Friday, January 1, 2010

Emotional Intimacy

Intimacy

Image by _Teb via Flickr

Emotional intimacy is a difficult thing.  It requires a high level of mutual respect and trust.  When that trust is broken the pain is deep.  If the emotional intimacy is genuine then the grief over hurting another is deeply felt.  On the positive side true emotional intimacy can be a place of great fulfillment.  The level of sharing, commitment, self-sacrifice, and connection with your spouse increases in direct relationship to the level of emotional intimacy that you have in your relationship. 

Emotional intimacy is the ability to share life's hopes, dreams, fears, feelings, thoughts, and connection with your spouse.  It is being able to lay bare what is on your mind without shame or fear of retaliation.  It is a peace that comes when all is well in the relationship. 

Emotional intimacy is hard to build, but easy to tear down.  Trust is at the foundation of emotional intimacy.  Without trust there cannot be true emotional intimacy.  Building trust occurs when a person acts in a trustworthy manner.  If a person does not act trustworthy then the other person becomes skeptical and trust is hard to come by then. 

Want to build emotional intimacy with your spouse?  Start with building a sense of trustworthiness.  It is important to understand that trustworthiness is as much in the eye of the beholder as it is in the actions that you take.  Stated another way a person may act in a trustworthy manner, but that does not automatically result in a sense of trustworthiness.  It take a person to trust in return.  I know the statement is circular, but it fits with what I am trying to say. 

Words that denote trustworthiness

Honest
Reliable
Fair
Steadfastness
Loyal
Faithful
Integrity
Fidelity
Firmness
Devoted
Loving
Dependable
Endurance
Honor
Unfailingness
Keeps private matters private
Perseverance
Principled

Does this list describe your actions in your marriage?  Does your spouse recognize these qualities in you? 

Begin to think over this list.  Make it a priority to grown in trustworthiness with your spouse.  If you do then you can grow in emotional intimacy.  Some might feel threatened by this task as to admit a need to grow would automatically indicate that there have been areas that we have been lacking.  However, I believe that we can all grow in this area whether your relationship is on shaky ground or if it is rock solid.  Trustworthiness and the resulting emotional intimacy is both restorative as it is protective.  It restores that which has been lost (with much hard work) and it protects that which has been gained (hard fought for).  

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