Happily Ever After: 12 Keys for Lifelong Intimacy healthy, loving relationship

Happily Ever After:
12 Keys for Lifelong Intimacy
techniques, ideas and practices for staying in a
healthy, loving relationship
by Sorah Dubitsky
a 24-year happily married Ph.D
As a happily married person who's been with my husband and partner for 24 years, I'm
proud to see that our relationship keeps getting better and better. We both entered our relationship with baggage: he's my second husband; I'm his fourth wife. Yet we were determined to
have what A Course in Miracles calls a Holy Relationship. In a holy relationship, God is the
recognized source of happiness. With God in the center of our relationship, we've developed an
interdependent relationship, rather than a co-dependent relationship that so often lead to
Having a fulfilling sex life is an essential ingredient of a happy marriage. In the twelve
keys that follow are not only tips for creating lifelong love, but also for creating lifelong sexual
I believe in marriage. I believe that marriage is a spiritual path. The injunctions to love
and honor another through better or worse, richer or poorer, and in sickness and health, when
applied daily, create heart openings that lead to heaven. Through marriage, if you allow it, you
go to the depths of your spouse's and your own soul. When you are your soul, you know your
Self. You discover the essence of God that is you. Sacred texts from many, many traditions
recognize the sacredness that's found in the joining of male and female energy. Marriage offers
the opportunity for Unity, not just union. In Unity, all barriers are dropped and you become the
We are gods and goddesses and we're meant to know that we carry all the creative
power of the universe within us. I also believe that we're meant to enjoy our time here on earth
and use the time to live life to the fullest, so that by the time we leave here we can way, Wow
What a great trip!
Do not worry about living the keys sequentially. They're meant to be lived at once, even
though you may not practice each one every day. In time they will become habits, habits that
will help you live happily ever after.
Dr. Sorah Dubitsky
Pembroke Pines, Florida
copyright ©2006 Sorah Dubitsky
Happily Ever After:
the 12 Keys for Lifelong Intimacy
Key 1: Keep God in the center of your relationship
Key 2: Sensuality, sexuality and spirituality are all the same thing
Key 3: Your spouse is your best friend
Key 4: Cultivate an attitude of gratitude
Key 5: Make pleasure a priority
Key 6: Trust
Key 7: Let go of neediness
Key 8: Keep your energy up
Key 9: Stay sexy
Key 10: Experiment, experiment, experiment
Key 11: Is your lovemaking motivated by your lower chakras?
Key 12: Bring problems to the light
Key 1. Keep God in the center of the relationship
Seeking the high road first is the key to staying married. Seeking the high road means
stopping the blame and shame game and turning within to ask God to help you handle everything. If you're having a fight with your spouse, stop and pray.
Remember that when you make love, you're making love to the Beloved, the god/goddess essence in your partner. In tantra, as in Kabbalah and other teachings, the body's central
core, running along the spinal chord, is seen as a channel for universal energy. In tantra it's
called a flute. There are seven energy centers that lie along this channel. When all seven centers
are open, universal energy, called kundalini, chi, prana among others, runs freely along the central flute. Think about being God's instrument. When the Song of Songs in the Bible talks about
union with the beloved, this is the experience it talks about.
To begin having this kind of experience, means slowing down and discovering every
inch of your partner's body with every single one of your senses. Close your eyes. Imagine that
you had to Braille your way around your spouse's body. How sensitive can your fingers
become? Can you feel where your spouse is warm, where she's cool? Where are the dips?
Where are the bumps? Where are the curves? What about listening to her? What sounds is her
body making? What about smells? Are you afraid to smell your spouse's humanity? What about
taste? Sweet or salty? Finally, look at every inch of your spouse's body. Can you love the flaws?
Sex in an atmosphere of unconditional positive regard is the epitome of safety. Imagine
floating on an ocean and being certain that the current will carry you safely from destination to
If something's blocking you from physically sensitizing yourself to your spouse, then
pray. Ask for help in figuring out what the block is. Sensitized touching literally leads to the
ability to do hands on healing.
