(photo by Holly Wilmeth)
Guest post by: Brandon Smith (my husband!!)
Nancy Lucina is a site that focuses on the work of women: sacred pregnancy and birth, divine feminine empowerment and natural motherhood, but I wanted to offer a window into Nancy’s life from the masculine perspective, as her husband. I want to share what being with such an amazing woman is like from the perspective of her partner, as well as some practices that have enriched our relationship.
Together we guide retreats on sacred relationships and sexuality. While I deeply value separate work for men and women, I also see a very important place for sharing between the two. I want to share a glimpse into what the fruits of the work Nancy provides can look like in a relationship. I hope to inspire both men and women to awaken to their most conscious selves and create exquisitely beautiful relationships together.
My relationship with my wife, Nancy, is a gift I feel blessed by every day. Her love, support, and simply who she is as a person is so beautiful and so inspiring that I honestly do not have the words to express the gratitude I feel for her. Usually I just end up roaring like a wild cat!
Before I met her, I had an inkling of what my relationship with my spiritual partner would feel like – an intuition guiding me. I had previous relationships that were very beautiful, but there was always something that just wasn’t quite right. At times I tried to convince myself that I should just accept it because my mind told me all the reasons why I should. But that little intuitive voice wouldn’t let me, because it knew that Nancy was out there, and that she was my perfect match. And despite all the challenges of those previous relationships, I am so grateful for them and even more grateful that I followed that intuitive guidance.
Now I live in a relationship that truly gets more beautiful every day. There are times where I cannot believe the amount of love and excitement I feel for my wife and for our life together. At times, I really don’t know how it could get better, but somehow it just does – it just keeps getting more amazing, more harmonious, more loving, more connected. It is not a fairy tale, but actually beyond every fairy tale I ever read.
When a relationship begins, there are the starry eyes from newly falling in love. That period is wonderful, but if it isn’t replaced with something more substantial, then it fades away. In our time together, Nancy and I have been raising a child, started a business that failed, traveled around the world several times and been through some very challenging and dark patches where any illusions of fairy tales were unapologetically smashed by life.
When I say that our relationship is beyond fairy tales, it’s because magic has become real in our daily lives. The veil of dullness is lifted most of the time. We see ourselves living magical lives, not simply because we are together and in love, but because we choose to see life as magical. And this fairy dust of that perception makes all the difference. It’s not naïveté. We’ve been around the block enough times to have played that game before. We acknowledge life’s pain and suffering on many levels. Our love is steeped in genuine gratitude, committed to support and growth, and infused with a willingness to face our own shadows and stand in the fire when things get challenging.
Relationships don’t have to become less passionate and magical over time. The opposite can actually happen, and has been my experience with Nancy. Our love and sense of being in love has deepened and strengthened the longer we’ve been together.
While there are many people and practices that have contributed to the harmony and sustained passion of our relationship, I want to offer a few simple perspectives and practices that have helped us.
Live your individual passions.
It doesn’t matter what they are – building a company, growing a garden, travel, a sport or raising children. When we live our individual passions, that enthusiasm spills over into our relationships and nourishes them. When we feel we are grinding out each day, we arrive to our relationship depleted and prone to negativity and criticism. No part of our lives is completely separate from the others. Nourish yourself and you nourish the rest of your family.
Explore and write down three things that spark passion in your life and schedule times to do those things at least 1 – 2 times each week. Even small ways can be very helpful – a yoga / exercise class, a walk in nature, a good book, an inspiring movie, a short trip.
Accentuate the Masculine / Feminine Polarity
Over time, especially with the complexity bombarding most people, it’s easy to fall into constantly talking about the logistics of life when we have time with our partner. Our time together can begin to feel like a business meeting – organizing activities for the kids, planning the next vacation, processing work issues, etc. The masculine quality of directionality takes over when there is too much of this energy in a relationship, and things begin to feel dry. The relationship loses the feminine beauty, radiance and fullness that brings inspiration and passion.
Plan times together where you agree not to talk about logistics. Talk instead about your gratitude for one another and your life. Better yet, don’t talk at all. Instead, give each other massages and then rip each others clothes off and make love!
