My husband and I used to say that emotional intimacy was where we needed to grow the most. Not anymore! It’s normal for most couples to experience a lack of intimacy at one time or another, and there’s nothing wrong with that. As long as you are willing to work to grow and build more intimacy.
If you go out to dinner with your husband and all you talk about are superficial things like what you should order for dinner, then you might be in trouble. Here is the one major thing we learned that helped us overcome a lack of intimacy and become more intimate.
Studies show that self-disclosure is the key to intimacy
One definition for self-disclosure is “the process of communication by which one person reveals information about himself or herself to another. The information can include thoughts, feelings, aspirations, goals, failures, successes, fears, and dreams, as well as one’s likes, dislikes, and favorites.”
According to research, the more couples disclose private thoughts and feelings and personal things about their goals or fears or dreams to one another, the happier they tend to be. Conversely, when a relationship is struggling, couples stop sharing these things with one another, and they revert back to small talk about superficial things. Start disclosing today by using our Q & U app.
The importance of the listener responding affirmatively
Studies show that self-disclosure depends on both parties to achieve greater intimacy. While the person sharing plays an important role, the listener plays an equal part. It’s essential that the listener shows support and responds in affirming ways. For example, if I reveal to my husband that I cry every time I see or hear an inspirational story of someone overcoming an obstacle, and he validates me and responds positively, I automatically feel closer to him. However, it can work in the opposite way too if the listener isn’t sensitive and doesn’t respond positively; if he were to argue with me and tell me I shouldn’t be so emotional, then I would feel that he doesn’t understand me. I might interpret his response to mean it isn’t safe to self-disclose and I might stop sharing with him other things that are important to me. If this is happening in your relationship, talk to him about it first, and if things don’t change, seek counsel. A counselor can help you both learn better communication skills. Also, here are some helpful tips for talking through conflict.
If physical intimacy is where you need to grow in your relationship…
Try talking to your partner about your desire to grow in this area. Share your thoughts, feelings and fears about this area with him. Communicating about your needs and your feelings is important for both of you to practice. This type of self-disclosure can bring you closer emotionally, while also contributing to helping you grow in your physical intimacy. If you’re interested in other ways to connect emotionally, here are some other ideas.
Readers, we’d love to hear how you think more self-disclosure can benefit your relationship?
Cassandra Soars has published various national magazine articles on a wide range of topics, including life in Mozambique, Africa, where she lived for five years. Her first book Love Like Fire: The Story of Heidi Baker is available on Amazon.