Defining Marital Money

Communication and Intimacy: The Foundation for Marriage – 05/03/07 – 08:05:39 PM

The two main complaints I hear from my clients are: 1) We don’t communicate anymore; and 2) I love my partner, I’m just not in love with him/her anymore. What they don’t realize is that these two statements are just different ways of saying the same thing. It is impossible to feel connected to someone you think does not listen to you or respect what you’re saying. If you aren’t connected to your partner it becomes very difficult to have a really intimate relationship. Identifying what is missing and figuring out how to bring it into the partnership is necessary if one hopes to have a long, successful marriage.

John Gray says men are from Mars and women are from Venus. I’m not sure we’re from different planets. I do think we may be two different species. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the areas of communication and intimacy. On average women use 7000 more words a day than men. Not only do we use more words but the number of neurons in our corpus colosum (the part of the brain that connects the two hemispheres) is greater in women. We take this to mean that we communicate better. After all, we have absolutely no problem being understood by our female friends. Therefore, men must be the source of error when there is a communication issue. What often is overlooked is the idea that women and men communicate differently. The intent of the conversation, the tone, and the meaning we give to words play large roles in the effectiveness of our communication. It is often in these areas where men and women make different assumptions and have different goals.

Intimacy is another example of fundamental differences between men and women. Men often need the physical intimacy to make the emotional connection so necessary in a marriage. Women, on the other hand, need to feel the emotional connection to be physically intimate. It has frequently made me wonder who designed this system. The piece that is consistently missed is that you need both physical intimacy and an emotional connection to make a truly intimate relationship work. This requires a deep level of trust between the partners which can be frightening as well as fragile. It is scary because the individuals must be open and honest with each other about all aspects of their lives: past, present, future, hopes, fears, disappointments, goals, dreams, etc. Being this open makes a person very vulnerable and puts him/her at great risk of being hurt. One must be willing to take that risk if the goal is a committed, fulfilling marriage.

Many of the couples I see are struggling with this issue of being hurt. The commonly accepted view of vulnerability is of weakness. I strongly disagree. One must be exceedingly strong and sure of one’s ability to handle the hurt to willingly place oneself in the position to be wounded. How this trust is handled determines its fragility. Communication is the method couples use to define the level of trust in the relationship. How loving, open and respectful partners are with each other defines the level of trust and intimacy present.

Over the next few articles I will be addressing the roles communication and intimacy play in a marriage and how to maximize both in a relationship. I will offer examples of how these two issues are intrinsically connected and how it is necessary to have high levels of both for a loving and fulfilling relationship.For previous articles about marriage go

@ 2007 Cary Home Times

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