2021 has come to an end. Some were glad to see it go and others look back with fond memories. For us, it was both. For many reasons, it was hard and seemed a little like another dumpster fire. On the other hand, we saw baby Zayn go from an infant to sitting, crawling, pulling up, saying his first words, walking and dancing! We went on great adventures to Egypt, Sea World, and traveled to see family. It was full of joy and memories!
However, one thing I’m seeing with clients, friends, followers and being a pilot wife, even with my own marriage at times is that the one thing lacking in many marriages is connection.
Humans start looking for connection as soon as we are born! It starts with feeling that skin to skin contact with our parents straight out of the womb. We feel comfort, love and safety there, physically and emotionally. That drive to find emotional safety with other human beings, that deep need for physical comfort extends throughout our entire lives. The search for emotional safety is part of our survival. This may be a newsflash for you and it may not. Some are aware and others not so much. Some even go so far as to deny this drive even exists because they’ve lost contact with it. Oh but deeply suppressed, it’s still there.
Emotional safety > emotional connection > emotional intimacy. It’s a chain reaction. When emotional intimacy is lacking in marriage, it creates a deep, black hole of emptiness and/or emotional discomfort. Both of these cause people to behave in ways that hurt themselves and others. Remember how I’m always saying that behavior is communication of an unmet need? Still applies here. The unmet need is emotional connection or emotional intimacy. The behavior is that hurt people hurt people.
So in 2022, I challenge you to develop a deeper emotional intimacy with your partner. How?
Cultivate a sense of “good enough”. Good enough is not perfect- we and nothing is ever going to be perfect. This sense of good enough understands that no one in your home is ever going to be emotionally available, present and supportive 100% of the time. However, it is also striving for at least 50% of the time. It’s giving your partner and your children a felt experience of being seen, heard, understood, wanted and loved. Especially, when they are feeling emotional distress (anger, anxiety, sadness, fear, loss, disappointment, etc). This means that when your partner or your children are acting out in ways that are less than loveable, you understand that in that moment is when they need love the most!
It means that instead of saying “you’re ok/fine” or “stop crying” to your kids, you say things like “how can I help you right now?” or “is your body hurt or your feelings?” proceeded with “do you need (provide a solution), a hug, or both?” It’s not getting angry at them because they’re communicating an unmet need and don’t have the emotional regulation or vocabulary to communicate with words in a respectful, calm manner. Many adults don’t even do this so having that expectation for your children is unrealistic.
It means that you develop connection with your spouse by getting to know them again! When Moe and I were dating, we spent HOURS on the phone talking and asking questions. The other day I mentioned not feeling connected and referenced these conversations to which he replied “Yeah but babe, we’re done with that. We did it when we were dating so we don’t have to have those conversations again.” OY VEY! No, no, no my friend. As a couple, you are constantly having those conversations because you’re constantly evolving. Who you are now is not who you were 5 years ago. Do you know your partner now? Do you know yourself now? Asking open-ended questions, digging deeper into things, promoting that emotional connection builds that emotional intimacy which leads to a MUCH deeper physical intimacy! So if your emotional relationship is lacking, so is your life in the bedroom mostly likely. If your emotional intimacy is strong, safe and deep, so is the sex!
Emotional support skills are learned skills including emotional validation, reflection, mindfulness, active listening, communication, self-regulation and co-regulation, and the biggest one of all- empathy.
If you’re interested in deepening this for yourself, check out the courses page for a brand new course option that hasn’t even been advertised to the public yet!
Have a HAPPY NEW YEAR! Build that emotional connection and keep striving to be the best version of yourself in 2022! I have so much hope and excitement for you and all you’re going to accomplish this year!