One of the most precious qualities of a romantic soulmate relationship is the emotional intimacy of two people deeply connected at the heart. And it’s one of the first things to leave a marriage when there’s anger, resentment, jealousy or any other negative emotion that can ruin the quality of the relationship. Lack of intimacy over time can contribute to a feeling of disconnect and may lead the couple down a path toward marriage separation and divorce.
What is emotional intimacy?
Emotional intimacy is the sense of closeness that happens when two people can be honest with each other about their insecurities and emotions they are feeling.
It happens when both can make themselves honestly and emotionally available. It’s a result of communicating with your partner in a way that is real and trusting.
How to get trust in the relationship?
Intimacy requires that you earn the trust of your partner. I see that many spouses ask their mate to trust them when the spouse has violated that trust on one or more occasions. But trust cannot just be asked for and expected to be given. To the mate, it must be earned by observed behavior over time.
Sharing from the heart is what it’s all about.
Sharing from the heart is about making yourself vulnerable and trusting that your partner won’t stomp on the new grass of your deepest insecurities.
But before you share from the heart, you have to know what’s in your heart. That means you have to be self-aware enough to be able to express your thoughts, feelings and beliefs. Many people, especially men, are not used to such self revelation. But it can be learned by anyone.
Tolerance and compassion are required.
Tolerance implies listening without judgement when one person expresses a belief or a thought which is contrary to what the other spouse believes or perceives.
Compassion is about listening with an open heart without condemning when the other partner shares their feelings about some troubling thought or incident.
Humility, honesty and integrity are essential.
Emotional intimacy requires humility from each partner. In essence, we must admit when we’re wrong instead of trying to defensively hide our mistakes and flaws.
Your humility is required when you tell something about yourself which may not reflect favorably on who you are or what you’ve done. When you share with each other the honest and true nature of who you really are, then you are living your relationship in honesty.
Integrity means that you do what you say you’ll do. This is a clear requirement for intimacy and trust by the other partner.
What kills intimacy?
When one of the partners is critical or belittling to the other mate, it tramples on the insecurities of the other mate. At that moment any hope for true emotional connection is buried.
And if someone feels that they will be criticized for sharing their real, honest feelings, then they’ll be less inclined to open up and truly share from the heart.
And that kills intimacy. Too bad it happens in so many marriages.
Reflection: If lack of intimacy with your spouse is hurting your relationship, would you be open to marriage counseling? If not, how do you intend to fix your marriage? Do you have an alternate plan that might restore closeness to your mate?
–Written by Lee Hefner