“Tell me, my love! How can I please you?”
Interested in thrilling and delighting your mate? Today’s positive interaction provides a clue for those who wish they knew more about how to please. It’s a sneaky, yet tried and true, strategy: ask!
I’m only being half ironic when I say that. Asking questions is the best way to find out what does or does not please your lover, no matter what context your mind creates for that discussion. But there is a skill in asking too. A clumsy and ill-timed question will not build positive connection between the two of you. So here are some guidelines for sneaking up on those intimate conversations that are effective in creating a loving, comfortable atmosphere most conducive to positive communication.
1. Pick a time that is not busy.
Curiosity is a wonderful characteristic, but patience is also a virtue. If you want to find out more about what can really make your partner happy, pick a time when there is no pressure to get a task done or go somewhere else. If you are thinking that there is no time like that in your life as a couple, create one. You can set up a regular date night, or create a shared daily routine like giving each other neck rubs or back scratches before bed, taking a walk after dinner, or doing the dishes together.
2. Establish connection with affection first.
Hold your lover’s hand. Gaze into their eyes. Try to see how much love you can communicate without using words. Kiss several times. Hug each other. Show your joy in being together physically. Even if you’re doing dishes or another activity together, it’s easy to slip affectionate touches or kisses into the interaction.
3. Ease into the subject.
Tell your mate how happy you are to be in the relationship or marriage. Recount something specific they did in the last day that you appreciated. Then tell them you hope you bring them as much happiness, and wonder if there’s anything they’d like you to do more of? If they react to the question first without answering, persist. You can use statements like “I know I don’t usually ask things like this, but I am curious. What could I do more of to please you?”
4. Show acceptance and curiosity.
They may bring up something that has been a sore spot, or they may surprise you completely with their answer. Perhaps they’ll mention something you already know they love. Whatever happens, do not show any judgment or personal reaction to their comment except curiosity. Dig deeper. Interrogators know the power of silence to get a person to continue speaking. Use active listening in response to their suggestion, then have the patience to wait silently for their answer. Active listening invites more information, such as, “Tell me more about that.” “What would you love about doing more of that?” “Tell me how you would feel if I did more of that.” “Can you help me understand why that’s important to you?” “What does that look like to you?”
5. Follow through.
Inviting information from your spouse, and then failing to do anything with it, sends a very negative signal. You may have different priorities, and even after using active listening, you may not fully understand why the item is important, but honoring your lover’s request is critical. If you don’t, you will undo any good done by showing curiosity, and you will also make them more reluctant to communicate in the future.
For those of you who were thinking of moments of …ahem.. intimacy, and wondering about that conversation, the same principles apply. You have to ask to find the answer, and you need to create conditions of safety, trust and vulnerability in order the get an honest answer. You want to pick a moment when there’s plenty of time to practice the suggestion, when you have already established excitement and energy flowing between you, you need to ease into the topic by offering some insights of your own about what you find erotic in your partner, etc.
We would love to hear feedback from those of you who are using these positive interaction tips. Did the answer surprise you? Did you get a request that you think others would love to hear as a relationship tip?