Developing Emotional Connection in Relationship
Humans, as mammalian creators, crave for intimacy and emotional connection. Fundamentally, emotional connection shapes the basis for how we give and receive the emotional support we all need.
Without developing an emotional connection with our partner, the foundation of a relationship almost always remains hollow. This is true regardless of how heated the sex or intimacy is. It also holds true even if there are a lot of common things between both couples.
With that said, if we wish to have a greater depth as well as connection in our relationships, then we will have to develop a strong emotional connection with our partners to maximize the joy we get in our intimate relationships.
It isn’t enough to just connect with our upbeat emotions; in fact, we have to continue to search for relationship-deepening connection through all of our emotions.
In a study conducted by Dr. John Gottman, he found that couples that stayed happily married were much better at one important thing. They turned toward their partner instead of turning away. When you “turn towards” your partner, the partner hears:
- I am interested and care about you.
- I hear you and do my best to understand you.
- I would like to be with you
- I am on your side and would like help you.
- I appreciate you and accept you.
In addition to turning toward your partner, here are a few ways to help you connect emotionally with your partner.
1. Admit when you realize you’re being reactive
This may sound very simply, but it’s quite challenging to put into practice, mainly because of the supposed shame of becoming aware of our reactivity.
Once you have realized that you are being reactive, STOP. You might be very tempted to continue being reactive, but you have to fight off this temptation. Breathe more deeply, relax, and wait until that ‘reactive-phase’ passes. Once you are less emotional, establish connection.
2. Express sincere remorse
Never settle for emotionally-flat or shallow expressions. If you are not sorry for something, don’t say that you are. However, if you have really done something that has hurt the other partner, and you’re having a hard time trying to say ‘I’m sorry’, just say that you are having difficulty saying sorry.
This confession will soften you enough so that you can express your remorse in a fitting voice. Accepting one’s mistakes increases love, and in turn, intimacy.
3. Recognize when you are being defensive
Defensive mechanism protects us for being hurt and it is not easy to overcome. If you are being defensive and you know it, be your own whistleblower. Do not wait for someone else to point out your defensiveness. Also, don’t slip into the loop of being defensive about you being defensive. Be patient and slowly remove your shield to create deeper connection.
4. Avoid long period of emotional disconnection
Whenever you lose touch with your partner, try to reestablish it as quickly as possible. A strong emotional connection is necessary to bridge any misunderstandings and enhance the intimacy between couples. The longer you remain emotionally disconnected, the less intimate you will be. Do not prolong this disconnection any longer than necessary.
5. Don’t threaten or manipulate your partner
If you recognize your manipulative tendency in your relationship, it’s better to say so instead of acting upon it. Threats are simply negative promises that are dependent on mood. Additionally, threats damage intimate relations significantly – they take all the fun out of a relationship, and hurt feelings. Refrain from threatening your partner at all costs.