5 things most people don’t know about emotional connection in marriage

We know emotional connection is important in marriage, but why?

Here are five powerful benefits of emotional connection with your partner that you may not know.

1. Emotional connection is the key to problem solving.

When couples fight, it’s usually not about what they are fighting about. Couples fight because they feel emotionally disconnected and don’t like it.

And when couples feel that disconnection, they will pick the first thing in sight to blame for the anxiety they feel.

He: “If you would just park the car on your side of the driveway I wouldn’t have to worry about hitting it every time I back out of the garage!”

She: “Well if you would fix my side of the driveway, I wouldn’t have to step in the mud every time I get out of my car!”

Even if she parks on her side every time for the rest of her life, and even if he fixes the driveway today, it won’t solve the problem.

Why? Because the problem is not the problem.

The problem is the feeling of being emotionally disconnected.

When a feeling of disconnection occurs, anxiety is triggered, defenses go into effect, and our adrenal gland pumps cortisol into our system. Feeling stressed, we then blame the problem on the first thing that becomes apparent in that moment.

“It’s the way you put the dishes in the dishwasher!”
“It’s your mother! You care more about her than you do me!”
“It’s your job! I feel like you’d rather be at work than at home with me!”

“It’s…” you name it! Every disgruntled partner has something they think is the problem!

But THAT PROBLEM IS NEVER THE PROBLEM!

The problem is not feeling connected.

Nagging, criticizing, cajoling, or giving the silent treatment might get you what you’re asking for…

…but it will never get you what you want – the restored feeling of connection with your partner that you’re really longing for.

2. Emotional connection produces feelings of full-aliveness.

If you repair the rupture and feel connected again, defenses come down, the happy chemicals start flowing. There’s nothing more pleasurable than the rush of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin into your system!

This results in feelings of safety, connection, passion, and full aliveness .

When you feel connected again all the “problems” you’re struggling to solve simply dissolve.

“Chuck that sounds like a fairy tale!”

No it’s true! When you feel connected things just aren’t such a big deal.

Like the way your partner puts the dishes in the dishwasher, the love he has for his mother, or her commitment to her job. These are just the things we complain about when we feel disconnected.

With a close emotional connection, these things simply dissolve, as overwhelming feelings of well-being flood you and your partner and the space between you.

3. Emotional connection lowers your stress level.

When criticism is replaced with appreciation, and frustrations are translated into positive requests for things that make us feel loved, anxiety abates, defenses come down, safety is achieved, and relaxed joyfulness is experienced.

That’s when you’ll notice a whole lot less stress even when your life is otherwise very stressful.

Everytime you give your partner a hug, your pituitary gland releases oxytocin which lowers your heart rate and lowers cortisol levels.

Why is this important?

Cortisol is a hormone largely responsible for stress, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

It’s a fact that partners who regulate stress with regular physical embracing and ongoing physical intimacy have fewer life-threatening diseases.

There is no better stress remedy than a close connection, and regular hugs, and other physical contact with your intimate partner.

To come home after a hard day to a warm embrace has more value than you might think.

Intimacy with your marriage partner can reduce stress better than anything you can do on your own, such as meditation, yoga, mindfulness, or you name it.

But wait…there’s more!

4. Emotional connection results in more and better sex.

When a relationship is predictably stable and safe, more and better sex is usually the result.

Aside from the health benefits of a regular sex life, there is the fun, and feelings of full aliveness that come with complete vulnerability, safety, and intimacy that only couples can enjoy.

“Ok Chuck, you had me at ‘more and better sex’!”

5. Emotional connection unleashes your creativity.

So, what is it about an intimate partnership that brings out the best in men and women?

There is no greater uplifting feeling than to have someone who loves you unconditionally. Someone who is there for you when things are at their worse. Someone who can look you in the eye, and remind you of who you are when you are doubting yourself.

When you’re emotionally connected you HAVE EVERYTHING. You DON’T NEED THE OTHER STUFF.

Not from your job, or from success, or from a bigger bank account, or from anything.

It’s only when we feel emotionally disconnected that we look to all those other things for our significance and fulfillment. And it never really lasts.

A stable, secure, and deep emotional connection is the key to not only succeeding but also finishing well in this life.

The passion, the joyful relaxation, and the full-aliveness that overflow from your marriage into your life work is the number one key to having the greatest impact and  influence you can possibly have.

