As you know, emotionally connecting with your spouse is essential for any relationship to be strong.
In fact, Dr. John Gottman, a popular researcher, has found that it is the #1 factor in long term stable marriages. Yet, if you are not emotionally connected to your spouse, you may be comfortably numb, but you are not truly happy. So, how can you become emotionally connected to him or her?
Emotional intimacy is a key component of a healthy marriage, but so many people struggle with it. If you have never experienced emotional intimacy with your partner, you may have a difficult time understanding what it is.
You might even think that you and your partner are already emotionally intimate, when in fact you are not. The good news is emotional intimacy is an area that can be improved. The following five tips will help you recognize areas where you may need to improve emotional intimacy and offer some steps to take to work towards greater emotional intimacy.
The secret to a strong marriage is not as simple as it may seem. It takes hard work and commitment. With these marriage tips, you can learn how to connect with your spouse on a deeper level.
There are many things you and your spouse can do together to improve the intimacy in your marriage.
A great way is to forge a deep emotional connection. One way to connect emotionally is to simply spend time with each other, deeply letting go of distractions and focusing on the now. Another way is to do something nice for each other, such as helping out with household chores or getting rid of old clutter. And sometimes, a simple touch or kiss can be just enough to let your spouse know that you love them.
Here are 5 ways you and your spouse can forge a deep emotional connection:
1. Deep listening
This is when both of you really focus on each other, rather than just waiting for your turn to speak. Think of it as a listening marathon, without interruptions or distractions. It’s a way to get to know each other better and mend any hurt feelings that may have occurred between the two of you recently.
A quick illustration may help. Suppose you are in a thunderstorm. You hear the thunder. You know it is raining. You hear and are aware.
However, when you listen you are seeking to determine something. You listen to see if a tornado is coming. You listen to find out how close the lightening is to you. You listen, not merely to be aware, but to determine a coarse of action.
To relate this to marriage:
Hearing is being aware your spouse is talking.
Listening is seeking to understand what she desires to communicate.
I hope you see the difference.Hearing is being aware your spouse is talking. Listening is seeking to understand what she desires to communicate. Click To Tweet
Many couples hear each other. They are aware of the problems, and know their spouse is unhappy. But few couples truly listen.
We get so caught up in our world, desires, and problems that we do not even feel to listen to what is being communicated. We’re so busy that we don’t take the time to listen. We become preoccupied with the problems.
Some psychologist call this ‘Empathic listening.‘ This is when you don’t just hear what your spouse is saying; understand what he or she is feeling.
This is a way to deepen the emotional bond between you and your spouse. Be attentive to how he or she is reacting to a particular situation, and empathically feel with him or her. Don’t put interpretations on their feelings, but rather stay with them all the way through the experience.
The benefits of this technique include significantly improving communication, and strengthening the emotional bond between you.Empathic listening: This is when you don't just hear what your spouse is saying; understand what he or she is feeling. Click To Tweet
2. Pay Attention
This is the art of being present with your spouse’s life and feelings. You look at things from your spouse’s perspective, rather than seeing events as though they’re happening to you alone. It’s a way to understand each other better.
One benefit is that it helps you relate to each other on a deeper level, rather than just focusing on your own needs or wants. In other words, it helps you feel closer as well as communicate more effectively with your spouse.
A study conducted at Harvard University showed that people in close relationships tend to be more attentive. For example, couples in long-term marriages are more likely to talk about several topics than couples who have only been together for a few years.Couples in long-term marriages are more likely to talk about several topics than couples who have only been together for a few years. Click To Tweet
3 Practical Ways To Practice The Art Of Paying Attention
Take a moment to try these techniques and you’ll quickly discover that practicing the art of being present in your marriage is an art worth cultivating.
1) Set Aside Time To Be Together
Spend time with your spouse. Take some extra time and spend it talking and doing things that you don’t normally do with each other on a day-to-day basis, such as taking the dog for a walk or taking a short vacation together whenever possible. This will help both of you get in touch with each other again as well as get rid of some pent up energy that may have built up between the two of you recently.
2) Share A Positive Experience
Studies show that people bond over shared experiences. We can bring our spouse into our world by sharing with them positive things that happen to us during the day.
This accomplishes several things. First, it includes them in our world. This alone creates closeness.
Second, it forces us to think about the good things that are in our life. As we do this, we focus on the positive, which creates good momentum in life.
Finally, it can encourage our spouse to share their world. This creates a cycle of positive input. When we share things with each other we affirm our love for each. We are in essence saying, ‘I like you being a part of my life. And even when we aren’t together I want you to be included in what happens with me.’We can bring our spouse into our world by sharing with them positive things that happen to us during the day. Click To Tweet
3) Have A Quickie; But Not Like You Think
Next, give each other a “quickie”; that is, a five-minute shoulder or foot rub. Then come together for a shared moment of gratitude, telling each other what you are thankful for. This may seem simple, but couples who practice being present find that it’s the perfect way to share an intimate moment.
