Know and Be Known -- Deepen Your Relational Intimacy
There is a popular response to the question, “What is the greatest thing in life?” Many people say, “To love and be loved.” But I think there is an even greater thing in life and that is to know and be known…and still loved. There is a significant difference between a close friend and an acquaintance. The difference is the level of intimacy you share.
Relational intimacy is built in many different ways but one of the keys to building relational intimacy is to know your partner and to be known by them. This requires vulnerability which many people are afraid of. The fear is usually fueled by hurt or disappointment from the past. Maybe you shared something very private with a friend, only to be betrayed by their lack of confidence. Vulnerability is so important in a relationship that we cannot allow fear to keep us from it. We have to be willing to open up to one another so that we can grow our relationship to deeper levels. It doesn’t happen easily or quickly but it takes time and consistency to achieve it.
Nurture the friendship with your spouse by making time for each other. Choose a time when you can have some level of privacy so you can talk. Use this time, ideally without interruptions, to ask each other some questions. The idea is to learn new things about each other, not just rehash old information. It might be a little scary to make yourself vulnerable and open up to your partner but the resulting intimacy will be worth it.
Here are some questions to get you started: Ask each other and listen to the answer. The idea is to truly get to know one another on a deeper level.
Who was your best childhood friend? What activities did you do together?
Did you grow up knowing your grandparents? Great-grandparents? Tell me a favorite memory of your time together.
How did your family of origin process different emotions? Sadness, grief, anger, love, excitement, fear, happiness?
What is one thing I do that makes you feel loved?