Years ago I took a class with a Rabbi who drew the Hebrew letters for God's name, YodHeh-Vov-Heh) on a blackboard in a vertical column. The completed figure looked like a little
person, with a head, shoulders and arms, torso, and legs. The words "made in the image and
likeness of God" took on new meaning for me. To be God-like is to heal and uplift like Jesus
did. So to use sex as an attack is to debase one's own Divinity. Didn't Jesus also say that the
Kingdom of Heaven is within? A Course in Miracles says that you are the Kingdom.
Key 2: Sensuality, sexuality and spirituality are all the same thing.
I see the relationship between sexuality, sensuality and spirituality like a funnel of energy that fills the human body. The top of the funnel is as wide as the cosmos and narrows
through the torso, then ends at the genitals. Imagine taking all the energy of the universe - the
same energy that created the universe - and funneling it into one specific body part. The body
as funnel image for universal energy - or Spirit - is found in many spiritual traditions. And as
one rabbi told me, you can't know God until you've had an orgasm.
Sex is exciting because it is the creative impulse. It is the urge to merge with something
greater. At its best it's an awakening of the body electric. The body electric is called chi, prana,
kundalini, vitality, life force, and juice. To me, the key to having a continuously juicy sex life
and a continuously juicy marriage is sensuality. Sensuality is delighting in all the pleasures life
has to offer. Sensuality is savoring. Sensuality stimulates all the senses.
Savoring is sexy. Savoring leads to a juicy life. Savoring sensuous pleasure also leads to
a feeling of satiety, like a contented Buddha.
Key 3. Your spouse is your best friend
The highly regarded psychologist John Gottman has been researching marriage for
many years. He says that he can tell within the first seven seconds of listening to a couple argue
whether or not that marriage will break up. Couples that treat one another with scorn will more
than likely get divorced.
How do you treat your best friend? Do you put him or her down? Is there competition
between you? Is there unconditional positive acceptance? Is there forgiveness? Is there respect
and admiration? Too many people forget that marriage is also about friendship. Once the initial
sexual excitement has worn off, it's your friendship that's going to help you keep the flames
Here are some suggestions for staying friends.
1. Be kind to each other. Kindness includes not trying to hurt each other, but more
importantly, it means helping each other.
2. Always focusing the other's positive attributes.
3.Wanting the other to succeed.
4 Equality; no competition.
5. Laugh together.
6. Take time for common interests.
7. Respect each other's intelligence, ideas and opinions, even though you may disagree.
8. Be honest.
Key 4. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude
Psychological research on happiness has shown that married people are more happy
than non-married people. Yet it's not known whether marriage causes happiness or whether people who are happy are more likely to get married and stay married. If someone is happy with
himself or herself, if someone is self-accepting and self-forgiving, it stands to reason that that's
how he or she will behave towards someone else. Happiness begets happiness.
Dr. Martin Seligman, in his book Authentic Happiness, says that happiness is comprised
of three things:
1. set value. This is your inborn temperament, genetics or personality.
2. life circumstances. Life's circumstances are external forces that help shape us. They
affect different people in different ways and at different times people react differently to what's
3. voluntary control. Voluntary control has to do with those things we can change. To
me, the most important attribute I can change is my attitude. Gratitude is the best happiness
attitude you can develop.
In my practice in working with couples, I hear a lot of bitching and complaining - the
"he doesn't bring me flowers any more syndrome." When these couples spend more time on
what's good about him or her, a shift occurs. Couples I know who have broken up, miss having
a best friend. I ask them whether they ever told their partner that they were grateful for them.
Here's an exercise to try with your spouse: Make a gratitude list about your spouse - no
more than seven items - and then read your list to one another. Listen to what it feels like to be
told good things. What does that feel like in your body? Can you relish in the joy of being told
you're great.
