There is a feeling I get whenever things are dialed-in between Tami and I. It is a feeling of wholeness, of being complete, of being cared for and needed by another human. And it is pure unadulterated bliss! I have desired this bliss for my children and friends as well since with it, you can do anything! We call this state of bliss LOVE and while it's not hard to find, it's very difficult to keep and to keep thriving. So, how do we keep love alive?
Dr. Sue Johnson, as well as those that speak the language of Emotionally Focused Therapy (or EFT), would refer to this as a high level of emotional connection. Research tells us that we were created for connection to others and we excel in many areas of life when we have it. What this means is that we should be deliberate to connect with our loved ones, and especially our spouses, on a deep emotional level. This is easier said than done since many levels of connection are much easier to achieve (and shallower as well).
What are these levels of connection?
There are three basic levels of connection or communication that any married couple should be mindful of. Those three levels are facts, opinions and ideas, or feelings and emotions. If you spend just a few minutes thinking these levels though, you will quickly realize that it does not take much effort to connect at the lowest level, facts. You could be sitting next to a total stranger at a sporting event and easily connect at this level. You could possibly move to the next level, sharing opinions and ideas, with this stranger as well. Although doing so would certainly increase your level of exposure and your vulnerability. This is precisely the reason why we need to be careful who we discuss things like politics and religion with. This does not mean these subjects are forever taboo, on the contrary, because these are important issues, but it does mean we need to be more careful WHO we share our opinions and ideas with and HOW we share them.
But what about the deepest level of connection?
Now imagine yourself after a long day of slaying dragons, ending world hunger, or raising rambunctious toddlers. Most of us simply would not have the emotional margin (energy) to move beyond the most basic and necessary topics of conversation. And this is certainly understandable. But oh, the beautiful intimacy that awaits those who are intentional to press deeper into sharing feelings and emotions. This takes much more effort on our parts and this is why sharing feelings and emotions with your spouse is so important.
We titled this post, You Think You Know What Love is, but You Don't, because most people will identify love with the euphoric feelings of infatuation and will try to find ways to experience that euphoria as much as possible. This should not be our goal in marriage, rather our goal should always be to press emotionally deeper towards our spouse and with our spouse. When we do, we discover something much different than fleeting infatuation. We discover mature love and the security that goes with it.
How is it done?
The next time you are having a conversation with your spouse, ask yourself what emotional level of connection you are sharing yourself at. Are you sharing facts, ideas and opinions, or feelings and emotions? Then be deliberate to try and press one level deeper if you can. It's good to know where you currently are in your communication and it's even better when you are comfortable moving things to the next level. Many people, without even knowing it, shy away from deeper levels and the vulnerability that goes with them. In marriage, this would be a mistake that ends up with a couple at some point feeling like, "I don't even know this person that I married." Don't let this be you.
Maintaining a deep level of emotional connection is not as difficult or a scary as it may sound to some. We only need to know that it is good for our relationships and be intentional to work on it one step at a time.
If you want to read more, Created for Connection by Dr. Sue Johnson is an excellent book to give you more insights and ideas.
If you have any comments or questions about this post, we would love to hear from you in the comments below.
Link to: https://tandemmarriage.com/eft
By Brad & Tami Miller. Contact us at brad@TandemMarriage.com. Copyright © 2016