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The road to intimacy is paved with honesty.

Tell the truth. How honest are you with your partner? I mean – really honest. When was the last time you sat down with him or her and took a risk sharing something that was difficult? How often do you express intimate thoughts and feelings that make you vulnerable? Do you ask your partner for honest feedback about your relationship? About how satisfied he or she is – emotionally, sexually? Sounds like a scary thing to do.

The truth is, it is scary to have these deep conversations. It’s also the truth that sharing genuine, honest feelings will create more intimacy and closeness in your relationship.

Brittany started our session: He doesn’t talk to me. I ask questions and all I get are short answers.

Noah: She always wants to talk. I feel like she is interrogating me.

Lori: Noah, Brittany isn’t talking to get something from you. She wants to know more about you – what you think about, how your day was, what your opinions are. Sharing thoughts and feelings makes her feel more connected.

Noah: That’s fine. But she wants to talk all night. I want to relax. She always has to be doing something at night – the dishes, folding the laundry, checking emails. She can’t relax and just sit with me. That would make me feel more connected. I’d like to watch a show together.

Brittany: I didn’t know you felt that way. It sounds like you resent me.

Noah: I don’t resent you. I’m just frustrated. I work ten-hour days. I come home. We do talk over dinner together. But then you continue. You never stop.

Brittany starts to cry.

Noah (to Lori): You see, if I talk and tell her the truth, she cries. So, I don’t talk.

Lori: Brittany, Noah is being genuine and honest. I know sometimes it’s hard to hear difficult feedback, but that’s why you’re here. The two of you have to work on making it safe to talk about difficult things, and not take it personally, but appreciate the vulnerability of the other being honest. That will make both of you feel more connected.

Brittany: Noah, I do appreciate you being honest and I want us both to do more of that. You do talk to me at dinner. I thought you just wanted to withdraw at night, but now I can see you want to share some time relaxing together; you do want to be with me.

Noah: Yes, that’s it.

Brittany: Thanks for being honest.

Noah: It actually feels good to let it out. I feel heard.

This is just a snippet of the conversation we had. I encouraged Brittany and Noah to be more forthcoming and genuine with each other, to talk about what they wanted and needed in their marriage, emotionally and sexually. With time and practice they became more honest and worked on deepening their connection.

If you want more connection, get real, ask deeper questions and share deeper responses with each other. Be “radically honest.”

Here are 5 questions to begin “radically honest” conversations with your partner:

1) What do you want more of or less of from me?

2) What makes you feel loved?

3) What don’t I know about you?

4) What’s your biggest fear?

5) What do you think would make us feel more deeply connected?

Answer these questions yourselves and then come together to share the responses. Remember, it’s not easy to be vulnerable and it’s not easy to give and receive feedback. Do this gently and you will feel more deeply connected.

Living truthfully, things may not always have a fairy tale ending, but as human beings, we are resilient. We can handle our partner feeling attracted to someone else, and we can handle telling him or her when we feel insecure, afraid, or even furious. We can handle pretty much anything, as long as we are willing to live in reality and face the truths that exist. Honesty in relationships makes us feel secure, because we know where we stand. When we are honest with ourselves and our partner, we can experience the joy and excitement of living in a real relationship, in which we are being chosen for who we are. – Lisa Firestone, Ph.D.

If you are in a relationship that hurts and feel disconnected, have difficulties communicating, and/or are experiencing a crisis, Bob and I can help. Call us at 410-363-2825 or email info@relationshipswork.com.

Photo by Gus Moretta on Unsplash