One of the things that fades in marriages is enthusiasm. Focusing on what you're grateful for in your spouse will take you back to an appreciation of what attracted you to him or her
in the first place. What was that initial excitement? What was that initial WOW when you first
laid eyes on him or her? Just by taking time to be grateful, you can rekindle the WOW and then
have great fun in the bedroom or the kitchen or wherever you happen to be.
Key 5: Make pleasure a priority
Pay attention to whether you limit pleasure. When things are going great in your life
relationship, do you start to worry about what could go wrong? Are you the type of person who
deflects compliments? Do you focus on all the good you have or do you focus on what's lacking?
I think the greatest tool for beginning to learn the art of pleasure is to start with loving
your body. Many people are dissatisfied with their bodies: they're too tall, too short, too fat, too
thin, etc. etc. But for better or worse, we only get one body in each life time, no matter how
many replacement parts or augmentations are available.
How do you treat your body? Do you pamper it? It doesn't take a lot of money or time
to pamper your body. It's more a question of attitude. When you shower or bathe, do you do it
with love or disdain? Do you marvel at your body's magnificence? Do you abuse it by feeding
it junk, eating on the run, or working 24/7? Do you try to keep it strong and toned? Do you
allow enough time for rest?.
If the body is the temple of the living God, then you need to treat your body as if it's a
sacred instrument. There's a radiance that people who treat themselves well exude. These people are comfortable in their own skins. They have a sense of vitality that's a natural turn on.
It's also important to schedule time for pleasure with your spouse. Get a baby sitter; take
the phone off the hook, shut down the computer. What do you both enjoy? Do you like movies
or music? How about reading out loud to one another? Get dressed up or get naked. Go out or
stay home. Light some candles, burn some incense. Learn couple massage. Take hot baths
together. Ask your spouse what he or she really, really enjoys.
Key 6: Trust
In a marriage that's devoted to being a spiritual union, there are three types of trust. One
is trust in oneself; another is trust in one's partner, and the third, and most important type of
trust - is trust in God.
Self-trust is the knowledge that if I'm honest and open, I am still okay. Even if I've made
mistakes, I'm still okay. Any mistake I've made can be corrected if I'm willing to allow for correction. Self trust is being naked and vulnerable. There's more to being naked than just taking
your clothes off. Being truly naked means revealing your soul.
Oceanic orgasms need trust. The abandon needed to feel the expansion and dissolution
of the self requires a level of surrender that only can occur in an atmosphere of trust: trusting
your partner and trusting yourself. When there's trust, there's relaxation because there's an
absence of fear of judgment.
Couples can increase their level of trust in each other by answering the following questions.
1. Do I judge my own or my spouse's behavior? Let's face it, when living with someone
you witness EVERYTHING there is about that person. Accepting your spouse's warts and pimples, or worse, means that you can accept your own.
2. Do I judge my own or my spouse's emotions? Trust in a marriage is a two-way street.
The key to being able to receive your spouse's emotions without being reactive is to learn how
to listen. Many times, all that's required is to let your spouse know that you've heard his or her
concerns and that you understand.
3. Do I judge my own or my spouse's thoughts? Some people are afraid to share what
they really think for fear of being ridiculed. Yet, what's suppressed gets expressed whether we
like it or not, although it might take a different form. If your goal in your relationship is SelfRealization, then you need to allow secrets to surface safely.
4. Trusting God is really the most important type of trust. In a spiritual relationship, all
doubts, fears, worries, shame, blame, guilt, get handed over to God before being handed to
one's spouse. Anyone on a spiritual path is learning how to discern the "still small voice" that
the bible talks about. Through prayer and stillness, God's will makes itself known.
Key 7: Let go of neediness
When I was a little girl, I dreamed of being carried off on a great white horse by Prince
Charming and living happily ever after. The conventional idea of marriage at that time was that
"he would meet all my needs and I would meet all his needs and this would be a match made in
This is actually the formula for a match made in hell, especially once the horniness hormones have worn off. No one person can meet all the needs of another person. Continually
pouring water into a cracked vessel will not keep the vessel full. A needy person is like a
cracked vessel. And the only way to keep the vessel full is to repair the cracks.
