Emotional Intimacy is a concept in psychology relating to interpersonal relationships. It is usually referenced in relation to romantic partnerships; though it can apply to any variety of interpersonal discourse. Emotional Intimacy is a term used in self-help publications, articles, and by therapists. It is a term used in the description of many types of relational problems in relationships or in individuals, and its following discourse is aimed at development and personal improvement.
Emotional intimacy in a marriage
In relation to marriage, emotional intimacy is highly important. It regards the spiritual, physical, and emotional bond that lovers have. Its focus in marriage can vary from couple to couple, comprising communication, feelings, and needs. The level of a couple’s emotional closeness is where this theory centers.
Why is emotional intimacy important?
Whereas romance involves personal gestures; emotional intimacy encompasses the whole, including the expression of verbal communication, expression of feelings, affection, sex, and elements of trust, respect, romance, spirituality, and a sense of connectedness. Different from sexual intimacy, emotional intimacy relates to the closeness of two people on an emotional level, comprising feelings of love and admiration, romance and spirituality.
Married partners are committed to one another through a union that is meant to last eternally. Vows are given in marriage to cherish, love, and accept one another indefinitely. In order to live together harmoniously until the end of time, a couple must be respectful of one another, they must continue to love, throughout the rest of their lives to be happy.
The close bond must be maintained in order for a couple to live out their years faithfully, loyally and happily. The bond must be nurtured, or it can eventually sour. Too often couples wait until their conflicts have grown far beyond reasonable repair. They may encounter overwhelming difficulty when they do make efforts to repair intimacy; sometimes to catastrophic ends. Sadly, these relationships may have been repairable if the problems had been addressed properly, and early on.
Examples of conflict
As conflict grows, the viability of any marriage or long-term partnership can weaken. Many conflicts or interpersonal problems do not simply go away. When asked how conflict contributes to divorce, one man, a divorcee, interviewed during this writing stated “Men in particular, may have difficulty opening up and expressing emotions. They may also become fearful of their wives’ reactions; if their wife is emotionally reactive. Then they [husbands]don’t want to talk at all”. Though gender need not apply, the picture he paints is an honest one; a scenario that happens all too often. My interview concluded that “I think they (the husband and wife) end up taking each other for granted.”
Truth be told, taking one another for granted, failing to communicate, and decreasing quality time together are relationship killers. Many couples divorce because they fall out of love, they change individually, lose respect for each other, or simply grow apart. All of these circumstances are symptoms of was a smaller problem, lead to an end that may be otherwise repairable; if only the couple had continued to nurture the relationship as a matter of maintenance, they might’ve dodged divorce.
The bottom line
No matter who you are, marriage takes work. Even Angelie Jolie and Brad Pitt work on their love. Take stock of your married life now and then, and ask yourself if you are satisfied with the emotional intimacy you have. If it has started to slip, deal with things now and nurture the relationship over time. Improve your emotional intimacy with your spouse and you’ll be in the 50% that made it work.