As we enter the new year, many of us have thoughts, reflections, meditations, seekings, contemplations about the past year and what changes we want to bring into our lives in the upcoming year: what is my personal purpose; what is my connection to Yiddishkeit; what is the meaning of my life; what do I value and prioritize; where to go from here; in which areas do I want to grow; what might be obstacles; what types of support do I need to work these through.
Intimacy is about sharing your thoughts and feelings. Having a someone to talk to as you develop those thoughts. Thoughts, meditations, feelings, contemplations, seekings, reflections around personal meaning, Yiddishkeit, Hashem, prayer, guidance, surrender – let’s call all these ‘spiritual intimacy’.
In these days leading up to the yomim tovim of Tishrei, try to carve time for this type of spiritual intimacy – for sharing your thoughts, what you have learned, what you are grappling with, what you’d like for your family or yourselves as a couple.
Caveat: Just like all areas of intimacy, you are being invited into sacred and personal space of your spouse. And in that space, be curious and supportive, not judgmental or ridiculing. Bolster and ask questions.
–> “Tell me more about that.”
–> “I see that you have been thinking about this a while; I’d curious to hear more.”
–> “What inspired that thinking?”
–> “How does that thought work with this other [thought]?”
–> “That is an interesting thought; so, what does look like in real life examples?”
–> “If you were to incorporate that into your life, what changes might I expect?”
–> “What changes would we all need to make?”
–> “What smaller steps can we make?”
–> “I can see how that would be interesting to you; I’m not yet ready for that.”
If you are the one sharing, tell the other what you hope from the conversation. Do not impose or insist on changes from your spouse. Talk only about your own thoughts and processes. You might think of ways to inspire your spouse, but know that ultimately, your spouse’s spirituality and Yiddishkeit is their own.
–>“I’ve been having some thoughts about the [balance of Emunah and hishtadlus], I want to just talk out loud with a supportive sounding board. Can you be that for me now?”
–> “This something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. I’d like to incorporate more into my life.”
–> “I know this may change our schedule a bit, can we talk about how we can shift things to try to make this work.”
–> “I’m trying to make sense of this concept and how it plays out in real life; I’m still grappling through it. Do you have any thoughts?”