Okay, so time for me to fess up. Darling Husband and I dance in the kitchen to “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” by Starship. What you don’t know is that the song brings us to tears. Not just once in a while, but often. Like, both of us. If that’s not being vulnerable with one another, I don’t know what is. 

So why do we start crying at what has been called one of the worst songs of the ‘80s? I think it reminds us of what we have overcome, and it makes us feel grateful about where we are right now. My story is an example of emotional intimacy. A broad definition of emotional intimacy is when:

You and your partner have developed a closeness exemplified by
communication, trust, a feeling of safety, and openness. 

And who doesn’t want that?!

For example, I know DH’s deepest secrets and fears. He knows mine. I can tell him anything, and he can tell me anything. We weren’t always this way, especially me. I did not grow up expressing myself as much as I do today. But we have had a lot of counseling and have reaped the benefits of intense communication in the past seven years.

I can be myself with DH. I don’t have to mask my emotions.

The best part about having emotional intimacy at this level is feeling free–having a base of serenity in my life, knowledge that there is a constant in my life. No one who knows me better than DH does, and I feel secure with him. Without this intimacy, our marriage would suffer. We would struggle with resentment, fear, and sensitivity. I know that because we have had those issues in the past.

I’ve got four examples of how any couple can foster emotional intimacy, but specifically from my point of view. 

  1. I can be vulnerable with DH. This is a huge component of emotional intimacy. I let him see the real me–when I feel mean, angry, hurt, and sad. I also share with him when I feel excited, silly, and happy. I tell him dumb things, and I share serious things. He says he understands, to the best of his ability at the time, and he tries to meet me where I’m at. 
  2. We give each other compliments and tell each other how great we are! I don’t mean in a false bravado sort of way, but in an honest, encouraging manner. We really do like each other, well, most of the time. We see the positive in each other, and then express it.

  3. We try to keep life interesting. The way that we have been doing this lately is through cooking new dishes. The food isn’t exotic or chef-quality but we’re getting better. We listen to loud music in the kitchen while we cook. Basically, whatever way we can find to lighten the mood, that’s what we do. We have fun with each other!

  4. We make physical intimacy a priority. I’m not taking about sex in bed necessarily, although we both love a fun “naked therapy session.” But we are physically affectionate most days. We greet each other, “Good morning,” with a kiss or hug in a positive way, and we kiss good night. When DH talks to me, he touches my arm or back. It’s a little thing but means a lot to me. And me, I’m all about giving him a full-contact body hug!

The everyday moments in our marriage
builds our emotional intimacy. 

It’s not so much about DH getting me a bouquet of roses on my birthday, as it is him warming the car up for me on really cold days. Each interaction has a cumulative effect. Our emotional bank accounts need to be full of positive interactions in preparation for the inevitable negative ones. 

Emotional intimacy with a partner doesn’t happen overnight. It grows over months and years. It can be lost, and with effort by both partners, it can be regained.

Pay attention to the little things. Give to your partner. Listen intently. I hope, I really really hope, your effort is returned to you, creating the emotional intimacy that every one of us craves.

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