I hope you see how beneficial these things are to build a bond and connect you emotionally with your spouse.
Some spouses feel uneasy or even uncomfortable touching each other because of the stress and demands of daily life, whether that’s work or kids or other family members. Or, one spouse may not like being touched at all, making physical affection between the two of you a non-starter. But physical touch, such as hugging and holding hands, is a powerful tool for connecting with your spouse, and it can lead to a happier, more fulfilling marriage.
One national survey found that 84% of Americans felt that couples should engage in regular, affectionate touching. Even more compelling is that couples who practiced regular physical touch, such as holding hands, hugging, and kissing, had better marriages than those who were less physical.
Physical touch helps to create a strong emotional connection between married partners, and marriage therapists are seeing more and more couples who feel disconnected due to a lack of physical connection.Couples who practiced regular physical touch, such as holding hands, hugging, and kissing, had better marriages than those who were less physical. Click To Tweet
Physical touch is a simple way to connect with each other, especially during winter months when you might be too cold to hug. In fact, many believe hugging is the best way of connecting on a deep level. We wrote about the power of physical touch here.
One study showed that touch and cuddling can profoundly increase oxytocin levels in women’s bodies, as well as decrease cortisol levels in the body.
“In humans, oxytocin is released when they hug or experience other pleasant physical touch, and it plays a part in the human sexual response cycle.”UC San Diego School of Medicine
A great way to deepen the connection is simply to touch each other often throughout the day, even if it’s only a gentle touch on the shoulder. Even simple acts such as holding hands or cuddling at night can be very meaningful for most couples.
Touch (even non-romantic contact) is one way to create physical intimacy. Many couples have lost the skill of intimate connection. Because they lack physical contact, they experience an emotional disconnection in their relationship.
4. Surprise Your Spouse
Surprising your spouse often can be one of the best ways to bond with them.
One of the most important things in a marriage is remembering to surprise your spouse! When you surprise your spouse you are showing them that you love them and that they are a priority. This can be done with a simple card, or a special meal. Here are some simple ideas to surprise your spouse:
One survey found that spouses are most happy when they are surprised with something special, especially when their partner is giving them special attention.
That’s why it’s important to remember to give each other thoughtful gifts as well as surprise each other with gifts at random times throughout the year.
4 Ways To Surprise Your Spouse
These four tips are primers to help you put the element of surprise in your marriage.
1) Write a card when it is not a special occasion.
2) Write down your feelings and surprise them.
3) Buy Them A Gift Off The Cuff
4) Say “I love you” at random times throughout the year.
5) Surprise them with an afternoon getaway to a special place.
The main goal of surprise is not that of seeking to please the other, but rather to excite the affections of the person being excited. At some point, one must have shown genuine affection for another person, or one’s partner will be disappointed greatly in his or her partner. Giving one’s partner a present at least once a month shows that you care about their welfare.
This is more of an attitude than a practical step to take. If you desire a strong emotional connection with your partner it is important to be open with them.
I’m sure you’ve experienced a relationship where the other person is closed. They don’t communicate or let you into their world. It is very hard to have a meaningful relationship with this type person. Connecting with someone requires a level of openness – a willingness to let you into their life. We call this being vulnerable.
Being vulnerable with your spouse means that you are willing to share your feelings with them, rather than feeling that they are your enemy. This helps you connect with your spouse on a deeper level as well. It’s a good idea to open up and share both positive and negative things.Connecting with someone requires a level of openness – a willingness to let you into their life. We call this being vulnerable. Click To Tweet
Being completely open shows how much you trust each other, which will lead to more intimacy and love between the two of you.
3 Step To Transparency and Positive Vulnerability
Some people – especially men – feel being vulnerable means losing their manhood or identity. They feel it is a weakness instead of a strength. On the contrary, real strength is found in the ability and willingness to be open and transparent with your spouse.
If you struggle being open with your spouse, here are three tips to help you overcome your reluctance to be vulnerable:
1. Discuss your feelings with each other, and share them when you are feeling angry or unhappy.
2. Take the pressure off yourself by reassuring your spouse that no matter what you say, it will not change how they feel about you.
The mere fact that you trust them enough to be vulnerable shows how deep your love is for one another.
3. Share important goals in life with each other.
When we open up to our spouse about our goals, dreams, and fears, we also show our partner that we trust them and have confidence in their decisions and opinions. This can be a way to build a strong bond between the two of you as well as improve communication and intimacy between you as well.
Final Thoughts On Emotionally Connecting With Your Spouse
Most couples desire a deep connection with each other. In this article we presented five practical tips on emotionally connecting with your spouse.
Not only will you feel closer to your spouse, but you will also make more of an effort to listen to each other, as well as be more attentive.
These techniques are simple ones that anyone can use on a regular basis to improve their marriage.
Recap of the main points:
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