Ask anyone who has been in a long-term relationship: The initial passion of their romance waned over time. Your beloved becomes a very human person with strengths and major annoyances that become increasingly challenging and difficult to ignore. We see the fairytale and Hollywood versions of love and wonder why we have failed in our own relationship to live happily ever after.
Let's set the record straight; relationships take work. If you or your partner ignore your relationship, it will grow stale and unsatisfying. Sex alone cannot provide the fullness of emotional connection needed for healthy relationships. In the healthiest and most satisfying relationships, both people work on improving themselves and being there for their chosen spouse or partner. It requires continual emotional growth.
Here are seven ways to build emotional intimacy:
1. Acquire self-knowledge. The more you can understand and know about yourself, the more you can share with your spouse. Guys, how many times have you been asked what you are feeling and your response been, "I don't know?" It may be true that you don't know, but it could be helpful to be curious about what you are feeling. Gals, slow down your talking and ask yourself, "What am I feeling?" Then share your feelings with your man. Stay away from pointing to what he is doing wrong.
In our culture, anger is a "catch-all" emotion. Get to know your deeper emotions. Name the emotions which are driving the anger: Maybe it is disappointment, betrayal, rejection, or loneliness. You can then say, "I feel [emotion] when you [insert a behavior]. It would work better for me if you [provide a solution]." And add: "What do you think?" or "Do you have any ideas that might help?"
2. Be vulnerable. By sharing your feelings, you are exposing a piece of the inner you. This can feel risky or vulnerable. When you expose who you really are, you risk rejection, judgment, shame, and other uncomfortable feelings. Know that these feelings are normal, and everyone feels them. They help you have empathy for others when they share their vulnerabilities with you. When both people are careful with each other's vulnerabilities, a sense of safety and trust is built into your relationship. Vulnerability deepens emotional intimacy. Keep reading...
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