Letting core neediness issues surface honestly frees both parties in the relationship. Here
are some questions you need to pray about when neediness arises. It's only through prayer, or
dialog with your holy self, that you will unearth the roots of your neediness. Here are some key
questions to ask.
1. What is the core issue under the need?
2. What am I afraid of?
3. I f my partner can't meet this need, then what?
4. Does this need really have to be met?
5. What do I need to change, accept, or let go of to be at peace?
6. Can I put someone else's needs ahead mine?
I met a couple at a party recently who had been married almost 60 years. The husband
still carried his wife's high school graduation picture in his wallet and enthusiastically made
sure everyone at the party saw it. His wife spoke about how, with his support, she went back to
work when she was 72 (she was now 80).
The Greek root of enthusiasm is "en theos" which means with God" When you enthusiastically adore your spouse, you're seeing her or him through the eyes of God. But that can't
happen if neediness is clouding your vision.
Key 8 - Keep your energy up
Staying sexy is a function of energy. Sexual boredom is stuck energy. Every new relationship has the excitement of discovery. It's part of the adrenaline rush.
But depending on externals for excitement is leading a reactive life. Depending on externals for
excitement leads to the "more bigger better faster" syndrome; one constantly looks for something outside of oneself for the next high. This is how addictions develop. A proactive life finds
the juice on the inside. A proactive life is a life in which mind, body and spirit are balanced.
There's enough chi to call on whatever quality is needed, within our particular range, whether
it's physical strength and stamina or emotional well-being.
The best way to keep your chi levels high is to treat yourself well each day. Ask your
partner to join you in making health and vitality a priority. The journey is more fun when both
partners keep their energy stores at maximum levels. What does treating yourself well mean?
1. Are you eating fresh, nutritious foods?
2. Are you resting?
3. Do you take time to give and receive love on a daily basis?
4. Do you exercise?
5. Are you learning something new each day?
6. Are you remembering to think about what you love and enjoy as often as possible
during the day? Thinking loving thoughts changes you biochemically. You secrete happy hormones. Happy hormones mean better sex.
Key number 9: Stay sexy
I just saw the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith starring Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. The
movie lacked any believability; Angela and Brad both played assassins for hire who worked for
competing firms. The entire plot revolved around whether they would kill each other or live
together happily ever after. The difference between the Brad and Angelina characters and other
couples is that by 21st century U.S. standards, they are sexually perfect. Angelina's pouting lips
symbolize engorged labia ripe for intercourse. Her swollen lips along with her fiery eyes, long
neck, and tiny waste, are sexually desirable characteristics found in many cultures. And of
course Brad's school boy/tough guy/surfer persona offers something for every woman.
But for those of us who do not look like Brad and Angelina - everyone else in the world
- are there ways of accentuating our positive attributes to keep our power of attraction in peak
Here are some essentials for staying sexy.
1. Self-acceptance. Being happy with yourself is the sexiest attribute anyone could have.
Liking oneself isn't conceit. There's a quote by Rabbi Hillel that goes something like "If I am
not for myself, than who will be?" People who like themselves aren't needy. They radiate confidence and confidence is sexy.
2. Be kind to yourself. Too many people suffer from "hurry up diseases;" they push
themselves to exhaustion. They really don't take time to slow down and actually enjoy life.
They're so busy doing, doing, doing, doing, that they are unaware of their body's subtle signs
that they are overdoing.
3. Savor every moment. Drink in the present experience. If you're driving, drive. If
you're eating, eat. If you're making love, make love. Pay attention to your internal conversation.
Is it concerned with your present activity, or are you thinking about a myriad other details that
can curtail present pleasure.
4. Stay strong. There's truth to the old adage "use it or lose it." Strength equals stamina.
I'm not suggesting becoming a body builder. I am suggesting that you find some way to keep
your muscles, especially your heart muscle, fit and toned.
