10 Reasons Why You Need to Break Down Walls in Your Marriage
In This Article
Why do we have walls? Are they for protection or a sense of security? Moreover, how much do your inner walls block you from seeing out? In the end, walls create division, and you need to break down the walls in your marriage before the chasm becomes too wide.
What does breaking down emotional barriers look like?
Walls keep people in as much as they keep people out. The infamous Berlin Wall is a great example of how damaging walls can be. It’s the same with the walls in your mind. They keep you inside and shelter you initially from pain but also from growth.
More specifically, what is a marriage wall? It’s all those defense mechanisms people build up in response to unmet needs. Not only do those defenses stop others from getting too close, but it also means that they themselves disconnect from their emotions.
When you break down the walls in your marriage, you will eventually develop a deeper connection both with yourself and those around you. Moreover, you’ll be able to support your spouse with their own internal barriers and become stronger together as you face your pain.
Yes, to truly break down the walls in your marriage, you’ll need to face your emotions and your fears. This might feel painful at times, but you’ll soon appreciate how liberating it also is.
Remember that walls are claustrophobic and limiting. At some point, we all crave to see the blue skies and to be free from dark, oppressive corners.
Why do we put up walls in a marriage?
As this summary of defense mechanisms explains, they are reactions that happen in our subconsciousness. They were first developed in response to bad experiences, and now they’ve become a habit.
Barriers are basically the mind’s way to cope with stress and pain, but it isn’t necessarily the healthiest approach today. For example, as this Forbes article on psychological defenses details, there are various ways to create distance, or a wall, with other people.
Whether you’re procrastinating, playing dumb, or projecting, among other tactics, with your partner, you’ll gradually push them away. The irony is that those techniques will have worked once upon a time, usually as a child.
Marriage then becomes the place where those walls become painfully apparent because we often end up with people who remind us of our families where our triggers were created. In that case, how to break down walls in a relationship means being vulnerable and opening yourself up to trust again.
It isn’t easy to break down the walls in your marriage because it means understanding where they come from. Nevertheless, if you don’t, they become prisons behind which you retreat from life and your spouse.
Moreover, depending on how those walls appeared in the first place, anything that knocks against them can make you reactive or, on the contrary, withdrawn. All of this signals to your spouse that you don’t want them there, whether that’s true or not.
As you can imagine, that doesn’t bode well for the longevity of your marriage.
Instead, reconnect with yourself and break down the walls in your marriage. Your spouse will thank you, but so will your liberated self.
10 reasons why you need to break down walls in your marriage
If you’re still not convinced whether you should break down the walls in your marriage, reflect on how you could enjoy the following 10 benefits. Of course, it’s scary stepping outside into the unknown, but do you really want to live in your mental prison forever?
1. Heal your emotions
To face your marriage wall means to face your emotions. Somewhere hidden deep behind that wall are your emotions trying to get out.
The first step in removing your inner barriers is to heal. You can only do that if you process your emotions which means you’ll become whole again.
Suppressing painful emotions only leads to stress, as explained in this Health Agenda article on why we need to experience both positive and negative emotions.
Rather than get lost in never-ending pain, you can free yourself from your subconscious defenses. You’ll be more connected and more content with life.
Related Reading: Healing From the Emotional Pain of a Breakup
2. See different viewpoints
When you break down the walls in your marriage, you let go of your fixed views, and you welcome other ways of seeing things. It’s a bit like the difference between a puppy locked in a cage and one who can finally step outside into a grassy garden.
Suddenly there are flowers, butterflies, birds, and so much more to learn about and experience. Sure, there are some bees that sting and cats that scratch. Regardless, it’s all worth it to experience the richness of life.
Emotional walls in marriage keep you bound up in a cage such that you never fully live your life.
3. Improve communication
As you break down the walls in your marriage, you don’t just open yourself up to other viewpoints. You improve your communication. As you’re no longer held back by fear, you can listen more freely to your partner.
Moreover, you’re willing to get out more because you feel happier with the world. That doesn’t mean that you have to blindly trust every stranger. It just means that you can give everyone a chance to get to know you.
You’ll improve your relationships and, in the process, your resilience. Not only will you have faced your fear of trust, but you’ll have developed a support network with deeper connections.
4. Get unstuck from the past
What is a marriage wall, if not a dam holding back the deluge of pain from the past? Blocking away the pain doesn’t mean it’s gone. It actually makes you vulnerable to the tiniest cracks that will eventually give way.
No one wants a major meltdown or midlife crisis to surprise them. If the Berlin Wall can crack and break, so will yours. Instead of succumbing to external factors, take control back.
You can take charge and break down the walls in your marriage by making sense of your past. You don’t necessarily have to relive it exactly, but you process it with the life view you have today that’s both safe and stable.
5. Improve your well-being
Having emotional walls means living with a strong barrier against your subconsciousness such that the majority of your behaviors are reactions. When you start connecting with your emotions, you start healing so that you can be more in control and less reactive.
With time you realize that emotions are impermanent and that they do not define you. This gives you a peaceful state of mind. One that you will never be able to have with an inner wall keeping your emotions locked away.
6. Develop deep intimacy
When you break down the walls in your marriage, you become the real you. You no longer worry about your dark side because you appreciate that we all have one. The more you share this dark side, the more you can connect with your partner.
True intimacy doesn’t come from presenting a mask of your ideal self. It comes from baring your soul in a vulnerable but assertive way.
