Are you and your spouse talking about your feelings? Here’s why it should be a priority in your relationship and how to create it.
Couples spend a good portion of conversation talking about the day-to-day running of their lives together. What’s for dinner, work, or kids often dominate the discussions. While this is necessary and important, it shouldn’t gloss over talking about how you feel about the things you experience in life. Deeper conversations create the intimacy you crave and are the glue that helps hold a marriage together.
Benefits of Talking About Your Feelings
Generally, it’s common for women to share more easily and men to have a much harder time. However, both can struggle with sharing feelings. “Lack of intimacy” or “connection” is a common marital struggle among women. And, for many women, intimacy and connection are what spark sexual desire. But benefit by cultivating intimacy through sharing what’s on your mind or heart with one another.
This kind of heart-to-heart communication helps to:
- Lessens arguments and keeps them from escalating
- Prevent resentment
- Build and increase feelings of empathy for each other
- Spark bonding hormones
- Create a deep and meaningful connection with each other
- Move beyond superficial discussions
How to Create Emotional Intimacy
Create emotional intimacy by being intentional about it. We recommend setting aside a time every night, or at least a few nights out of the week, to share. Take turns choosing who will have “the floor” to speak. The other’s job is to listen to hear and not just to respond.
If you need some help getting the conversation going, here are a few questions you can use.
- Who or what has impacted you?
- What or who made you feel good?
- Did someone or something disappoint you?
- Have you learned something new?
- What has God been speaking to you about lately?
- Did anything happen that scared you, disgusted you, or made you think differently?
Focus on the feeling, not just the facts. What comes up as you discuss it? Identify if it’s surprise, joy, sadness, anger. How about the deeper ones like rejection, shame, or embarrassment? Can you identify with how they’re feeling?
Not sure what the feeling is? That’s okay. Invite your spouse to help you sort through the feelings. Whatever it is, do your best to describe it.
What to Do When It’s a Struggle
Do you or your spouse struggle to talk about your feelings when it impacts your relationship? You aren’t alone. Many people do because it taps into some of our worst fears about being rejected, abandoned, or some other negative outcome. But, it’s not enough to talk about your thoughts and opinions on tougher marriage issues such as parenting, sex, in-laws, finances, and more). It’s critical to your marriage’s emotional intimacy to discuss how you feel about the hard subjects.
When you or your spouse are reactive or avoidant to one of these topics, it often indicates something deeper. It’s important to your relationship to cut through the defensiveness, anger or shutting down behaviors to get to the emotions’ root. The deeper emotions are what grows and sustain a meaningful connection. It will also help prevent ongoing negative communication patterns.
Talking About Your Feelings is a Win-Win
Talking about your feelings is much more productive than letting them store up, resulting in an explosion of emotion, silent treatment, passive-aggressive behavior, yelling, or carrying a grudge. It’s also much easier for your spouse to respond to your tender feelings. It’s a win-win for you both.
Do you and your spouse need help to learn to communicate healthily and build emotional intimacy? Take time to get away and work on your relationship at one of our fun Christian marriage retreats.
Eagle Family Ministries is a non-profit marriage ministry focused on helping you create the rich, fulfilling Biblical marriage you desire. Check out our many services for couples, or call us today for more information. 479.464.4442