5. Practice Kegel exercises - Kegel exercises are the alternating squeezing and releasing
of your pelvic muscles. Both men and women benefit from these exercises. In men, toned
pelvic muscles can help them achieve multiple orgasms. In women, toned pelvic muscles
increase sexual satisfaction.
Key 10: Experiment, experiment, experiment.
To keep the thrill in married sex - experiment, experiment, experiment. Experimentation
is one of the keys to lifelong sexuality. I look at sexuality as a spiritual path, especially within
the context of marriage. Being able to experience as much pleasure and gratification as possible
carries you into the arms of God. You know the experience of "afterglow" that follows great
sex. Sex that's fulfilling transfers the radiance and grace of afterglow to your life outside the
Three essentials for successful experimentation are consent, privacy and play. Both partners
have to agree to try something new, even though it may seem weird. No one else in the entire
world has to know what you've done. And treating sex time as play time enhances creativity.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Put on some great music and dance before sex. I like Deepak Chopra's and Friend's
readings of Rumi's poetry set to Indian trance music in A Gift of Love. But any primal rhythmic
music will do.
2. Do a sexy strip tease for your partner. There are now "strip aerobics" classes that not
only keep you fit but also keep you feeling sexy. Feeling sexy about yourself communicates.
3. Visit a sex-toy store together. Sexy lingerie shops and sex toy shops aren't just for
horny old men or brazen hussies. They're also for couples who want to discover the joy of
mutual pleasuring.
4. Do something decadent. Every once in a while Larry and I drink Bailey's Irish Crème
while making love. Bailey's has great mouth feel: it's rich and silky, with a tang that compliments the sweetness, and it warms as it goes down.
Key 11. Is your lovemaking motivated by your lower chakras?
One way to become aware of your sexual motivation is to become aware of which energy center, or chakra is driving you.
There are seven chakras that that run along the spine from about 6 inches above the
crown to the tip of the perineum. The great Mythologian Joseph Campbell said the seven centers represent stages of psychological development raging from survival to enlightenment.
Abraham Maslow's theory talks about a hierarch of needs from survival to enlightenment. The
lower three chakras have to do with lower order needs - survival, power/control, and selfesteem. Sex motivated by lower chakra energy is about performance and domination.
The first chakra (located at the perineum) is all about survival. Think about filling an
endless hunger. "If I don't have this, I'm going to die." It's related to anxiety and fear, and
orgasm is the only goal.
The second chakra sex is about power and control, lust and seduction. It's about the
game of sex, but the thrill is gone once the game is won - the thrill was in the chase, not the
Third chakra sex is about self-esteem. Although there's more awareness of your partner
than in first and second chakra sex, sex is still about performance. The 101 ways to please your
mate book title is the perfect example of third chakra.
First chakra sex can never be satisfying. Second and third chakra sex can certainly be
exciting, but it's the kind of excitement that wears off. Like eating a sumptuous Chinese meal;
two hours later you're hungry again.
If you're not having toe-curling sex, despite any techniques you've mastered, then you
really need to ask yourself which chakra is driving you. Am I trying to fill my hunger (first
chakra); am I trying to seduce or control (second chakra); am I trying to prove something (third
chakra)? By mastering the energy of the first three chakras, you pave the way to opening your
heart (fourth chakra). Once you’re heart is open, the higher chakras of expression, psychic
awareness and cosmic consciousness will open as well. Instead of performance and domination,
your sexual experiences will be exalted.
Key 12: Bring problems to the light
In a spiritual relationship that's devoted to seeing the God/Goddess within your spouse,
there's no room for hiding. The longer the problem goes unaddressed, the longer bad feelings,
doubt, insecurity, jealousy, etc., will fester.How can your spiritual radiance surface if you're
afraid to bring any problems to the light?
