Tuesday, August 28, 2007

How to Connect Emotionally with Your Spouse

Are you having a difficult time connecting with your spouse ?

Do you try connecting with your partner only to come up empty?

If the answer is yes, this special write up is just for you.

This article is by Dr. Frank Gunzburg, an online colleague. Frank goes back about as far as I do, professionally, helping hundreds of couples and thousands of people whose lives are shaken byrelationship crisis.

Last month, Dr. Frank Gunzburg wrote an ncredibly insightful article that teaches you step by step how to reconnect again.

So if you feel like you are trapped in an emotionally arctic wasteland in your relationship, or even if you simply want to deepen an emotional connection you already have, keep reading.

It may just save your marriage.

How to Connect Emotionally with Your Spouse
Frank Gunzburg, PhD

Susan and Alex were sitting in my office trying to rebuild an emotional connection that had been destroyed by years of distance, neglect, and a short affair Alex was engaged in a year before.

Susan started telling Alex how important the intimate connection they once had was to her.

She said, "Alex, I used to love it when we were intimate."

Alex said, "Ya, I know."

And that was the end of the conversation ... or it would have been if I hadn't intervened. The problem here was the same problem so many people have when they are trying to connect with their partner emotionally—the communication falls apart because each thinks he knows what the other means.

It was absolutely clear to me that Alex didn't have the slightest idea what Susan was talking about. But those three little words—ya, I know—were about to kill a moment that had the potential to be truly powerful for Susan and Alex.

Knowing it couldn’t stop there, I asked Alex what he thought Susan was talking about.

He said, "Susan wants us to have more sex. All she can talk about is being intimate."

Susan, of course, was aghast. Sex was the last thing on her mind, and she told Alex as much.
He consequently became annoyed and confused and had a hard time continuing with the session. With a little gentle guidance he stayed. And the moments that followed became some of the most powerful in their relationship.

How to Deepen the Emotional Connection

When an intimate relationship is operating at an optimal level, the two people in the relationship touch each other emotionally by talking to and listening to one another in a passionate and sensitive way.

If you have suffered some trauma in your relationship or you’ve grown apart over time, you may not be touching each other this way right now.

When this emotional distance goes on too long, it can be dangerous to a relationship. You run the risk of growing even further apart and your relationship may eventually dissolve altogether.

This primarily happens because people don’t know how to intimately communicate. They talk and listen the way Susan and Alex did in my office. There are few words, or there could be a lot of words, a whole lot of assumptions, and too little investigation of what’s going on for the other person.

The good news is that intimate communication isn’t an inborn trait. It’s a skill that can be learned. And learning this skill will help you connect to your partner on a much deeper emotional level.

Let’s look at how you do that.

Knowing When to Talk: Feel the Moment and Reach Out

The emotionally deepening moments in your relationship will not happen everyday and shouldn’t. (See more about this in the “Advice for Women” below.) They will be scattered throughout your relationship.

So the first step to emotionally connected communication is learning how to catch the opportunities to deepen your emotional connection and take advantage of them.

Alex and Susan had that kind of opportunity when Alex chose to stay in session and continued investigating what his wife was telling him.

But these moments can present themselves in many other ways as well.

Over the course of your lives together you may find yourselves sitting on a balcony looking out over a beautiful ocean view sipping a glass of wine or curled up by a fireplace, warm and relaxed.

In these romantic, personal moments you can touch each other in ways that are intimate, but not necessarily sexual. You can touch each other with your understanding. Perhaps, in a moment like this your partner will open up and share something that’s important to her with you. Or, you may willingly share a piece of yourself with your partner.

When this happens it’s time to open up and truly communicate with your partner. And when I say communicate, I don’t mean simply talk the way we do everyday. I mean learning HOW to talk and learning HOW to listen.

Because despite the fact that we all learn to speak at a young age, very few of us really know how to communicate about feelings in depth. Luckily, you’re about to learn.

Before I get to that I wanted to mention another issue. In some relationships traumatic events have made it very difficult to communicate intimately. You may find that you very rarely have moments like the ones described above.

In Dr Robert's How to Survive An Affair, he offer ways to develop communication and rebuild intimacy.

Even if you haven’t suffered from an affair, some of those techniques may help you.

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