Think of your favorite couple. You know, the two people that you would refer to as the “it” couple in your life.
It could be your parents, you and your spouse, or even a fictional couple from your favorite movie. What makes them stand out? Is it their banter? Their connection? Their love for each other?
Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint what it is exactly that makes these couples the “it” couple in our minds, but we know that there is something special about them.
That something special is likely emotional intimacy. Put simply, emotional intimacy is how closely bonded a couple is through their emotions. When you watch them converse it seems effortless. When you watch them interact, it’s as if no one is watching them. They are like magnets drawn to one another, and the force that is pulling them close is their emotional connection.
Greater the emotional intimacy, the more fulfilling the relationship and marriage will be. With that said, you may have trouble pinpointing the characteristics of an emotionally intimate couple. You know that’s what you want, but aren’t sure how to create it in your own life and relationship.
The remainder of this article will be dedicated to identifying those exemplary examples of emotionally intimate couples. We’ll dive into what it looks like and then how to create it for yourself.
Emotionally intimate couples are open and vulnerable with each other. There are no barriers that they force their partner to breakthrough; they offer their heart and soul to each other without hesitation. This may take time to establish, as nearly everyone enters into a relationship with guards up due to past experiences. Over time, though, that guard comes down and a person who is in an emotionally intimate relationship lets their partner have an all-access pass to who they truly are.
To create a vulnerable and open atmosphere in your own relationship, you have to lead by example. In order for your partner to truly open their hearts up to you, you need to offer a big piece of yours as well. It will show them that you are willing to put yourself out there, even if it means getting hurt. You won’t experience the deepest connection possible without risking your heart and soul. By keeping your guard up, you may be protecting yourself, but you never really let your spouse or partner into your world. Emotionally intimate couples put that protection down and allow their partner to see them in their rawest form.
2. Honesty and compassion
Openness can only come through honesty within the relationship. The “it” couple that you envisioned at the beginning of this article has learned that over time. When they speak to each other, they do so with a compassionate heart, but an honest tongue. There may be some harsh truths that need to be said, but they can be said in a way that it doesn’t crush the other person. The only way to grow closer, and truly foster emotional intimacy, is by being truthful with one another.
To create honest and compassionate dialogue with your partner, you also will have to lead from the front. If you feel like you and your partner have been holding things back from each other—even if it’s to spare each other temporarily from hurt feelings—let them know that you’ve noticed. Show them your compassion while also being honest in your observations. Coming into the room with agitation and fury will never allow honesty to flourish. Come from a place of empathy and compassion and you will find yourself becoming closer with each conversation.
3. Physical touch
Although the physical piece of a relationship is it’s own realm of intimacy, it’s important to highlight the magnitude of touch in the transmission of emotion. A simple touch can say a whole lot and communicate plenty of emotion. If you’re a woman, you may feel the words “I love you” when your husband plays with your hair. If you’re a man, you may feel those same words when your wife takes the time to give you a well earned back rub. Communication is not just something that passes through your lips; emotionally intimate couples use their bodies to let their partner know how they feel about them.
To bring more intimate physical touch into your relationship, start being more intentional about how you use it within your relationship. Don’t think that your physical touch should only reside in the bedroom. Give more hugs, hold each other’s’ hand, or even tickle your spouse if the opportunity presents itself. There is plenty of emotion that can be packed into a meaningful touch. Don’t let that opportunity to get closer go to waste.
The couples that make it the longest and love the deepest are those who can forgive, and do so authentically. Being married to someone is a lifelong commitment and people are bound to make mistakes. As humans, we are imperfect. It just comes with the territory. In order for a couple to maintain their emotional intimacy, there must be forgiveness at play. If they never forgave each other, then that would just create distance and resentment between them.
As with most of these attributes and examples of emotional intimacy, forgiveness needs to be modeled before your partner gets on board. Forgive them for something that you’ve been holding a grudge for. Let that resentment roll off your shoulders and open yourself up to your partner like you haven’t ever before. Show them that they are forgiven, and in feeling that weight lifted off their shoulders, they’ll be more likely to forgive you.
Take these examples with you as you navigate the long road of marriage. We all aspire to be the “it” couple that we’ve seen on TV or have experienced in our circle of family and friends. In order to have that dream relationship, you must fight for emotional intimacy. The closer you are to your partner, the more love you’ll feel and the longer it will last.
Here’s to the “it” couples of the world, showing us how to become better people and better partners.