What is emotional intimacy
The definition of emotional intimacy is different from sexual intimacy because emotional intimacy often goes beyond the constraints of any sexual context just as sexual intimacy can occur with or without an emotional connection.
The extent of trust and communication shared among two people is what defines the degree of emotional intimacy they would share. So what is emotional intimacy in a relationship, or what is intimacy in marriage?
To define emotional intimacy, we can evidently say that it is most generally related to emotional intelligence, communication, and feeling connected to a partner. Emotional intimacy definition encompasses the degree of comfort , passion, romance, a feeling of closeness to a partner, and often times focuses on communication or emotional conflicts with a partner or spouse.
Emotional intimacy overview
Ideally, couples should feel connected to one another spiritually and emotionally. They have achieved this through mutual admiration, hormones, and endorphins that create the feelings associated with love.
Emotional intimacy in marriage may also be achieved through mutual respect, enjoying time together, laughing together, sharing memories, common interests, positive communication, and sharing physical closeness.
One of the hallmarks of being emotionally intimate, is the sharing of personal details or memories, especially those that may be highly personal or difficult to divulge to others.
Many partners have increased intensity of their connections through romantic activities, and the sharing of personal aspects of their feelings, personal details and histories.
This can be an example of a metric one may use to determine their intimacy; by reflecting on how much detail they know about their partner; and how comfortable they are with mutual communication, especially on topics that are difficult or highly personal.
In some circumstances, couples may discover they have nothing in common, know very little about their spouse, or discover that they never established the type of bond that feels intimate on an emotional level.
This may happen in relationships that were initially rooted in sex or began out of some other interest. Sex-based relationships commonly incur this phenomenon, because it is easy to mistake lust for love.
All too often couples with only sexual intimacy may feel empty over time, when romantic feelings start to wear off and they realize they do not have a sense of emotional connectivity, or have lost their feelings of connection to their partners.
In some cases this can be repaired. It may also be a fleeting feeling, a temporary reaction to stress, or can be experienced as a phase that will repair itself in time.
Much of the dialogue about emotional intimacy or emotional closeness is related to conflict; in terms of problems or feelings that arise in interpersonal relationships.
Whether dating or married, people in interpersonal relationships will inevitably experience conflict at some point. How we deal with conflict can make or break outcomes.
Many people are unable or unwilling to verbalize their feelings for a variety of reasons. Some are brought up in families that discouraged honest communication, are socialized with gender roles that cause them to feel inferior or emasculate when they experience vulnerability.
Some are fearful that a partner will judge them or react negatively to their feelings. And some simply do not possess the tools to communicate emotions effectively.
Healthy couples communicate their feelings, and work together on solutions or compromises that solve problems. Knowing how your partner communicates is the key to successfully processing through issues, and avoiding communication errors is a crucial aspect.
Emotional intimacy is often an assumed quality in western cultures; but this is an unfair and inaccurate assumption. Emotional communication is really a skill that must be learned and practiced.
Improving emotional intimacy
- Make a list of reasons why you love each other and why you want to stay with your partner. Help each other to communicate each others feelings in a safe environment with no criticism.
- Deepen your connection with date nights, and activities that help you focus at each other and your relationship.
- Make an effort to understand your partner, be curious about their needs and wants. Curiosity represents the extent to which you care about your partner.
- Surprise each other, go out of your way to do something nice, pr do something that is not part of your routine. Break the monotony to instantly boost the intimacy in your marriage or relationship.
- Remember to take care of yourself. Health of a couple, is an indication of how healthy a relationship can be. Investing some quality time on your health and personal development can help you to have a more mindful, and meaningful relationship.
- To feel more closer to one another, try to be more open and honest with your partner. Not only would this help you build trust in your marriage but also discover new things about your spouse.
- Giving credit to your partner for what they do for you and your relationship is a concrete demonstration of emotional intimacy. Recognizing each others efforts and appreciating them is an essential part of enhancing and even maintaining emotional intimacy in a relationship.
- If your relationship is spiraling out of control and you cant seem to find a way to rebuild emotional intimacy with your partner. Then you can always seek professional help from a family or relationship therapist. Therapy can help you find the right tools to reconstruct the lack of emotional intimacy in your relationship.
- Understand the difference between sexual and emotional intimacy. As explained earlier emotional intimacy encompasses certain aspects that goes beyond the need of a physical of sexual connection with your partner. The necessity of a physical relationship can not be undermined, however how well you and your spouse articulate your love for each other without any physical connection is prudent in cultivating emotional intimacy in your marriage.
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