One of the ways I think about a relationship is "the big picture vs. the details." The big
picture is simply whether your relationship has a strong foundation. The details are the problems that come and go. It's like the sun: the sun always shines, even when it's obscured by
So, with all honesty, you need to ask whether there's still an "us." When your relationship goes bad, for any reason, it's easy to think that the grass is greener elsewhere. One of my
favorite expressions is "wherever you go, there you are." In other words, the excitement of
another relationship, or an affair, may temporarily mask your problems, but in the long run,
whatever you haven't worked out in one relationship will just resurface in another relationship.
Below are some common reasons that marriage break up
1. If the ideas we had about what our marriage would look like are more important than
the actual marriage, then the marriage won't hold.
2. Being dishonest about who they are and what they want.
3. Inequality of any kind.
4. Fear of change.
5. Blaming the other rather than looking within.
Relationships are a mirror, as is the whole world. What we see "out there" reflects our
own ideas and beliefs. It can't be otherwise. .
I don't know that all relationships are destined to be lifelong commitments. But I do
know that all relationships have the potential to teach love and forgiveness. That's the important
part. In any relationship, each partner has to take responsibility for the part he or she plays.
Psychologically, the process goes something like: What were the thought forms I was thinking
when I got into this relationship?
But spiritually, it goes deeper. The process is to continuously ask yourself: Am I a spiritual being, infinite in my capacity to love and create or am I physical being stuck in a limited
picture - helpless and hopeless?
The real foundation of a relationship, then, is Who am I? In the old testament when
Moses asks God who He is, God says I am that I am. In Eastern philosophies, the universal
sound is Aum or Om. Aum means "I am." In Sanskrit it's said tat tvam asi ("thou art that"). One
of my favorite songs goes something like, why have you come to earth, why have you taken
birth, and the chorus is "To love, to serve and to remember."
Relationships, especially marriage, offer the opportunity to remember that we are God's
creation and that the love we seek outside is already within. It takes courage and faith and commitment to live with God as your Source. When you do, you see your partner as an extension of
God as well. And then you will live happily ever after.
Sorah Dubitsky, Ph.D.
Dr. Sorah (Susan) Dubitsky has a Ph.D. in Applied Psychology from Florida
International University with a specialty in mind/body health. She is a teacher, writer, and lecturer on all areas of health and wellness and self-help including stress management, relationships, women's issues, creativity and personal productivity. Her first book, A Chorus of
Wisdom: Notes on Spiritual Living (Ulysses Press, September 2005), is available at all major
online and retail book outlets. (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1569755043/sr=81/qid=1148667077/ref=pd_bbs_1/002-4370764-4469637?%5Fencoding=UTF8).
She is the Founder of Miracle Journeys magazine, a South Florida inspirational publication, and was its publisher and editor-in-chief for seven years. She has been conducting inspirational workshops and lectures over for 20 years. Dr. Dubitsky was also the co-producer of the
Enlighten Up television series that appeared on WLRN Public Television, Channel 17 from
2000-2001. The shows featured Brian Weiss, Wayne Dyer, Barbara Brennan, Joan Borysenko,
Edgar Mitchell, as well as other nationally known figures in the field of holistic health and
healing. She had her own radio show on WAXY 790 from 2002-2003. In addition, her background encompasses 18 years of corporate work-life in New York City including executive
recruiting, advertising agency account management, and publishing.
Dr. Dubitsky's "letters to the editor" commentaries on social issues have appeared in The
Miami Herald, The Sun-Sentinel, and The New York Times. She is also a regular columnist on
United Press International's Religion and Spirituality
Forumhttp://www.religionandspirituality.com/. Her column is titled Married Sex
http://www.religionandspirituality.com/sections/columnist/index.php?Fixture_ID=sdubitsky. Dr.
Sorah writes about love, marriage, sexuality and spirituality. She also blogs at http://healingrelationships.com, and on the DailyOm web site (www.dailyom.com/).
Dr. Dubitsky is an expert in both Western and Eastern approaches to psychotherapy. She
is currently a Fellow of the Center for the Study of Spirituality at Florida International
University where she is also teaching. She also has a private practice specializing in energy
healing and spiritual coaching.