Connecting emotionally with a partner is the foundation of a healthy relationship. It is the glue that bonds a couple together when times are tough.
It’s easy to have a good relationship when times are good;
the true test of a relationship is when times are difficult.
Couples must learn how to have “difficult conversations,” ones that involve strong emotions, different points of view, and conflicting perceptions. It’s not a job for the faint of heart, even for two therapists.
Just like every couple we have our chronic arguments and conflicts. We work them out the same way we teach our couples. Face it, embrace it, use time-outs to avoid escalation, bring your best self to the conversation. Most of all listen.
Emotional intimacy is also created when couples relate on a deep feeling level, in the sense of getting to know each other, learning to love each other and understanding how to support each other.
Here are some questions to ask yourself and talk to your partner about:
How deeply do you “know” each other, not just know about each other, but know how the other thinks and feels? Have you each shared your hopes and dreams, your deepest fears and vulnerabilities, your childhood memories, your deep secrets and traumas, your deepest pain? Do you confide in each other?
Do you love your partner the way they want to receive love, and do they do the same for you? Do you communicate about your love needs? Do you know each other’s love languages? Do you have a sense of belonging and emotional attachment?
Are you there for each other when times are tough? Do you put your needs aside when your partner has a crisis? Do you both persevere through conflict and embrace your differences? Have you shared the kind of support you need from each other?
Set aside some time to discuss these questions with your partner.
These are some of the experts we love that can support you in creating a deep and more intimate emotional connection:
Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for Lifetime of Love
Dr. Sue Johnson
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work
Dr. John Gottman and Nan Silver
The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts
Dr. Gary Chapman
Some of our couples read a chapter at a time and connect around what they resonate with.
After you watch these, take time to discuss them and how you can use the information to improve your relationship.
What Makes Marriage Work (47 mins.)
Dr. John Gottman is the biggest researcher on marriage and relationships over the past 40 years. Watch together. As you are watching, jot down how this information relates to the two of you. What do you resonate with? Which parts apply to the two of you as a couple? As an individual?
Communication Habits (8 mins.)
This is a quick video explaining more about Gottman’s four communication habits that lead to divorce. Which of these communication habits do you see in yourselves? Then have some conversation with each other about what you learned from this about yourself.
Active Listening (2 mins.)
This is a funny video that makes a point.
This is a short, clear video on listening skills.
What Is Empathy? (3 mins.)
Short video by best-selling author, Brené Brown.
There are so many ways to deepen intimacy. Find one that works for the two of you!
Your relationship deserves the highest level of support. Relationship Experts, Bob and Lori Hollander are committed to helping individuals and couples build connection and deepen bonds in a world that often makes it difficult.
Call them at 410-363-2825 or email them today, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo credit hlehnerer