When we think of getting closer to our spouse, expressing our differences usually doesn’t make the top 10 list. In fact, most of us run from sharing our differences because we don’t want to fight about them.
It’s not differences that are the problem. It’s how we think about having differences with our spouse that creates problems. Most of us are used to feeling close by being similar or having agreement on an issue. If we see differences as a threat then we press on our spouse to adopt our way of thinking and doing.
Having similar interests and goals can bring people together but so can learning about each other. If you don’t view differences as a threat, then exploring different ideas can be very interesting and intimacy nurturing.
Expressing and Hearing Differences
At this stage, it’s time to start thinking of intimacy in a new way. Emotional intimacy is bigger than cuddles and love you’s, it’s also being open to sharing and hearing different ideas.
How can you be more open to expressing and hearing differences with your spouse? Intimacy doesn’t grow when we try to change our spouse or keep our ideas to ourselves. Start growing intimacy by observing your part in dealing with differences:
1. How you present your difference – Stop and ask yourself why am I telling my spouse that I have a different idea. If it is to change their mind, then you are not really being open and intimate. Pressuring your spouse to be like you is the opposite of intimacy.
2. How you react to your spouse’s difference – Again stop and ask how to think about their difference so it’s not a threat to you. Is it interesting to learn something new or freeing to not have to change it? Then you are inviting more openness, because you are respecting their differences.
If you can relate differently when faced with marriage differences, you are doing your part to create a marriage environment that can let’s intimacy breathe and grow. Emotional intimacy won’t always feel warm and fuzzy where you whisper sweet loving words to your spouse. Sometimes emotional intimacy is expressing the hard stuff too.
When you manage your own reactions without trying to manage your spouse, you are helping create a more open interaction. With more open interactions, the positive feelings will follow and flourish.
It’s so nice to be known by others and to know them too. This is what you do when you date, so how can you grow this level of intimacy today?
Interested in talking more about growing your intimacy? Unsure and confused what to try next? Hire Marci as your life/relationship coach. 30-minute introductory session is always free!
Photo Credit: “Grow Your Love” by KahyinG