There are so many vital components that are part of amazing relationships that it is hard to pick out just one thing. But if you ask around you’ll certainly hear many possibilities. Some might say it is in the bedroom, others say it’s in finding ways to make your partner laugh. I have many friends who swear that it’s all about weekly date nights and finding things you can enjoy doing together. While these are all true and totally valid points, what I keep coming back to is communication. With that in tow, the other sides of the relationship can come to fruition with much greater ease. The secret to long lasting success is in the ability to share the important and the everyday things. On some level, we all want to be heard, felt and appreciated -especially by the person we are building our life with. This is not new information, but even if we generally know this to be true, if you’re anything like me then you know that effective communication can be a struggle. That expression ‘men are from Mars and women are from Venus’ comes to mind as a way to express how difficult it can be at times to find common ground and to know how to relate to your partner. So how to help improve this most challenging of situations and what is life like when you can effectively bridge the gap? What I suggest is to explore the notion that communicating is done in many ways and not only through words. In fact we can run into trouble when we rely entirely on words for building strong communication with our partner. It can be with a look, with body language, and most certainly through touch. In fact from my perspective, learning to use your hands (and the rest of your body) with the help of incredible skilled touch is such an effective way to communicate. When you and your partner can learn to massage and stretch each other in a way that is at least as good to give as it is to receive so many amazing things happen. First of all you can develop a life-long skill that can be used to help release stress, relax deeply, and even assist in reducing or getting rid of each other’s aches and pains. Furthermore you have something you can learn together and can do regularly as a couple that gives you an amazing and interesting activity to grow into. This is a way to help each other improve the physical quality of your life both in the moment and for decades to come. And the fact is the ability to massage and touch with care is innate and universal. There are many things you can learn in a short amount of time that are both safe and effective; you just have to be reminded of what you already know. Beyond all of the physical benefits to skilled touch are all the ways this can help the dynamic of your relationship. The fact that you will be able to skillfully massage your partner means that each time you do it, you have this perfect way to show you care and a way to say ‘I love you’ that is incredibly meaningful. And the way you learn how to massage is from a place of heartfelt compassion and kindness where you acknowledge that your partner is your most important teacher. So it will compel both of you to share what you like and how to improve in a structured environment. It may bring up some ‘baggage’ and old patterns, but as long as the receiver can focus on positive words to express what he or she likes and the giver can remain open to the idea that his or her partner is trying to help with how to get better, the potential for building a stronger relationship is huge. In fact what I have seen is how the power of skillful touch can be totally transformative. I have couples sharing how learning this together has helped wipe the slate clean allowing for a new and positive place from which to get to know each other. What’s more, the lessons and the benefits of the massage have the ability to spill over into all parts of your life. It can help put you in a better mood, see things in a more positive light and help with all the people you come into contact with. I think it is fair to say that most if not all of us would like to live a life of peace. And when you find something that helps you to feel great while helping your partner to feel amazing and you learn a skill together that breaks down old patterns and rebuilds positive communication, then you’ve found something that can be a huge catalyst for wonderful changes. These changes are all aimed towards a higher quality of everyday life and best of all it’s in the tips of our fingers- so accessible to one and all.
Shai Plonski is a co-founder of the Still Light Centre in Toronto, and a skilled trainer of Thai Massage. In this episode of A Congruent Life, Shai