Today, we hear about intimacy nearly everywhere. Euphemistically, intimacy refers to a sexual relationship. While sex is important, the most fundamental component of a healthy relationship is emotional intimacy. For many people, emotional intimacy can feel just as vulnerable (or even more so) than sexual intercourse. So how can we learn to become emotionally naked with our significant other?
In my experience, an important prerequisite to establishing an emotional intimate relationship with a partner is developing a strong sense of self-awareness. Ask yourself, “What do I like?” “What do I need?” “What am I looking for in a romantic relationship?” Seeking awareness of our own feelings, desires, and motives is key to developing intimacy.
After all, we can’t communicate our needs to our partner if we don’t even know what they are.
So what are some ways to get to know our own emotional wants and needs? I learned a ton about myself by reading The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts. This book reveals what you desire in your relationships and what type of energy you put out. If you want to find out your love language but don’t want to read the whole book, take this online quiz instead.
Keeping a journal can also help you understand your own emotional wants and needs. Did you have an interaction with your partner this week that made you feel particularly loved, seen, or respected? On the other hand, did you find yourself reacting negatively to your partner’s actions? What made you feel the way that you did? Recording both your positive and negative moments with your significant other will help you increase your self-awareness, which translates into intimacy.
You can also work towards developing healthy boundaries with your partner, which will set your intimacy limits.
To do this effectively, you must understand and respect your own limitations. If you aren’t quite sure what your boundaries are, start paying attention to times when your partner’s actions make you feel resentful, unsafe, or overly worried. These feelings can be an indication that your significant other is violating at least one of your boundaries. If this is the case, be sure to kindly let your partner know that their actions are not acceptable. It can be scary to learn to speak up for yourself, but if you need extra support in communicating your boundaries to others, seek advice from a trusted family member, friend, or paid professional.
Couples who have each taken the time to build their own self-awareness will very likely have an easier time becoming emotionally naked with each other.
Emotional intimacy requires vulnerability and strong communication skills. In my experience, the vulnerability required to create an intimate bond can feel scary, but it is the only way couples can develop deep, meaningfulful relationships.
Understanding your own preferences and your partner’s inclinations can reduce conflict within the relationship. Also, knowing your partner’s love language helps tremendously. Everyone gives and receives love differently, so knowing the best way to show love to your significant other will do wonders for your emotional intimacy.
So what are you waiting for? Read the book, take the quiz, start a journal, etc. Learning to be emotionally naked with your significant other is not an overnight process; I promise it is worth the time and effort.