One Extraordinary Marriage with Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo (Episode 238)
One extraordinary marriage. Isn't that what we dream of when we say, "I do?" Yet, somewhere along the way, life just happens to us, and the marriage can fizzle past "ordinary" to living as roommates or worse.
Twelve years ago, right around after our second daughter, Ellie, was born, Nathan and I were in a bit of a reactive point in our marriage. Things were fine, but not intentional. Yes, we were happy with one another, yet both of us felt like the other wasn't fully showing up for the relationship.
Cue the One Extraordinary Marriage show. I was dreaming of one day having a podcast to talk about relationships, and I googled marriage podcasts and found this one. Little did I know where that would go...
So much of what we do when we're dating - if we're looking at all these areas - if we just continued - after the "I do", after the kids, after the job changes...
marriages would look vastly different.
Watch our full video interview here - and then solidify the steps with the blog below:
Meet Tony and Alisa
Tony and Alisa have been married for 25 years...yet at that 11-year mark, they, too, were looking to create something deeper in their marriage. Contemplating divorce for the second time, they were filled with a lot of heartache and hurt. Not to mention a 5- and 2-year-old at the time. So they had a few options -
- get divorced now
- wait until the kids move out and THEN divorce
- do something radical and actually try and revitalize the love that brought them together.
Thankfully, they chose the latter, and embarked on a crazy 60 day sex challenge! As they yearned to practice the marriage they were encouraging others to thrive in, they got the book "Intimacy Ignited" and set to a mission: 60 days of lovemaking.
Yes, they were leading a small group at their church on marriage, and upped the ante of accountability by not only deciding to do a 60 day challenge; they shared the whole journey with their small group!
Alisa wasn't too keen on the idea to begin with, and, in her prayers, heard this challenge:
"What are you willing to try? He's simply asking you to make your marriage a priority."
They completed a full forty out of the sixty days, and, in the process, revitalized more than just sex in their marriage. They brought back the fun and delight of really, intentionally focusing on one another.
One Extraordinary Marriage? We Followed Their Lead
How ironic that it was in their eleventh year - and our twelfth year - of marriage that we tried this same thing. See, years later, when the One Extraordinary Marriage podcast came out, it happened to be that twelfth year for us...the year Nathan complained to me that, "we don't have enough sex".
Remember, this was also right after Ellie was born, and we were pretty reactive in our relationship...and in raising our family. I searched marriage-focused podcasts one day and all signs pointed to the One Extraordinary Marriage show, so I tuned in.
And there were Alisa and Tony, talking all about a 7-day sex challenge. Well, I hear the word "challenge" and my mind said, "bring it." Let's have some fun with this! If Nathan doesn't think we're having enough sex, I'll show him we are...and we'll track it.
The dots on the calendar became our inside joke, a goal we worked toward together, and a point of intentional connection for us every day. And, 7 days in, we didn't feel like stopping. So we kept going. Thirty days in. Sixty days in. Ninety days in. Whoa - a full year and we're still going strong!
Yes, my friends, twelve years ago we started making love daily, and we've essentially never stopped.
Yep, if you listened to the podcast or watched the video above, you're probably scratching your head on my math for the number of dots on our calendar vs. days in the month. Lemme tell you that lovemaking isn't just reserved for bedtime!
So thank you, Alisa and Tony, for igniting a flame that has kept us burning for 18 years of marriage and counting!
The difference between Sex and Intimacy
The DiLorenzo's newest book, The Six Pillars of Intimacy, clearly has intimacy as the focus, and spreads it beyond just the bedroom.
Alisa shares in the video and podcast how the intimacy they experienced in the bedroom really was about the deeper closeness and connection of opening up their hearts to one another. So as they looked for more intimacy, they wanted to open up all the other areas of their marriage outside of lovemaking. Sexual intimacy is important...and yet it's not the only pillar.
Looking to Ignite Your Love Life?
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The Six Pillars of Intimacy
As Alisa laid out, the Six Pillars of Intimacy is really a framework for couples to be able to look at your marriage and really assess how you can achieve an extraordinary marriage.
This book is laid out to empower couples to take action, and know what areas they want (and need) to take action on.
In our conversation, Nathan asked Tony and Alisa how much the love languages came into play with what all they talk about. And they shared how it comes up often, however now is time for a new approach.
I completely agree with them - when you find a grouping you identify with - be it gift-giving as your love language or being a high S personality style, what is intended to help can unfortunately be twisted into a weapon to use against one another.
When an insight becomes your justification to act in a way that doesn't serve the relationship well, it's time to check your motives. Looking at things like the love languages - and even personality styles - are not the end-all-be-all final excuse. It's simply opening the door to more self-awareness...and then taking the tools that help you move closer in connection, and dropping the rest. Relationships are a two-way street - it's not just your thoughts and actions - so you have to take into account both person's needs.
Creating a "Pillar" framework was intentional. The goal is to see yourselves as a team, and these pillars are the foundations of this house you're building together. It's up to you both to keep them from crumbling and fix any cracks.
