Yesterday, I had jury duty. As I settled in for a long day, I of course had to find someone to talk to about what else, relationships.
She began to tell me a story about her friend who was gorgeous, but her self-esteem was low. She had the tendency to choose men that were dismissive and she wasn’t assertive when it came to expressing her needs.
In short, she was content with conversating via text and e-mails.
I immediately asked her, what is he hiding? She didn’t have a real relationship because she couldn’t even talk to him over the phone?
So Strivers, let me ask you? Can you have a real relationship by communicating via text, IM’s and e-mail? Or is it just virtual love?
We have reached a point in our level of Intimacy that can take your relationship to new heights . The ability to express your feelings. Frankie Beverly so eloquently sings in his song “Happy Feelings”.
And I’m gonna tell all I seen – These Happy feelin’s – I spread them all over the world – From Deep in my Soul.
We all yearn to connect with someone deep enough to share our feelings with, but we often hesitate to take the next step out of fear and rejection.
When our marriages, or relationships are relatively new, we can easily get through the facts of who we are. We can respond to these facts by stating our opinions. We may even get to the point whereby we can share our hopes and dreams. When it comes time to share our deep-rooted feelings about our partner, or our marriage it’s equivalent to jumping off the high dive and not knowing how to swim. We are opening ourselves to vulnerability in ways that have never been done before.
We may be reluctant to walk that plank because of the possibilities of fear and rejection are also at heighten levels. But if you want to achieve this level of intimacy the risk is worth taking. It is vital if your goal is to live a full and abundant life with your partner.
One thing that may delay that step is if you don’t feel you not at that point in your marriage to view your spouse as that confidante you can lean on for support. If that is true, you may want to revisit the other intimacy levels to see where the communication in your marriage is falling short.
If you are constantly and consistently bad-mouthing your husband, or wife and judging every word that comes out of their mouth, this level of intimacy will be almost impossible to achieve. You will need to create a system where you share your feelings in a healthful way. Over time it will become easier to share your innermost feelings in the future.
Matthew Kelly, author of The Seven Levels of Intimacy, suggest that you use the Who? What? When? Where? How? and Why? method.
The Who? is hopefully with your spouse. Make sure you keep in mind if you are feeling a certain way about your spouse that you are expressing your feelings in a way they become your best self. If that isn’t the case, go talk it out with God in the woods somewhere or write it in a journal. If you choose another person as that confidant, like an adolescent child, it may seem awkward and inappropriate to put that label on them.
The What? are those feelings that you need to express.
The When? is very important. You have to be in tune to the time your spouse will be the most receptive to listen. I know if I was in a happy mood as soon as I entered the door from working all day, I sure didn’t want to discuss something that was going to bring down my energy. Timing is important because you want to avoid being rejected because he/she wasn’t ready to listen.
The Where? You create the environment that makes you the most comfortable to share with no distractions. In front of the TV during the football game, or American Idol will not be the best place.
The How? Using “I” statements is important for expressing your true feelings. Using passive-aggressive language leave your partner even more frustrated and aware that your aren’t ready to have an intimate relationship.
The Why? By utilizing this method it will give you the greatest opportunity to succeed in achieving intimacy.
It is important that you manage your expectations in regards to intimacy level #5. It will take practice and the art of being a good active listener.
I know you hear this all the time..Being a good listener..My ears work, so what does that mean.
The qualities of active listening are understanding adds value. We are a nation of talkers. Impatient talkers if you want to be specific. Reality shows, social media, text, IM, is all about talking and sharing our thoughts OUT LOUD. If you can delay gratification and listen to your partner, your intrinsic value toward one another will increase.
Be mindful of the adjectives your partner gives. Those adjectives are the deeper issues behind the facts your partner shares. If your partner is reaching out to you to tell you that he/she is bored. It’s time to drill deeper.
If you hear that, repeat to question in order to make sure this is what you are hearing and ask questions. When you do this, your partner will gain confidence to reveal even more.
Finally, make sure you make eye contact with the person, even if you are inclined to turn away because it’s personal. Don’t! It will show not only to your spouse that you look interested, but you are interested.
Remember feelings are reactions to our journey of life. Some are good, some are bad. By giving your man, or woman the opportunity to express their feelings freely is truly the pinnacle to reaching intimacy level #5.