Tu B’Av is one of the most joyous days in the Jewish calendar. This ‘semi-chag’ was originally celebrated as a matchmaking day for single men and women in the Second Temple Period. In modern times, it has been referred to as the “Jewish Day of Love”. Some even mark it by giving chocolates and love notes to their partner.
Celebrating such a happy day just 6 days after Tisha b’Av – the most tragic date in Jewish history – Tu B’Av is the ultimate, ‘Bounce Back Holiday’. This is a testament to our Nation’s resilience – our ability to, time and time again, recover and thrive beyond adversity.
In any relationship, it is normal to experience a lull in passion. Let’s celebrate this Tu B’Av by learning how to bounce back!
Here are ‘5 Intentions to Increase Desire’ :-
“I am committed to you” – in Judaism, we believe in commitment before the act of love. This can be seen in the marriage ceremony, where first the couple commits themselves to each other with the Kiddushin (betrothal) ceremony. Only after that do they step into the Nisuin (marriage) ceremony. The couple first pledges loyalty to one another and to their relationship. Naturally, this fosters a sense of security, where each person then feels safe to open up to the other, without holding back due to fear of abandonment or rejection.
Focusing on your commitment to one another creates an environment of emotional safety and reaffirms your intentions to invest in your relationship.
“I like you” – I joke with my husband that while we may always love each other, that doesn’t necessarily mean we always like each other! There is intrinsic love that brings a couple together. However, a lasting, fun, dynamic relationship requires self-generated love – the love that is built through healthy interactions, communication and investment. It is about consistently creating positive experiences together. A couple that has fun together – sharing knowing smiles and personal jokes – develops a unique warmth and glow in its relationship. These two people like each other! This is a vital prerequisite for sharing more passionate intimacy. Naturally, we want what we like.
Focus on one attribute you like about your partner and pinpoint a moment you saw that quality play out today. Nurture connection by verbalising it to your spouse.
Focusing on what you like in your partner fosters appreciation, warmth and generates love!
“I want you” – now things start to heat up. We have a couple who are having fun, feeling safe and playful. The next step is to let the body take over. But wait – so often we then get stuck in our heads! “Yeah, I want you… but the dishes aren’t put away, I have a full schedule tomorrow, maybe I’d rather just go to sleep”. Our minds are just not in the bedroom – we’re thinking about interactions with our colleagues, our children’s playdates and whether we’ve signed the school permission slip… and on and on!
Getting out of this ‘mind funk’ is essential to allowing our bodies to venture into an aroused and sensual state. A tip I teach my kallot (brides) is to focus on a mantra such as “I want you”.
As you are now in this safe and fun space together with your spouse, focusing on lustful thoughts about the other can help kick your body into gear!
“I enjoy you” – Sexual pleasure emerges from the delights that are shared in the private space between a loving couple. When feelings of warmth, love, appreciation and gratitude build up to sexual pleasure, there is an intrinsic holiness, which no experience on earth can match. It is all too common that feelings of shame, guilt and embarrassment can surround our sexual lives. This is a struggle that can and needs to be overcome. Not only is sexual pleasure healthy for you, it enhances and solidifies the relationship in immeasurable ways.
Give yourself permission to truly enjoy and delight in one another.
(A couple may find that seeking professional help to overcome negative feelings about sexuality can help them immensely.)
“I thank you” – You have now traversed a journey representing the commitment, efforts, intention and enjoyment that Judaism views as essential to a healthy sexual relationship. Fully acknowledging the joy experienced is not only how we show appreciation for our spouse, but it sets the foundation for continued desire and passion in the relationship.
Gratitude is the key to creating renewable energy for your relationship.
Happy Tu b’Av!
Rebbetzin Sarah Bernstein is a certified Life Coach who specialises in Sexual Development and Education. Qualified by the Israeli Rabbanut through Machon Puah, Rebbetzin Sarah is a well-known Kalla Teacher and expert in this area. She served on the board of JME (Jewish Marriage Education) and is an experienced teacher of brides in areas of Taharat HaMishpacha, Shalom Bayit and Intimacy. Rebbetzin Sarah has developed Torah-Coaching Workshops around these topics and taught at various educational platforms.