There is wisdom in the saying, “It’s not having what you love, but loving what you have that leads to happiness.” Easy to say, but sometimes hard to do, especially when we are bombarded by stories and images of people that seem so much “better” than us in some way – more beautiful, wealthier, more successful, smarter, happier – the list is infinite. Comparison like this is our worst enemy because it causes us to focus on what we lack instead of feeling content with all we already have. The most important element of a practice to cultivating gratitude is that we feel gratitude, not just think gratitude. But how?
“I cultivate gratitude for my partner by giving thanks to every facet of her behaviour. In my case it is easy to give gratitude when she is in her soft and feminine flow. Its more difficult when she is in her masculine and this is where some projections come up for me. But its still a wonderful opportunity to practice gratitude for to her for showing the parts of myself that still need to be loved.” —Craig White , men’s coach and men’s retreat leader
Bring to mind three things you feel the most grateful for, and allow gratitude for these things to fill you. Really feel it in your body and spend at least 3 – 5 minutes basking in this feeling. Research shows that we must sustain positive states for at least 30 seconds – 1 minute in order for them to have any lasting effect on our neurology. Three to five minutes ensures that even if our mind wanders at times, we will experience lasting gains from this practice.
If you can’t access the feeling of gratitude, here is a strategy to elicit the feeling. Bring to mind three things that offer great benefit to your life in some way. Make at least one of these a living person who is dear to your life. Now imagine the person dying – really imagine them dead – the funeral, the whole process. Then imagine your life without them – the activities you enjoy together with them no longer there. Visualize it as if it were actually true. Do the same with the other things you chose. What would it be like to be without a house, clean water, etc.? We often don’t appreciate things until they are gone, so make the blessings in your life disappear in your perception before they are gone in the material world. Then you can truly appreciate them while they are still here.
Sometimes getting naked is the answer
When things have gotten challenging in our relationship, 80+% of the time, we haven’t made love in more than 10 days. We’ve often spent hours talking and processing to no avail. Then we make love, and magically the problems disappear.
“You know that sense of deep intimacy, that secret joy, silently shared in a glance with your Lover? Share that secret with the whole world.” —Sahajananda, Tantric master and teacher
As unromantic as it may sound, in our courses and relationship retreats, we recommend to couples that they schedule in time each week to make love. Yes, you actually block off your schedule and arrange to be alone, so you can make love. Objections often arise, “What if I’m not in the mood? I don’t like to plan romance. Etc.” My response is, “If you aren’t getting enough time in bed together, why not try this strategy and see if it works for you.” What we find is that if we don’t block off time for one another, then other commitments inevitably get our time and attention, and we find we are too tired to give one another the time and energy that we deserve in the bedroom. And if we aren’t in the mood when we start, that usually shifts very quickly. From my perspective, if I’m willing to commit to a work meeting or a social engagement, why wouldn’t I to commit to spending romantic time with my partner, so we can have 2+ hours to connect in love together?
Learn your partner’s love language and give them what they want
A book that has been very helpful for us is the 5 Love Languages, which posits that people feel loved in 5 main ways – physical affection, quality time, acts of service, words of praise and gifts, each of which is considered a different “love language”. The theory goes that we all have a primary love language that when we receive it, touches us deeply (i.e. we feel more loved). Often in relationships people have different love languages. One partner gives love in the way that he/she wants to receive it not realizing that it isn’t what their partner really wants. Feelings of frustration, lack of appreciation, and confusion are often the result. We’ve found this to be a very helpful framework.
Explore the ways that you and your partner most like to receive love and express your love to your partner in his/her preferred love language, not yours.
See one another as doorways to the Divine
Nancy and I see one another as manifestations of the Divine. This isn’t some ego trip about being special, but instead about valuing the infinite and eternal Spirit in one’s partner. Part of her blessing in my life is that we have a partnership where I get the opportunity to adore and worship the Divine through her. She is a direct conduit for me to connect with the spiritual world from the feminine perspective, and I offer that to her from the masculine perspective. This outlook is the foundation for our relationship.
Sit in front of your partner, looking into one another’s eyes for 5 minutes. As you look at your partner, focus on connecting with the Spirit that enlivens them as opposed to the elements of their personality and body.
I want to thank Nancy for giving me the space on her beautiful website to share my perspective and experience. I hope this article serves as inspirational words for women and men who are desiring to embody their true essence in partnership. May your relationships be full of love, passion and harmony.