A breakdown in intimacy is one of the most difficult challenges therapists, coaches, and clergy face when working with couples. Intimacy embodies the feeling that two spouses know one another more deeply and completely than anyone else. When there is an intimacy deficit in the relationship, the ripple effect impacts communication and raises the couple’s chances of conflict.
In order for intimacy to exist, there are two major goals couples must meet consistently over time: Communication and Conflict Management Skills.
Good communication is one of the most important factors a couple must have for a happy, long-lasting marriage. A relationship assessment, such as SYMBIS, can help you as couples gain insights into your individual communication styles, in addition to how you communicate as a couple. By gaining deeper understanding and more effective communication, you’re helping your marriage for long-term success. Communication goes beyond everyday chores and logistics. Truly communicating means that each spouse feels emotionally safe, able to share information, and free to be vulnerable when needed. Real communication is essential to true intimacy, so work as a couple preferably with facilitators like myself to explore this aspect of your relationship.
CONFLICT MANAGEMENT SKILLS
The ability to handle conflict in a constructive, healthy way is another essential element of a lasting relationship. In addition to communication, it’s important that couples work on their conflict management skills as early as possible. If possible, tackle those issues during pre-marriage counseling sessions.
In many troubled relationships, the inability to constructively handle conflict is at the heart of ongoing issues. Dive deep into these recurring problems, working together with your counselor or pastor to determine where the breakdowns are occurring, and learn to cultivate empathy and greater understanding toward your spouse. When a couple is able to handle conflict well, their marriage will be far more intimate.
Couples on listening skills and emotional safety. In addition, spend plenty of time teaching them how to fight well and effectively–because, although fights will inevitably happen in marriage, it’s possible to fight in such a way that the spouses can reach a resolution. We’ve developed a model of the “perfect” fight that we like to call The Good Fight. We encourage couples and therapists alike to study our model to learn both how to have, and teach, an effective fight that allows spouses to address the issue at hand without becoming destructive or doing damage to the relationship.
The Article is adapted from SYMBIS website. I am a certified facilitator for SYMBIS. If you are a couple planning to get married or already married but never assessed your compatibility, contact me or read more at my Marriage Prep page.