Recently the phrase, “emotional intimacy” has been on my mind. We are aware of physical intimacy but we seem to bypass the emotional side at times.
Perhaps we are aware “something” is lacking but we don’t have a name for it.
Emotional intimacy is connecting on a heart level. This is when you are vulnerable, open, honest and transparent with your spouse. Emotional intimacy happens when you feel safe in the relationship.
Frequently this is when we share our future plans, dreams, and even daily struggles with each other. Essentially this is when we allow each other to share without judgment. During this time of sharing, a heart connection is made or strengthened.
As with all aspects of relationships, emotional intimacy can ebb and flow. At times, we may feel closer. In the times we feel distance creeping in, we can work to restore our emotional intimacy.
For example, sometimes in our busy life, all we need to do is take a walk together and talk about what’s on our heart. This is my favorite way to restore emotional intimacy in my own marriage. There is just something about the effects of walking and talking that seem to make our problems seem less significant.
Other times, specifically after deployments or after times of extreme marriage hardships, we may need a weekend getaway or even a marriage counselor to help us reconnect.
I do want to mention one of the quickest ways to dissolve emotional intimacy in our marriage is to be critical or judgmental when our spouse is sharing with us. When we judge each other, we diminsh trust.
In the absence of trust, emotional intimacy is hard to maintain. Talking about issues as soon as they arise will help safeguard emotional intimacy in marriage.
It is fine and healthy to be upset when our spouse has told us something that’s detrimental to our marriage union. We do not have to pretend to think the violation is fine. We just need to guard against seeming as though we do not accept our spouse.
For example, we could say, “I am really hurt by this. I feel betrayed. But I do still love you. I do not approve of that behavior but I do approve of you. I know we can and will get through this. We just may need help doing so.”
To gauge your own marriage, ask yourself, Does my spouse accept me as I am? Do I feel safe in my marriage? Does my spouse care about me and is my spouse willing to help me through hard times? Can I share my most intimate thoughts and feelings with my spouse?
If you find yourself saying no to these questions, it doesn’t mean it will never happen! It simply means you know a place to begin working. If you feel you are at a crossroads or stuck, consider seeking outside help.
There are resources on Fort Hood as well as in Killeen. Grace Christian Center offers marital help free of charge and even has multiple marriage classes you can get involved in.
If your spouse is unwilling to attend or seek help, you still can! While it is ideal for both people to work on the marriage, one person can still redeem the marriage.
Emotional intimacy is the core of our marriage. Until next time, let’s work on our core!
Kindra Warner is a marriage group facilitator at Grace Christian Center in Killeen and a Herald correspondent.