You may be married. You may have kids. You may have been together for some time. In any case, you can’t seem to find the fire in your romance anymore. What can you do? No amount of inspiration works. You know that flowers, chocolates, exotic trips, and dinner dates all seem to come up empty over time. Is there something missing in your relationship? How can you genuinely connect and deepen the passion for each other?

You may reminisce of earlier times such as the “getting-to-know-you” stage where everything was new, exciting, and fun. But now, you’re in the bored, tired, “know-too-much-of-you” stage. This can be an excruciating time for couples. Short of having an affair or cheating on your partner (which I’m not advocating), nothing gets your pulse pounding when it comes to relationships. What now??

Valentine’s Day has come and gone and the Hallmark holiday may have re-ignited a flicker in your heart. But you know it’s just that, a flicker. A flicker that won’t keep your heart lit any more than a birthday candle that eventually must be blown out.

How do you connect more deeply with the core of your being to your beloved? I think part of it is altering the content of your conversations. Let’s drop the safe discussions about kids, homework, work-related stresses, and other daily matters. It’s time to go where you don’t want to go. Expose yourself. Your partner may have seen you naked hundreds of time but has he/she seen you undress yourself emotionally for the sake of intimacy? Stripped of your ego, defenses, or pride, can you truly be more vulnerable with yourself and your partner?

You may ask, “What does this look like?” Well, be open first with disappointments in your life. Maybe you’re disappointed that the marriage or relationship isn’t where it should be and making that statement could free you to more genuine dialogue. Keep in mind this is not meant as an indictment against your partner or your relationship but just a reflection of your own state of being. Maybe you’re disappointed in other areas of life. Maybe, you have fears that have never been revealed. Maybe, you harbor resentment from past hurt from your mate or others that you can’t seem to let go. You may have thought forgiveness would be simple. Yet, you now realize it’s still simmering underneath a veil of kindness or condescension and apathy.

Maybe you’ve felt controlled by your partner for many years and are stuck in a passive mode of relating and are on the verge of exploding. As an Asian American, you may be in a relationship where you’ve never felt like you had the right to ask your partner to meet some deep needs. The very act of asking for something in a relationship is a risk in itself and must not be forgotten.

Maybe you suffer greatly from low self-esteem and are afraid to ever upset your partner for fear of losing the relationship. Whatever the case, the path to deeper intimacy is not dancing around the issues in your relationship but being brave enough to talk about them openly, even at the cost of rejection.

So where’s the fire? Well, I believe the fire is within each of us. But we must be willing to light the fire that exposes the truths about ourselves, however painful. We must embrace that reality and as we do so, you will move towards a more authentic relationship with yourself and as a result, a deeper and more satisfying relationship with your significant other.

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