This post is kind of a cheat, because while it is coming on “Love Day” it’s actually more of a Practice. It’s also going to have a bit of a narrow focus (pun intended, you’ll see) as it is aimed at dimorphic relationships. That is, relationships between two people (at a time).
For those of you polyamorous folk out there, you’ll understand why in a moment. Don’t get your knickers in a twist.
There is one particular way I know of that I am absolutely convinced will increase intimacy between any two people: eye gazing. More than daily sex, passionate emails, Argentine tango lessons, or buying a puppy together, eye gazing is the only thing I’ve ever heard of that has no downside and will definitely bring any two people closer together.
Here’s how you do it: every morning, somewhere between the muzzie-headed getting out of bed and when the two of you head off towards your respective schedules, sit down and set a timer (usually on your phone) for three minutes.
Three is a magic number, really. It’s usually too short a time to really affect your day, your commute, your arrival time at work. At the same time, it’s harder to dismiss than one or two minutes would be. Three minutes has some weight to it, gives the whole process a feeling of something that needs to be done and is too simple to reasonably avoid it.
Start the timer. And look into the other person’s eyes.
You’re going to have to fight the urge, at first, to cheat. You’ll look at their hair, their forehead, their eyebrows, the bridge of their nose, their left nostril, their right nostril, their upper lip. You’ll look at the corner of their eyes, at their cheeks, pretty much anywhere except their eyes.
That’s ok. So will they. And you’ll kind of feel a bit guilty about it, and your eyes will meet, and you’ll both smile in embarrassment, and you’ll try to meet the other persons eyes again, and slowly your gaze will slide again…and the cycle repeats.
The three minutes will feel like it lasts forever, until the timer goes off, at which point you’ll probably wonder how it went so quickly. Then you just get up and continue your day.
Eventually you’ll get better at it. It’s easier to hold the gaze for longer, you feel more comfortable with it. The three minutes become easy to do, even something to look forward to. Or else it’s something you’re dreading, because you had a fight the night before, and the “eye gazing” is more like “eye glaring.”
That’s ok, too. Do it anyway. I suspect that, like me and my partner (who practiced this for years) you’ll find that it’s a bit harder to stay mad at each other – or at least quite as mad. That if you were depressed going into the three minutes, you come out of it a bit less so. That if you were happy coming into it, you are still happy coming out, and so is your partner.
Or maybe not. Maybe it will be a struggle. But either way, it will increase intimacy. That embarrassed smile? It’s now a shared joke. That way that it becomes easier? It’s a skill you learned together. That three minutes? It’s a part of the day when all of your attention was completely focused on each other. Likely it will be the only time like that that happens for the next twenty four hours, and for most people it never happens at all.
That’s shared good fortune. Yet another process that strengthens the bonds between people.
Try eye gazing for a week. See if it doesn’t change things just a bit. It won’t solve all your problems – come on, in three minutes a day? Get real!
But it is very likely to make your day three minutes better.