Peter Pearson

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Intimacy will last longer than most of the items typically exchanged as gifts this season – certainly longer than the latest trends in fashion or a digital device that will be obsolete in six months. Here are 11 ways to give or increase intimacy over the holiday season:

1. Make it emotionally safe to bring up difficult subjects.

2. Listen with openness and curiosity.

3. Attempt to draw out a fuller range of feelings during discussions and disagreements. This is how you really get to know your partner.

4. Consider your partner's desire for greater distance or closeness as expressing a need for comfort—not a personal rejection.

5. Listen without comment during disagreements, despite strong feelings being stirred.

6. Maintain perspective. See your partner as a human, not a deity or demon.

7. Be honest with yourself. True intimacy with another can’t really happen until we are intimate and honest through compassion with ourselves.

8. Dare to expose your imperfections and fears. This is especially difficult since it goes against the instinct for self-protection.

9. Avoid depending on your partner to fulfill all your emotional and social needs.

10. Don’t use affection, sex and loving behavior to reward or punish.

11. Remember that understanding is more than just repeating back what your partner is telling you. If you really understand, you will be able to recap the importance, significance and/or implication of what your partner is telling you.

Understanding and being seen are two things we all crave. Giving them is a priceless gift.

With warm thoughts for your holiday season,

Pete and Ellyn


Peter Pearson, Ph.D., Relationship & Teamwork Expert for Entrepreneur Couples

Pete has been training and coaching couples to become a strong team since 1984 when he co-founded The Couples Institute with his psychologist wife, Ellyn Bader.

Their popular book, “Tell Me No Lies,” is about being honest with compassion and growing stronger as a couple.

Pete has been featured on over 50 radio and television programs including “The Today Show,” "Good Morning America,” and "CBS Early Morning News,” and quoted in major publications including “The New York Times,” “Oprah Magazine,” “Redbook,” “Cosmopolitan,” and “Business Insider.”

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