Emotional Intimacy: Part 2 of our Relational Intimacy Series

Emotional Intimacy is the greatest need in a marriage and what binds us together through the celebrations and the trials. We all seek to feel wholly accepted, trusted, respectedworthy, and adored inside the heart of our mate. An emotionally intimate relationship occurs when mutual trust and two-way communication encourages mutual sharing of each other’s innermost selves without embarrassment, criticism, fear of rejection, or judgement. We must become the safe haven for each other in a world that often feels hostile.

I can say in my own marriage, we understand the foundational need of our relationship lies in unwavering trust, open and respectful communication, and the willingness to share of ourselves from a space of vulnerability. This wasn’t where we started. We had to change the habits that were not serving us well. It has taken years of intentional dedication, persisting through uncomfortable conversations, and a willingness to consider perspectives beyond our own.  

I want to close this realm out by speaking very personally to what I mean by “becoming a safe-haven” for your mate. I am a redheaded, independent, passionate woman with fire in her soul and moonbeams in her heart. My husband and I each carried the baggage of unresolved trauma and ingrained bad habits into our relationship that manifested in some not so healthy behaviors during our early days together. During difficult conversations, I can be quick and harsh; he can be conflict avoidant and all too eager to please. We had to build trust and communication skills to foster vulnerability to get to the root of our behaviors and feelings. We partnered with a therapist who helped us understand why we developed some or our unhealthy habits and walked beside us as we created habits that would foster safety, trust, and connection. Initially it did not feel good, and, in fact, it felt scary, unsafe, unfamiliar, and downright icky. But we persisted. We kept showing up and little by little navigating a healthy way forward. We walked beside each other as we faced the parts of our inside selves that we kept hidden. When my husband was afraid that my response to a worry could be harsh, he would say to me, “Please put my wife in the closet, I need to talk to my best friend.” What this statement said to my heart was, “I want to talk to you openly and honestly, but I am afraid of how you might respond as my wife. I know my best friend will listen to my story, ask questions, and provide thoughtful feedback.” This was a life lesson for me about what it meant to be the safe haven for my cherished love. I want my husband to feel safe in his vulnerability. I want him to seek me out when he is worried, scared, or unsure. It is my responsibility to provide a space that is safe for him to seek. Emotional intimacy only works as a two-way street. 

If you would like more information on emotional intimacy or any of the other realms of intimacy that we have posted about here, we would love to send you the video series! Please contact me at [email protected] or leave your information on this page, and I will send them to you!

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