Therapy Blog for Orem, Spanish Fork & South Jordan

Couples Counseling: Building Emotional Intimacy

Couples Counseling: Emotional Intimacy in Marriage

Maybe you have already started couples counseling to find that missing “something” in your relationship. (Related article: What Happens in Counseling?). Maybe you haven’t even gotten to that point yet, but you’d like help recreating the connection you used to have with your spouse. 

Thankfully, there is a way to describe that missing factor. And, it can restore the feeling of trust and joy in your marriage. Thatcouples counseling missing ingredient is emotional intimacy. Emotional intimacy is the feeling of safety and authenticity that you feel when you are vulnerable with your partner. It’s being able to feel like you can be your “true” self and still be accepted and loved by your partner. (Related article: Emotional Health).

Emotional intimacy gives your marriage a sense of depth and purpose and promotes empathy. (Related article: What is Empathy?). In this post you will learn what emotional intimacy does (and doesn’t) look like in practice. 

Emotional Intimacy= Safety

What does an emotionally safe relationship look like? Some might incorrectly assume that safe means boring. Thankfully, this is not the case. Your emotionally safe relationship will still be exciting and fulfilling. Plus, it will provide you with the necessary support and sense of security that are essential for a long-lasting, happy marriage. (Related article: Holding Emotional Space for Your Spouse). couples counseling

John Gottman, a marriage and relationship researcher, studied the types of behavior in couples that create better emotional intimacy. His research talks about the importance of “bids for connection”. (Related Article: An Introduction to Emotional Bids and Trust). These are actions you intentionally do for your partner that invite them to connect emotionally. Successful bids for connection from both you and your partner can help you create better emotional intimacy and trust in your marriage. 

Small Actions Make a Big Difference

What are some examples of bids for connection that you can try at home with your partner or spouse? Here are some ideas: 

  • Remind your partner of a positive experience you shared together. Reminiscing on a positive experience from your shared past can show your partner that you appreciate the good times you have had together. Some of these experiences you could remember might include a special vacation, your wedding day, or even a fun date you recently shared. (Related Article: What is Emotional Intimacy and How to Get It). 
  • Prioritize intentional physical affection. Small acts of physical affection are important building blocks for trust and emotional intimacy. These gestures don’t have to be sexual. You might give your partner a spontaneous hug. couples counseling
  • Create opportunities for quality time together. Get creative! Maybe you organize a date to do something you haven’t tried before. Maybe you create an at-home movie night for you and your spouse after the kids go to bed. Luckily, a little thoughtfulness goes a long way when it comes to your time spent together. 
  • Thank them for their bids for connection. When you notice your partner doing these thoughtful acts of kindness, acknowledging their efforts can encourage feelings of trust and love in your relationship. 

Couples Counseling Can Help

Small acts of intentional kindness for your partner will go a long way. Next, you can build emotional intimacy through couples counseling. (Related article: Creating Emotional Safety Through Fixing Marriage Problems). Your therapist has special training and can help you and your spouse learn more about each other and how you can meet each other’s unique needs in your marriage. 

Ready to get started? Schedule an appointment with one of our therapists today in Orem, South Jordan, or Spanish Fork.

Written by Lauren Adkins

Lauren Adkins

Writer for the Center for Couples and Families


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