When you’re in a long-term, committed relationship, it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of whether or not you’re growing together. Or even if your connection is strong. Authors like Scott Peck, whose work The Road Less Traveled continues to give perspective on love beyond the initial romance. Another powerful thinker is Bell Hooks. Her trilogy All About Love, Communion: The Female Search For Love and The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity and Love deeply explore aspects of this powerful human drive to connect. British philosopher and founder of the School of Life, Alain De Botton, has published many books and articles bridging the abstract of love with everyday life.

Here’s a short essay I included in my coaching guide for couples, Big Picture Partnering: 16 Weeks to a Rock-Solid Relationship. It focuses on the aspect of differences between people which is where so many people question the depth of their love. Yet, paradoxically, that’s where a deeper, more enduring connection, can be forged.

Intimacy and Emotional Connection

Intimacy is getting to know someone who is different from yourself, then making space for those differences and accommodating those unique qualities in a relationship. It doesn’t mean you have to like everything your partner does, or necessarily agree on everything. Rather it is a non-judgmental caring, a desire to know another person that develops out of a sense of openness and curiosity about another person, how they experience life, what they value, enjoy, desire. It is also the willingness to share the same about yourself. Intimacy is not just a feeling of being “in love.” It is a combination of care, respect, wanting to know your partner’s thoughts, feelings, and desires, and a willingness to work together to meet some of those.

Getting to know someone too quickly is not necessarily intimacy. It may simply be an emotional sharing that makes you feel connected for a brief time. True intimacy develops over time: It is the knowledge that we are willing to “know” one another, and continue getting to know one another, and that this is an evolving, growing, lifetime knowing.

When you are a couple for a long time, intimacy includes balancing acceptance of another and yourself with challenging each other to grow or develop more fully. Sometimes it is a feeling; often it is an action involving respect, caring, deep understanding and acceptance, along with interactions and communication that promote mutual growth.

The feeling of safety with that person, the feeling of being cared about, accepted, not judged, the feeling of being on the same team is what we call emotional connection. When you have developed this level of intimacy, you feel emotionally connected in the same room, while you are each off at work, or when you are across the globe.

Check out our other resources for couples.

Big Picture Partnering Resources

Read the article Keys to Confidence, Security and Emotional Connection for Couples the take the simple Relationship Style Assessment here.

Then when you are ready let’s customize coaching that meets your needs, let’s talk. Reach out for a complimentary discovery call here.

I’ll help you achieve your goals and create the thriving future you desire.

Dr. Jan Hoistad