Family counselor Suzanne Degges-White Ph.D. believes that a successful relationship is made healthy by doing more than simply “Showing up.” Degges-White also ascribes to the beliefs of Aristotle who suggested that a truly happy life requires healthy intimate relationships. (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/lifetime-connections/201702/6-essential-traits-healthy-intimate-relationships).
The importance of a healthy emotional connection to any relationship cannot be overlooked especially with regards to anything that is expected to be long lasting. A relationship with a basis of purely physical intimacy has its limitations and a failure to connect emotionally will often lead to failure. There are a number of indications which let you know if the relationship is connecting on the emotional level.
1) The Relationship Has Meaning
Every relationship no matter how long or short has some level of meaning, even the elicit one night stand has the meaning of fleeting gratification. A healthy relationship, however, requires meaning that lasts and endures, it has a depth which is pleasing to both individuals. When both receive a feeling of being loved, respected, and needed an emotional intimacy is being built.
A healthy emotional intimacy requires that both people feel that they have meaning to the other. It also requires that both see the potential of where the relationship can go and how it can grow.
2) Personal and Couple Growth
A couple who are supportive of one another and urge each other to become more than they already are promote growth. A healthy emotional intimacy requires that partners be supported and encouraged by each other. If one partner wants to try a new career and make a better life in the long run for both of you then supporting that is mutually beneficial. Try not to stifle each other’s dreams, instead find ways to make individual dreams work for the growth of the couple.
As the needs of each individual are met then the goals of the partnership can be tackled with energy and a teamwork mentality.
3) A Give and Take Foundation
A healthy emotional intimacy has to be built on give and take. There cannot be a partner who gets everything while leaving the other unfulfilled. Hara Estroff Marano, the long time editor of Psychology Today, believes that all relationships require give and take not just romantic ones. (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/200303/give-and-take-mutual-caring-among-partners).
A sense of knowing what makes your partner happy and making sure to do whatever you can to please them shows great emotional intimacy. When relationships work best both partners are willing to give of themselves as much if not more than they expect in return.
4) An Ability to Be Ourselves
A strong emotional intimacy is only possible when both people feel comfortable to be their true selves. When we feel like we have to act a certain way and alter who we are as a person to please someone else we are lessening ourselves. In fact, we cheat each other into believing we are someone else.
Strength in a relationship means that we are not afraid to show our true personality. In the long run it allows us to truly know each other.
5) Freely Express Gratitude
As relationships progress and the early glow fades some of the basics start to wane and get forgotten. Partners can start to take things for granted that were once deemed a major factor. This often means that gratitude and appreciation are not as freely shared as they once were.
A sign of a strong emotional intimacy is never forgetting to appreciate all the things a partner does for you no matter how small. It is not a difficult thing to maintain and creates a deep connection where you both feel valued.