Related Reading: 3 Ways to Strengthen Intimacy and Marriage
7. Fight loneliness
Just like any wall, a marriage wall encases loneliness. After all, no one can come in, and no one can come out. There’s nothing more lonely than that.
Instead, break down the walls in your marriage and be the social creature you were born to be. Everyone has a different version of what that looks like. Nevertheless, why not find yours as you gradually heal and crumble your walls?
8. Increase awareness
The tragedy of internal walls is that they might make you feel strong and on top of the world, but they actually make you weak. They stunt your personal growth by limiting your awareness of how you impact yourself and those around you with your walls.
The tighter people hold onto their walls and their views, the more bitter and cynical they become. For those who remember their English literature lessons, there’s no sadder or better example than Miss Havisham in Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations.
Don’t be that aggrieved person such that your barriers entomb you. Break down the walls in your marriage and learn to move on from the pain.
Related Reading: Find Contentment in Life Through Self-Awareness and Radical Self-Acceptance
9. Liberate yourself from your fears
It isn’t easy facing your fears, and no one said that being yourself was going to be effortless. There’s a reason psychiatrist Scott M Peck called his book-The Road Less Traveled.”
It takes courage to question ourselves and process our fears. Furthermore, it takes strength to develop the self-discipline needed to solve our problems rather than complain or stay stuck in a victim loop, as many who hide behind walls end up doing.
But if you do, you’ll be free of those fears. You’ll finally be able to do anything you want with your life.
10. Live more fully
Would you like to be free of your reactivity? What about that black hole of emptiness within? Even if you’re not admitting it to yourself, inner walls stop you from being yourself. Deep down, they also hide a despair that you’ll never be fully understood, hence the emptiness.
If you can’t understand yourself or your pain, how can your spouse understand you? Instead, break down the walls in your marriage and learn to embrace yourself fully. Not only will you feel more understood, but you’ll also better relate to your spouse.
Related Reading: Living Together before marriage: Pros & Cons
5 ways to liberate yourself from your walls
Perhaps you’re sitting on the other side wondering how to break down her emotional walls. Connecting with someone who’s emotionally unavailable takes time and patience, but it starts with you.
Make sure you’re comfortable talking about your emotions. That includes the parts of you that you don’t like or aren’t proud of. The more you open up, the more she’ll feel safe to do the same.
1. Embrace your emotions
As mentioned, how to break down walls in a relationship starts by getting to know your emotions. Neuroscientist Dr. Dan Siegel calls the process “name it to tame it.”
Essentially, you use the feelings wheel to find the right word that suits whatever emotion you’re sensing in your body. As you get to know it, the emotion loses its grip on you such that you can slowly start letting go of the pain attached to it.
In other words, a crack in the wall appears.
You can also listen to Dr. Dan Siegel explain the process in more detail in his video:
2. Befriend fear
Emotional walls in marriage keep you stuck in fear even if it doesn’t feel like it. For example, when was the last time you didn’t tell your spouse how you felt? Perhaps you held back on telling them that you loved them the other day?
Those moments of putting yourself out there can feel frightening if you’ve learned not to trust others. As you get to know your emotions, start with baby steps and seize those moments.
For example, you can break down the walls in your marriage by being the first to share your love.
3. Understand your story
As you connect to your emotional walls, you’ll gradually make sense of your story. You’ll start connecting the dots between your reactions and what happened to you in the past.
With the experience and knowledge you have today, and as you work with your emotions, you’ll be able to process that past and choose a story that works for you.
Do you want to be the cold, distant spouse or the one who takes that less-traveled road to fully embrace life? How to break down walls in a marriage involves rewriting your story with a different perspective.
4. Share with trusted supporters
One of the toughest aspects of breaking down the walls within you is to reach out to people. Generally, those walls were there to make you independent of everyone.
We all need a little help sometimes and having a strong network is actually an important part of nurturing our resilience. You can’t break down the walls in your marriage alone. So, make sure you talk to friends or family about the journey and perhaps even join online marriage counseling.
Last but not least, how to break down walls in a marriage involves compassion. That’s because you won’t get very far if you’re constantly being berated by your inner critic telling you that you can’t do this or that without your defense mechanisms.
Try out some of Dr Kristen Neffs self-compassion exercises if you don’t know where to start.
Related Reading: 7 Concrete Ways Self-Compassion Can Improve Your Marriage
How do you dismantle barriers in a marriage?
Breaking down the walls in your marriage involves first getting to know your emotions. As you gradually become less overwhelmed by them, you’ll be able to start making sense of your past and triggers.
Then, take some baby steps and try out being vulnerable with people close to you. More importantly, what can that look like for you?
On the flip side, how to break down her emotional walls starts by creating a safe space. Show her how you can be vulnerable and talk about your emotions whilst still being the confident spouse she loves.
Related Reading: Break The 6 Barriers to Effective Communication in Marriage
Escape from Your emotional and mental prison
Holding onto your walls creates a distance from people around you, especially your spouse. Moreover, it limits your marriage from developing the deep intimacy that takes you to the next level of fulfillment.
To liberate yourself from your inner prison, you need to get to know your emotions and fears. You’ll also need self-compassion and people around you to support you including, in many cases, online marriage counseling.
Take one day at a time to break down the walls in your marriage and keep the big picture in mind. With time and patience, you’ll open up a whole new way of being that will take your relationship to that magical place we all dream of.
Share this article on
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.