What does emotional intimacy look like in marriage? For partners and couples going to therapy, the word “intimacy” often comes around to sex or at least physical closeness. But while sexual enjoyment and physical intimacy are important for a healthy marriage, physical intimacy highly relies on emotional intimacy to work. Marriages often settle into routines which causes passionate experiences to become rarer in one’s life. So, what does being emotionally intimate look like? How do we become emotionally intimate? Intimacy and marriage take a lot of time and work, and the keyword to those questions is all about being vulnerable.
The Hard Work of Marriage and Relationships
Emotional intimacy takes being vulnerable in your relationship, dropping defenses that don’t help either of you, and being honest about your deepest desires, hopes, anxieties, and fears. Intimacy takes more than two to tango because intimacy also revolves around your relationship with yourself. Feeling safe with your partner, creating a safe space from the hectic inconsistencies of life and the difficult memories of childhood means placing your values and thoughts equal to theirs. Intimacy works with others, but self-awareness brings out emotional and physical intimacy, which takes hard work.
Self-awareness is all about practicing mindfulness, a concept that uses varying techniques to track down emotions, thoughts, and memories. In many ways, self-awareness makes it possible for safe spaces to be made and creates a fostering place for healing and growth for both members of the relationship. Intimacy is an active component that requires work and effort, love and care, and is an ongoing process that works through unsteady moments and expresses, as a result of that hard work, desire, and commitment to keep that relationship full of life.
How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Can Help
However, for many couples and partners struggling to maintain intimacy through their marriages and relationships, gaining self-awareness can be a difficult challenge, especially if we haven’t been taught the mechanisms to work towards those changes. Studies from the Global Journal of Health Science argue that through practicing cognitive-behavioral techniques, marriage and intimacy can become closer and more positive, ultimately reducing mental health symptoms and promoting a better quality of life. For therapists using these techniques, cognitive-behavioral therapy can ultimately:
- Create Presence: The idea of presence is vital when it comes to self-awareness, and acknowledging how couples in marriages are present in their lives can help bring about realizations and increase one’s ability to understand one another in the relationship.
- Form Healthier Thought Patterns: Many of the tools used in CBT can greatly improve one’s outlook on life by helping people understand their connections to their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
- Support Better Conversations: Through CBT, a greater awareness of our partners and our thoughts can create better conversations that encourage each other to listen and speak more constructively.
- Express Love and Compassion: Overall, CBT can potentially help foster better intimacy through caring for oneself and creating a sense of self-awareness.
No matter what’s going on in your relationship, seeking help through therapy can help align your thoughts, express your emotions more clearly, and create a place for your relationship to grow.