To master conditional love (ego based love) is one thing, but to master UNCONDITIONAL LOVE (soul based love) is radical.
Whether you’re single, or already in a relationship, you have the FREE WILL to STEP UP and STEP INTO this richer kind of love for SELF, and others.
8 PRINCIPLES OF EMOTIONAL INTIMACY IN PARTNERSHIP
In order for you to experience UNCONDITIONAL LOVE with your partner…the delicious kind of love that allows you to THRIVE… then you’ll need to cultivate, establish and nurture the following 8 Principles of Emotional Intimacy:
1) You must both be able to safely express your wants, needs, concerns, fears, insecurities, and desires honestly and effectively…this is what emotional intelligence is all about. Being able to be RAW and REAL with each other like TRUE FRIENDS, solidifies security and emotional intimacy. Without this type of transparent, harmonious communication your union will suffer greatly. Compassionate listening is also key.
2. You must have a never ending curiosity to UNDERSTAND yourself, and your partner on an intimate level mentally, emotionally and physically AKA – know thyself and your partner. It’s easier to fully accept one another if you try to understand where your needs and triggers stem from. This is about respecting each other’s perspectives. THREE things you absolutely need to know about one another is your love languages, masculine/feminine essence, and your attachment styles.
3. You must genuinely care about your well-being and your partners. This is about nurturing your FOUR PILLARS OF LIFE, and supporting your partner to do the same. Showing consideration and empathy for your partners feelings is also part of caring for them. This shouldn’t feel like an obligation, if it does you have some healing to do.
We must acknowledge that even in partnership, we’re each responsible for our own happiness and well being. However, our partner’s do have the ability to impact our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being positively, or negatively.
4. There is not a competitive energy, but rather a cooperative one. You must both have the oneness attitude, and the knowing that you’re equals. You recognize you’re on the same team aiming to achieve the same goals in the relationship.
You know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and learn how to respect them (instead of condemning them), and bridge them for the greater good of the partnership. You understand that even though you may not always get along, or see eye to eye, in the big scheme of things you trust you have each other’s best interest in mind.
(Sidenote: Fun, playful competitiveness is healthy.)
Part of the cooperation mindset is being open to receiving constructive feedback about ourselves from our partners. I purposefully used the word feedback instead of criticism because it has a negative connotation.
As long as the feedback is coming from a good place, and delivered respectfully, we should welcome their advice. I know it isn’t always easy to hear about our shortcomings, but we should take their opinion into consideration if it is going to help expand us further into a state of balance and love.
I want to encourage every couple to view themselves as a team working together to help one another reach their optimal potential as a human being.
5. You show support and express interest in their dreams, aspirations and accomplishments. Through words of affirmations, and/or your actions, you let them know YOU BELIEVE IN THEM, and will be there to help them achieve their goals in whatever way you can…even if it’s just emotional support. Their joys and accomplishments should impact you positively, not adversely. We want to know our partner’s are proud of us.
Encouragement and praise is something a TRUE FRIEND would lovingly want to offer. This type of support also applies when they’re trying to break a bad habit, or try something new. If for whatever reason you can’t be encouraging, then at the very least don’t rain on their parade.
(Sidenote: If you struggle with this type of kindness it would benefit you to ask yourself why?)
6. You take accountability for wrong doings, and aren’t afraid to apologize. There are going to be times when you say, or do something to disappoint and/or hurt your partners feelings. You must realize and accept it’s next to impossible to not step on each other’s toes from time to time, especially if you’re married and want to commit to til death do us part. Avoiding conflict at all costs is unhealthy. Pride, stubbornness and selfishness kill emotional intimacy. Humility, vulnerability and selflessness on the other hand are helpful.
Relationship and research expert John Gottman, says conflict is healthy when it is used to grow. The goal in partnerships is to learn what triggers one another, and why. It is in those moments you get to a deeper understanding of one another, and your love has the chance to EXPAND.
Remember this, getting defensive and justifying your actions, or condemning your partner’s feelings and stonewalling, instead of listening compassionately to try to understand their pain, is not LOVE…it’s fear.
7. Be honest and honor your word. Consistent honesty and integrity establishes TRUST. You can’t respect one another if you don’t trust each other. So do your best to follow through with what you say you are going to do, no matter how small or big. If you fall through on your word acknowledge it and apologize.
Bold face lying, white lies, offering up half truths, and/or withholding information you know would hurt your partner, are all forms of deception and betrayal. Each has the potential to destroy relationships.
DISHONESTY is never justifiable, unless it’s a life or death situation. If you feel the need to lie and you get caught, immediately own it. Denying it, and/or somehow making them feel at fault for it, only makes it worse. And if you truly care about them and love them do whatever is necessary to heal the wound.
When it comes to infidelity it could take time to restore trust, so be patient. You also need to find someone to guide you through the healing process. If the person who lied shows a lack of remorse it is a sign of insensitivity, and inept empathy. Often times this is associated with an avoidant attachment style. These behaviors must be addressed if they’ll ever want to establish emotional intimacy for the long haul.
8. Physical Touch is a necessary love language. Touch is a key ingredient to keeping a solid connection. Although a healthy sex life is essential, it’s the consistent subtle touches that are exchanged that matter the most. Strong bonding chemicals are released when two people touch, like oxytocin and vasopressin.
Hugs, cuddling, kissing, holding hands, AND reaching out to touch your partner as a way to show support and comfort when they’re worried, or in pain sends powerful messages to the brain and the body.
If a couple doesn’t have these 8 principles of emotional intimacy rooted in their partnership it will invariably fall short. It will lose it’s luster at some point or another. Over time one of you, or both of you, will eventually start to feel resentful, and less alive causing you to seek to fill that emptiness in a way that will sabotage your union.
Sadly, my ex left me no choice but to ask for a divorce. He struggled with honoring these principles, and didn’t have the desire to do the necessary work to address the root causes of his resistance. His continual inability to see his part in the mess we were in, and the lack of desire to fight for our marriage, was too much for me to bear mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
The truth is those who shun accountability, inner-reflection and transparent communication with their own self, cannot establish it with their partner. We must acknowledge that everyone is not ready to go through the difficult personal transformation, from conditional based love to unconditional love.
Luckily I’ve learned a lot from that heartbreaking experience. Now that I am wiser and more loving of self, I won’t accept anything less from a partner.