Arthur didn't make any promises about sex!), but we certainly did enjoy the intimate conversation and had a wonderful evening. And by the time we got to the 4-minute 'looking in the eyes' part, the butterflies were all back. I looked into the same eyes I fell in love with 12 years ago (honesty obliges me to mention that I also noticed his hair is a lot greyer now. Sorry, I know, but 4 minutes is a long time you know!).

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One thing that Arthur Aron did prove for me, is that intimacy can be planned for. You can create a setting and a mindset for intimacy. It's about making time, creating the moment and being in it.

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Sarah Cherif
Sarah Cherif




March 14, 2015

We have been married going on 27 years and 3 deruhtags later . We are blessed to have so much alone time here and there. Our oldest is 24 and then there is the 19 yr old and the 14 yr old. At times, the girls will be house-sitting for others and we get time to be empty-nesters for the weekend. I try to spend time with him with whatever he is doing. Watching some nature show on TV or working with his leather-works . he loves for me to just sit close by and chat here and there as he works. I usually have my laptop or iPad with me but he doesn’t mind.Once a year, in Oct, we try to always take a trip out of town together for a week of us-time . We talk about everything But on a daily thing . I try to have a hot meal for him at supper time, clean clothes and a clean bedroom for him to relax in. Clean sheets on the bed weekly can say so much to a tired a man .And I also try to go to bed at the same time with him, even if I am not tired yet. Just some of the little things that I do .. Oh, one more thing . when he gives me a budget to stick to when shopping, it means so much to him when I respect him and stick to what he has asked . it’s these little things that mean so much to him


March 13, 2015

I have been dying to read this book!! I absolutely adore my hsanubd & I am so thankful God chose us for each other. We have been married almost 8 years and it has been a wild ride!6 years ago we picked a spot on the map & packed up all we had to move across the country. We wanted a different life for our family than we had growing up. We purchased a to-be-built home in February, found out we were pregnant in July, learned that it was twins in September & moved in October!Everything from there forward has been nothing but crazy; out of work for almost a year then two hour (each way) commuting for 2 1/2 years. 4 house moves, 3 home purchases, 2 home sales & another baby (for a total of 3 kids!) all in 5 years & we’re still madly in love While childcare & finances are often roadblocks to dates, we make time to connect as we can. I respect, support & encourage his decisions. I rest assured that he has my best interest at heart & he knows that I trust him completely. We leave love notes for each other often & I do my best to let him know each day that we were thinking of him and appreciate his time away at work.However, as a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom to 3 kids under 5 1/2, I find myself exhausted & struggling. I am discovering how much my self-esteem ties into the bedroom and how I struggle with the balance of taking care of the kids, the house & the marriage. I know in my head & heart that the marriage has to come first, but I need some practical ideas, insight & encouragement. Sorry for the lengthy comment & thank you!

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