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Wednesday, July 10, 2013
What are you saying to your spouse with your eyes?
It is said that the eyes are the window to the soul.
Research supports the fact that we have been biologically and socially programmed to recognize non-verbal communication signals from someone by what they do with their eyes.
Your eyes speak volumes to your spouse, so what are you saying with your eyes?
The Look of Affection
There is a look my wife gives me that rocks my world.
It's a look that says I love you, I want you, I need you and I'm so glad we are one - all at the same time. It's a sparkly-eyed look that is more than a glance, but not quite a stare, accompanied by a slight, sweet, knowing smile.
That look tells me we are in a good place and intimacy is thriving. It's a look I love to reflect back to her, with my own eyes of affection and desire. This is the kind of look we long to live in.
But the truth is that we don't live there. I, for one, am often distracted. My eyes too often shift to the many other things that fill my life and thoughts.
My wife recognizes my looks of distraction. My eyes remain unfocused, as if looking past or through her, while contemplating some stressful situation, some difficult problem, my busy schedule or my to do list. This look makes her feel unimportant and lets her know I am essentially absent, even though we are occupying the same space.
Since contemplating this post in the past week or two, I've been much more aware of how I look at my wife and what I do with my eyes while we engage. I'm trying to be more deliberate about giving looks of true affection. I want to give eye contact in a way that lets her see through to the love for her that is in my heart.
If Looks Could Kill
There's another look we all know. It's a of disdain and disapproval. The eyes narrow, the brow furrows.It's the expression of the eyes that led to the saying "if looks could kill..."
Nobody wants to be on the receiving end of this look. In differing circumstances the meaning of the look may vary, but it's never good. "You are an idiot." "I don't believe you." "How dare you?" "You are making me really angry." Typically this look will cause the receiver to look away or cover their eyes in shame.
Of course, at times a death stare may be well-deserved. A major screw-up. A deceit uncovered. A hurtful phrase tossed out carelessly. These all warrant a less than favorable look.
But grace in marriage tells us to go beyond the deserved and into the unmerited. That's how God treats us. It's how we should respond to one another.
Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.
Psalm 34:5 (NIV)
Because of Jesus, God never looks upon us with disgust or disdain. Instead we receive only his love and blessing, no matter what. His eyes are always on us, and they are only full of affection.
So next time you are tempted to give the look of death, try giving a look of affection instead. The look of death never did anything to heal a relationship, so don't bother with it. I'm not saying you have to approve of every bad behavior. But I am saying that it's much easier to resolve issues if you can maintain a connection during conflict, which looks of affection can help you do. Looks of affection speak life instead of death into a situation.
Lights On, Eyes Open
What do you do with your eyes when you make love? Do you ever have lights-on, eyes-open sex?
Dr. David Schnarch describes the experience this way
Eyes-open sex is not simply a matter of two pairs of eyeballs staring at each other (indeed, people can hide behind a blank stare), but a way to intensify the mutual awareness and connection begun during foreplay; to really "see" and "be seen" is an extension of feeling and being felt when touching one another. But if allowing oneself to be known by touch is threatening, actually being seen can be positively terrifying. Bravely pursuing eyes-open sex in spite of these misgivings helps couples not only learn to tolerate more intimacy, it increases differentiation--it requires a degree of inner calm and independent selfhood to let somebody see what's inside your head without freaking out.Some describe intimacy with the play on words "into me see." There's no more appropriate and powerful place for seeing deeply into one another than during sexual intimacy. If you haven't tried eyes-open foreplay, intercourse and orgasm, I suggest you challenge yourself to give it a try and watch the intimacy level of your lovemaking expand significantly.
There's lots more I could explore in how our eyes affect intimacy and communication in marriage, but I'll leave it there and invite you to share your own "eye experiences." What kind of look do you and your spouse share? Leave a comment below and let us know.
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