After a lot of contemplation, I came to the conclusion that I wanted better myself this year in any way possible. Of course, bettering one’s self isn’t an easy task to say the least; however, I’m willing to try. In my last post, I described toward the end of my list that I wanted to be happier, not let people walk all over me and so on, but I didn’t think thoroughly about the changes I would have to make to achieve these goals–which didn’t come to me until I was in the middle of an argument with my husband.
You know when you argue with someone that sometimes what you’re really thinking has tendency to come out? Well, that’s exactly what happened during our argument; he expressed that he felt that we didn’t share an emotional connection–specifically he said that I didn’t open up emotionally despite us being together for so long. This came as a shock at the time, but as I thought about it I realized what he was saying was true. I’m not someone who often opens up to others emotionally because I’ve been hurt so badly in the past.
The argument ended up leading me on a fishing expedition to define “emotional connection,” which in turn has inspired me to write this post. From all that I’ve read, I’ve come to the conclusion that the definition changes depending on who you talk to. In my opinion, an emotional connection is a mixture of emotions that people share with one another creating a strong bond–this can happen not only with a significant other, but also with friends, family or even co-workers. I also believe you can have different degrees of emotional connection with different people and it often affects how you act with different people and how you portray yourself to them. Though I had successfully defined “emotional connection,” I still couldn’t help but wonder how to achieve and maintain an emotional connection with someone–especially my husband.
While surfing the web, I was able to find an article on a website called lifescript.com, which clearly stated tips an author thought would build and maintain emotional connection. I think that the author, Isabella Gladd, pretty much hit the nail on the head with her tips, so I’ve decided to share her seven tips to an “unbreakable bond” and share my own thoughts on each tip:
#1 Study Your Partner:
I must agree that knowing one’s partner is probably one of the most important aspects of creating and maintaining an emotional connection and to maintain a relationship in general. As suggested in the article, you need to really listen when you talk with your partner in order to know what they want. Not just know what they enjoy doing or where they want to do on a date, but what they want out of life and what they want out of the relationship.
When going over the argument I had with my husband, comparing it with these tips, I realized that I hadn’t fully been listening to him for the past couple of years. Sure I knew what he wanted for his birthday, what his favorite foods were and more, but I didn’t know or understand what he wanted out of life, what he wanted out of our relationship or what he wanted from me. He said that he had explained it all to me before and I believe him 100% because sometimes, I don’t listen. Despite having “freak hearing” and going into counseling, I still failed to listen to my husband like I listen to everyone else I encounter.
To be fair, for the most part I listened and understood what he was telling me previously–otherwise we wouldn’t still be together–but I seemed to be missing some chunks of what was being said. I’ve finally listened to what he’s saying and I understand what he wants and what he needs.
So, when you’re having a conversation with your significant other, make sure you actively listen and understand what it is they are saying; they may be telling you something that could be very important when it comes to your relationship.
It’s important to have trust in a relationship, unless of course you want your partner calling you every five minutes that you aren’t together, dumping your phone records or checking your text messages. As the article implies, trust is important to develop, but it should be built naturally and it certainly will not happen overnight.
I believe that building trust should start before a couple enters a more serious relationship with one another. I think that when a couple is building a friendship they should also start working on building that trust because it is important to have when in a relationship of any sort really.
#3 Emotional Availability:
Oh boy, this is one I personally struggle with. As I said before, I’m not someone who wears their heart on their sleeve and this is the one tip that I really need to work on.
Your partner needs to know how you’re feeling when you’re feeling it. Don’t hide your emotions from your partner! If you’re sad, let them know so that they can comfort you, if you’re happy, share your smile with them, if you’re angry let them know it. It’s better, in my opinion, to let your partner know your feelings rather than holding back. It’s an important aspect to emotional connection.
Like I said, this is not one of my personal strong suites and I’m sure there are others out there that this will be difficult for. I feel that once this is established, my relationship and yours will be stronger as you will be able to have a strong, emotional bond with your significant other.
#4 Show Affection:
You know when you first form a relationship how you and your partner are nearly inseparable and you’re always touching in some way? That often fades with time and sometimes; you’d rather not be touched at all. Here’s the thing, you can’t stop showing affection for your significant other. It’s important for them to know that you still care even if you don’t say it. Brush their hand gently, give them a good-night kiss, hold their hand, do something to show them that you care.
This will also show your partner that you are still physically attracted to them. Not feeling as if your partner is physically attracted to you may lead to a number of things. Not only may they not feel as if you don’t care for them, but it may also do damage to their self-esteem–making them think they’re unattractive.
#5 Fight Fair:
Ah, arguments. I honestly cannot name one couple that has never had an argument in their life, whether it was with a significant other, friend or family member. It’s honestly bound to happen and I’d be truly shocked if I were to hear from someone that they’ve never had an argument before. That being all being said, listen to this tip and always fight fair.
During an argument, we’re bound to say something nasty or hurtful to the person we’re fighting with, but we should really strive not to do that. It only causes hurt feelings and maybe even a breakup in some circumstances. This article suggests getting professional help or aid from a book to learn how to fight fair if you can’t learn to do this on your own, but I think it’s very difficult to learn how to fight fair even with professional help.
In the heat of the moment, you will more than likely say things you don’t mean and if you can’t stop yourself from doing that, at least be aware of what you’ve said and apologize for saying what you didn’t mean. Don’t just brush it off as if it were nothing or that your significant other will know that you didn’t mean it; take the time to actually apologize to them, let them know you didn’t mean what you said and that it was just in the heat of the moment. It will go a long way and may even save your relationship.
Also, it is brought up in the article not to bring up the past, which is something my husband and I both are guilty of doing. It honestly just makes things worse when you bring up the past in an argument because it’s as if you’re shoving it in your partner’s face. You also have to understand that after time has passed; you may not remember exactly how something happened in the past, which only causes a bigger fight because you end up fighting with your partner about the details of an incident that’s already passed.
We all really need to simply try to fight fair in the end. And a small tip of my own: always make sure that you and your partner make up before parting ways, going to sleep or what have you. If something happens to your partner because do you really want the last thing you said to them to be hurtful or something that you couldn’t take back?
#6 See the World Through His [/Her] Eyes:
Have you ever heard the phrase, “walk a mile in his/her shoes”? This tip is the same idea, see the world how your significant other would see it. I think this tip goes hand in hand with studying your partner because it’s another way to get to know them. You can learn why your significant other behaves the way they do or does the things they do. This, of course, can be difficult because you cannot literally see the world through their eyes, but you can talk to them and learn how they see things.
You should also encourage your significant other to do the same thing so that they can learn more about you. Take the time to tell your significant other how you were brought up, what your experiences have been and so on so that they can learn how you see the world. This will help you both learn new things about one another and understand one another better.
#7 Overcome the Obstacles:
When you’re in a relationship you should almost expect to run into some sort of obstacles along the way–family, financial, educational problems and more. If you cannot overcome these obstacles, it’s possible that your relationship will crumble under the pressure. Instead of allowing the problem to sit and continue to get grow, talk it out with your significant other. Identify exactly what the problem is so that you both can decide the best way to go about overcoming it. This will help strengthen your bond with your significant other because it will show you both that together you both are more than capable overcoming any obstacle that may come your way.
So, there you have it. Seven tips by Isabella Gladd and my opinion on each of them, but what about you? What do you think of the tips that Gladd gives us? Leave me a comment to let me know!
Make sure to visit LifeScript.com to view Isabella Gladd’s full article, ‘How to Build an Emotional Connection.’
Posted on January 8, 2012 by Felicia