Do you often wonder what is emotional intimacy? or what is emotional intimacy in marriage? and how to build emotional intimacy in marriage?
Emotional intimacy is related to the connectedness you have with your partner, it is also related to feelings of passion and romance. Emotional intimacy in marriage creates a perception of closeness between the couple which in turn translates into a sense of trust, security, and love.
Emotional intimacy acts as a mirror to your spouses soul and reflects their hopes, dreams, and fears. Emotional intimacy can wax and wane throughout time; and in every marriage, there are phases when a couple’s’ sense of intimacy in marriage is lacking.
A lack of emotional intimacy is usually occurs prior to diminishing trust, poor communication. Lack of emotional intimacy can also be the result of unresolved feelings or conflicts. It can be the result of business or lack of time, when other priorities in life have taken precedence, detracting from the marriage.
Some of the common signs that your marriage might be lacking emotional intimacy are:
- A feeling of being distant from your partner.
- Lack of emotional transparency
- Your partner does not express themselves enough
- Your life’s are becoming less connected or intertwined
- Lack of physical intimacy
- You do not have any shared hobbies or interests
- Not enough active listening
At such an impasse both the partners must try maintaining and building intimacy in marriage. Creating intimacy in marriage or creating emotional intimacy starts by addressing the lack of emotional intimacy in one’s marriage.
Once you and partner have recognized a lack of emotional intimacy in your marriage, there are many methods to building emotional intimacy in marriage.
Building emotional intimacy
The importance of emotional intimacy in a marriage can not be emphasized enough, not only is it essential for a marriage but also for the well being of an individual. As explained earlier that to know how to build emotional intimacy in your marriage you need to first understand what is cause associated with the lack of emotional intimacy.
In the mean time here are a few ways to give your marriage a much needed boost of emotional intimacy:
Many therapists and relationships counselors advise couples to “speak their truths”, meaning that when a feeling surfaces, it should not be held back. Instead it should be conveyed as soon as possible, ideally in a non-threatening way. There are different methods for which to speak your truth, described below.
The manner in which truths are communicated is as important as the communication itself. Keeping the focus on oneself is a hallmark of this philosophy, and requires focusing on the feeling rather than on the person or the person’s behavior.
For example, this may be stated as “my truth is that I feel lonely when I spend too much time at the house alone.” Contrast this statement with this one, “my truth is that I feel neglected when you spend too much time playing golf.”
The latter phrase may be more apt to start an argument, whereas the first statement leaves interpretation up to the partner, opens up a dialogue for discussion and resolution, and eliminates blame from the equation.
You can make your own examples, using the sentences above as a template to practice identifying words that can be substituted for “neglected” and the “you” part of the phrase. Practice making sentences that focus on identifying names of feelings (I feel sad, anxious, confused, embarrassed, angry).
The second part of this practice should include phrases that reduce blame, where the second part of the sentence does not identify the person or their behavior as the focus and avoids “you” statements.
- A No-holds-barred approach
Typically we are socialized to avoid confrontation by keeping our thoughts and opinions to ourselves. Some people have found it liberating to use an honest approach to situations by communicating their opinion based on their experience, and what feels right to them.
An example of this might be making a statement such as, “I feel afraid that you will become angry and yell at me when I express my concerns about our finances.”
Although this comprises a “you” statement, this approach may foster confidence and assertiveness in people with a history of holding in their feelings, or with whom have problems in relationships that are based on failing to identify and express opinions.
- Focus on being real, not being right
Whenever we speak our truths, it is more important we are expressing ourselves truthfully, rather than focusing on being right. Opinions are opinions, and they vary from person to person.
- Mindfulness and management
Being empathetic and mindful of how another person may feel or react is also necessary when expressing truths. Clarifying your understanding or concerns about the other person’s feelings is also useful.
You must never try to manipulate or change another’s feelings or emotions; this is not an effective strategy nor is it a focus of speaking your truth. Remember, your truth comes out of your personal values and experience.
- Make time and be available
Date night are important, however you need to break the monotony of this ritualistic activity. Find new and exciting activities wherein you and your spouse focus only at each other and not get distracted by phones, emails, or any other worries of the world. Doing something meaningful will help you to reconnect with your spouse and relive you of the usual stressors.
Similarly, to augment emotional intimacy, at times go above and beyond to be available to you spouse. Again, the idea is to break the monotony of your day to day life and do something that surprises your partner and reminds them of how much they mean to you.
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.
More by Kelli H