And when you fail, it simply doesn’t matter. Because you already have what your heart really longs for – a deep connection with your intimate partner.

This can make you bolder and more willing to take risks than you would otherwise. Why not? There’s nothing to lose!

It’s like Chloe Kim, the 17 yr. old snowboarder who won olympic gold in Pyeongchang 2018.

She she scored enough on her first run to win the gold medal.

Since she had already secured the gold, she realized there was no way she could fail on her last run.

So she pulled out all the stops, and went for the record books. As a result she got an almost perfect score, nailing back to back 1080s, in other words, three full mid-air revolutions!

I want my “last run” in life to be like that!

How about you?

This kind of confidence begins and ends with an emotional connection with your partner.

Work on that first…and then let your feelings of connection and full-aliveness overflow as you launch that blog, write that book, create that new program, start that new business!

Access your dreams and unleash your creativity!

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Don’t settle for an “OK” marriage”! Ask for what you need!

So many couples are staying together in an unhappy marriage. When you ask how they’re doing, they’ll say, “OK”.

That’s code for “I’ve settled”.

In more open and honest moments, they’ll admit, “We say we’re happily married, but actually most of our needs are being met outside our relationship.”

Or…

“Everyone thinks we’re doing fine, but we don’t really feel connected. He does his thing and I do mine. We’re like ships passing in the night.”

Can you relate? Would that describe your marriage?

Well join the crowd!

Experts tell us that up to 90% of couples who stay married report their relationship as “less than satisfactory”.

Some of these couples make it to the end of their lives, surviving in this prison. Life sure didn’t turn out like they expected, but they felt hopeless to change it.

But other couples don’t survive. Their relationship eventually blows up and ends.

And it doesn’t have to be a big problem that blows it up. You’ll hear them blame it on things like, “We couldn’t agree on whether to squeeze the toothpaste from the top or the bottom of the tube.”

But here’s what actually happened:

Years of living with someone without feeling connected resulted in pain that became unbearable.

And they put off getting help until it was too late.

Dr. John Gottman said that the average time it takes for a person with a pain in their heart to call for help is four hours.

But the average time it takes for a person with a pain in their marriage to call for help is seven years!

So don’t wait!

You can break out of that place where you’re stuck by learning to ask for what you need!

Change happens when we make it safe enough for each other to turn our frustrations into desires expressed.

Then when my partner gives me what I ask for, it brings healing to me and closeness in our relationship.

But for my partner, it usually means they must be willing to grow into parts of themselves they never developed.

And that’s hard.

“Wait a minute Chuck! You said to ask for what I need? I’ve done that a thousand times and it didn’t work!”

Did you make it safe enough to ask for what you need? Or did you just ask?

Asking someone who is in a defensive mode always comes across as nagging. And you’re right! That never works!

But in a safe conversation, asking for what you want gives your partner a great opportunity to stand tall and be your hero!

And that’s when everything changes.

Just ask Mark and Sunny.

One day Mark made a request of Sunny.

It was something he really needed from her.

He was tired of them both being ships passing in the night. After years of marriage, he wanted to know this woman he lived with in a more personal way.

Turns out that request was not easy for Sunny. It required of her something she had never done. It required that she stretch and grow a part of herself that was lost growing up and never developed.

Watch their story then discuss it together with the questions below.

(This is a powerful video by one of my mentors, Nedra Fetterman. Watch it as she tells the story of her own parents, Mark and Sunny.)

Because of privacy settings, you’ll have to watch it on Vimeo. Click on the blue tab to watch, and then come back and discuss what you saw using the questions below.

https://vimeo.com/92579127

Discuss with your partner…

1. In what ways is your relationship like Mark and Sunny’s before Mark made his request?

Here are some steps that have to be followed in order to make a request that deepens the connection in your relationship.

– Create Safety
– Connect
– Make a Request (small, specific, doable and positive)
– Be Courageous

2. Why is safety important?

3. Why should the goal of a request be “to connect” rather than to just make a change?

4. Why do you think this takes courage?

5. What would you like to ask from your partner right now? If the conversation feels safe, do it and then talk about it.

When you’ve finished, please take a moment to share your thoughts with everyone in the reply section below.

And…if you haven’t already…

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My goal is to provide free relationship resources delivered to your email inbox every week!