Written by: Amanda & John, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Sadly, too many couples never learn the skills to create ongoing loving, connected relationships, and how to maintain the foundation of emotional intimacy or ‘in-too-me-see’.
While relationships start with so much promise, passion, and purpose, once they've passed the phase of limerence, where we’re swimming in the initial glow of a euphoric hormonal cocktail, often the relationship is then placed into a mode of ‘set-and-forget’.
Complacency sets in, life and logistics get in the way and before we know it, our emotional connection wanes, our passion subsides, we feel disconnected, and if left unchecked, can eventually lead to relationship breakdown.
Here are 3 things you can do to ensure you maintain a deep, emotional connection:
1. BE CURIOUS
When a situation arises that we find upsetting or disturbing, rather than assuming what’s behind it, be curious. Engage your partner with genuine questions. Own your emotions around the situation by using “I” language and by avoiding criticism of your partner.
For example, “When you were late coming home from work, I felt disappointed as I wanted to go to the movies with you tonight, as we planned. Did you forget?”
This gives your partner a chance to explain, without feeling defensive, and allows you to focus on the positives, rather than the negatives. It also prevents us from making assumptions, which are inevitably wrong anyway, so it’s best to enquire, be curious and try to understand our partner’s perspective.
2. LISTEN TO UNDERSTAND
If we monitor our thinking when we’re listening to someone speak, we’re often in our head, planning our response, rather than fully listening to what the other person is saying. In other words, we’re listening to respond, rather than to understand.
When we become aware of truly listening, our conversations rise to a deeper level of emotional connection, as we create a situation where the other person feels truly heard. Often, our partners aren’t necessarily wanting a solution or to be ‘fixed’, they simply need to be heard and understood.
When we listen well, we can reflect back what we heard, with empathy, which further deepens our connection.
For example, “I had a really bad day at work today when my boss got very angry with me for something I didn’t do!”
Response: “I can hear and feel how much that’s upset you. Did you want to share what happened and how it affected you?”
This creates space for whatever your partner now needs, to either let it go or explore further with you. Either way, they will feel heard and understood.
3. EXPRESS APPRECIATION AND ADMIRATION
You may have head the saying that “Love is a verb”, in other words, action and we demonstrate it by the things we do, not just the words we speak.
In our day-to-day interactions, Robert A Johnson, a famous author, and Jungian analyst calls it “stirring the oatmeal love”, meaning it’s the small everyday things we do for our partners, not necessarily grand gestures.
It may be the morning coffee you make every day for your partner, with love, care and attentiveness, just the way they like it, or a surprise 6-second kiss to remind them how much you love them.
Rather than becoming complacent, acknowledge your partner by showing your appreciation for all that they do, for you and for the relationship. When something wonderful happens in their life, like an achievement, tell them how much you admire them and what it is about them that you admire.
For example, your partner’s been selected for a new role out of a large pool of candidates: “I’m so thrilled for you getting this role as I know how hard you worked for it, and I really admire your tenacity, commitment, and never-give-up attitude! I’m so proud of you!”
If we look for genuine opportunities to express our appreciation and admiration, we maintain an emotional connection.
All of the above, when done with awareness and genuine intent, help sustain closeness, which prevents resentments and frustrations from taking hold.
You will experience a deeper, loving connection, to maintain passion, and both emotional and sexual intimacy.
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Amanda & John, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Amanda & John are known as 'The Couple Whisperers' and as a couple themselves, know what it takes to maintain emotional connection, no matter what's happening in life. As coaches in their own right, Amanda & John decided to combine their skills, to help couples reconnect, tune up their relationship and deepen connection. Having delivered face-to-face workshops, webinars, 1:1 couple coaching and as podcast guests, their approach of warmth, understanding and empathy set them apart. Their mantra is 'Love Your Relationship' and if you don't know how, they can show you the way!