People can trap themselves in the identity of a "quality time person" or "high D style" and be more focused on what that is than how it's helping or hurting them. People don't look at pillars and identify with a pillar - they don't say "I'm emotional intimacy". With the pillars it's a team sport - you identify the intimacy to address, and you do it together.
Here are the Six Pillars of Intimacy:
#1 Emotional Intimacy
This is all your verbal and non-verbal communication. As Alisa says, "There is a lot that goes on with non-verbal communication that either builds on or detracts from emotional intimacy."
She continues on to share about how emotional intimacy is that workhorse that drives how you communicate.
#2 Physical Intimacy
This is all your non-sexual touch and connection. Holding hands, touching, cuddling, putting arms around one another - these are all forms of intimacy that don't have to be sexual. Yes, they can lead to more fun in the bedroom, however positive touch like this can also be done with a child and parent - it's just the beauty of physical connection with another.
I am a big advocate of positive, non-sexual touch as a connector with parents and children, as well as a way for our children to know what positive touch really is. Well I, too, respond well to positive non-sexual touch, and I want to have comfort and trust in my relationship that it's not only about sex every time Nathan touches me. So the more this is enforced, the more openness there is - not putting pressure around every touch being a sexual invitation.
Additionally, this is communicating to our kids that our relationship - and a loving relationship - is beyond just a sexual interaction. We truly enjoy touching each other.
#3 Financial Intimacy
So often people are raised to believe finances are a super private thing not to be discussed. However, developing a "shared language" around all those things that come up - budgets, bills, insurance and more - really builds on a financial intimacy of understanding and trust, as you both are seeing it together. What is your relationship with money - and have you and your partner openly discussed this?
#4 Spiritual Intimacy
These may be your religious or spiritual beliefs - it's not only how you're strengthening yourself as an individual, but how are you coming together in it? There is so much here in regard to faith in trust - this is what you believe in, what you have hope and faith in for the future beyond this world. And this isn't the only pillar that calls for faith and trust. That is a key component for your relationship in every pillar.
#5 Recreational Intimacy
This is the fun and playful part! This is going on dates and adventures together, exploring, learning and growing together, and eliminating the "what do you want to do?" Merry-go-round.
#6 Sexual Intimacy
This is everything sexually-focused, from foreplay, to initiating any sexual interaction, to full intercourse. And getting intentional about this area can open the doors to more willingness to connect on others. It's hard to remain emotionally distant when you're physically connecting on a vulnerably intimate level on a daily basis. No, that doesn't mean you have to embark on a daily sex challenge...yet I'm not saying it's not helpful...
Your Weekly Challenge:
This is our desire for you - to open the doors to building these pillars of intimacy around your marriage - your home, and the relationship you want to create together.
When you get into that place of saying, "what can I do" for your partner, and you start being intentional and taking action, it builds a level of trust and connection that you two are really looking out for one another as two people on the same team.
When you both are taking action on keeping every pillar of intimacy strong in your marriage, you are continuing to deepen the trust that you are in this together.
It's not about trusting that your partner will be perfect.
It's trusting they are going to show up to your relationship.
When you look at pillars of intimacy, you have talking points to look at together. You both have a framework for a house to create together.
Be intentional. Take action. Take one step in your marriage today and see where it goes.
Take that one step. Do what you can do show up. As you're doing that, honor, respect, and give grace for your partner along the way as we trust both are seeking to celebrate how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us.
- The Secret Exercise Routine No One Is Talking About (Episode 203)
- Discuss, But Never Argue
- It's Not A Habit; It's Intimacy (Episode 25)
- Who Has Time For Sex As A Parent, Anyway? (Episode 14)
- What’s Left Unsaid – Nonverbal Cues (Episode 192)
- Remember to Play (Episode 37)
- Tension Points That Cause Couples To Argue
- Connected…or Codependent? (Episode 196)
- Perspectives on Attraction (Episode 223)
- Recipe for a Light-Hearted Relationship: Part 1 – Triggers (Episode 219)
- Can I Get A Chill Pill? High Energy Personalities (Episode 224)
- Welcome to the Fight Club - Choose Wisely (Episode 34)
- What is your purpose for money?
- My Marriage is Slipping Away From Me (Episode 187)
- When the "Same Ole Marriage" Isn't Working Anymore (Episode 153)
- The Ride Is Long for a Backseat Marriage (Episode 114)
- Will My Marriage Last? Insights from John Gottman (Episode 113)
- Get Out of Survival Mode with these Three Steps (Episode 234)
- What is your goal? Or maybe that is the wrong question to be asking
- 37 Essential Tips To Save Your Marriage
- The Burden of Overwhelm – Moving Forward While Always Feeling Behind
- 5 Tips To Focus For Frazzled Families (Episode 160)
- Self-Love, or Self-Sabotage? (Episode 152)
- Ashley Logsdon, Relationship Coach
- Personality Styles
Questions or comments?
We love Q&A on the podcast, and cover all things that are a part of creating an intentional family.
Personality styles, marriage/intimacy, parenting, education, entrepreneurship, minimalism, travel...
What is pressing on your mind? Reach out and ask or comment - we may cover it on an upcoming podcast as well as respond by email.
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