What is emotional intimacy? It’s when two partners feel safe sharing their innermost thoughts and emotions with each other. These intimate thoughts are usually kept from the eyes of the outside world, but shared within a close relationship.
Emotional intimacy begins when one person takes a risk by sharing themselves. They do so because they hope for a supportive and loving response from the person they care about. They expose their own vulnerabilities because they want to gain closeness with the other person.
If all goes well, the other reciprocates with their own vulnerabilities. This deep sharing draws the two people together.
Trust is the bedrock for emotional intimacy. Trust takes time to build, with many deposits made over time in one another’s “love banks.” This is true in many relationships, whether between parent and child, husband and wife, or just two friends.
For most of us, our spouse is our primary source for emotional intimacy. We can feel closer to our husband or wife the more we share. If you are married, it’s important to work at maintaining emotional intimacy with your spouse.
Here are a few simple ways you can do this:
- Share the details of your day with each other
- Record thoughts or ideas to share only with your spouse
- Enjoy meals together
- Hug and kiss each other every day
- Reserve energy for physical intimacy several times per week
- Schedule regular date nights
Wives are usually more comfortable at developing emotional intimacy. Most women don’t struggle with sharing their feelings, especially with other female friends. They also often find it easier to seek companionship or express nurturing behaviors.
Men typically have to work harder at maintaining intimacy beyond the bedroom. They find it more difficult to put their innermost feelings into words, and even then they often resist sharing their feelings. This is due in part to cultural conditioning – for a long time, males have been expected to be strong and tough, and to keep feelings to themselves.
However, wives can learn how to encourage their husbands to talk. And husbands can work on compiling lists of conversation topics.
Both spouses can show loving gestures to one another in the other spouse’s preferred way, whether through quality time, touch, gifts, shared activities, or affirming words. Do these things and you will go a long way towards helping each other maintain emotional intimacy.
Both partners in a marriage benefit greatly from shared efforts to maintain emotional intimacy. Your relationship will serve as a safe haven from the stresses and pressures of the outside world. Both of you will gain perspective and insight from the other’s expressions.
And as a bonus: emotional intimacy has been shown to lead to better overall health and longer life expectancy, especially for men!
Bottom line? By investing in emotional intimacy every day, you will both be happier and more fulfilled.
Rooting for you!