6 Secrets to Emotional Intimacy

03/23/2015 08:04 am ET | Updated May 23, 2015

The secret to a deep, purpose-driven life is not to perceive but to feel. We may see the world around us at all times, but it's not until we start to feel it that we truly sense the living spark. When we watch a movie, it's not the scenes we see but the emotions they evoke that make us laugh, cry, ponder, understand, etc. We must feel all that we do -- even become intimate with it -- in order to absorb its meaning fully. And this holds true in relationships; we may be physically attracted to someone, but only when we hold a meaningful conversation with that person can we grasp their way of thinking.

I met my husband mere days after I first set foot in America. Whether it was fate or coincidence or pure luck, I married the man three weeks later and we remained together until his passing 27 years down the road. Handsome as he was, I didn't marry him for the fact that he bore a striking resemblance to Omar Sharif (that helped things, though). My late husband possessed this extraordinary ability to feel me at all times. He could detect exactly what was bothering me. Similarly, I knew just what to bring him before he could even ask. What kept us together was not the habit of seeing each other each day or passing through the mundane routines of daily life -- it was remaining in constant, emotional intimacy.

The magic of intimacy is that it can be of the soul. To be intimate simply means to be empathetically in tune with your partner, feeling their fears, desires, wishes, and needs as if they were your own. Practice these six secrets of emotional intimacy to heighten the potential of your relationship and rekindle the intimacy of your loving bond:

Joint visualizations. Skillful daydreaming is a fine spiritual tool. Since I was a little girl, I have closed my eyes and imagined having everything I wanted. I used this visualization exercise to empower me in the real world. You've probably already tried this with your partner without even knowing it: planning the future and its positive prospects. Take it one step further. Hold your partner's hand and close your eyes as you take turns speaking out loud your dreams coming true. You can say things like, "I see us walking into our brand new home. It's a big, brick house with a garden in front," or whatever it is you both want to achieve. Make it a nightly or weekly habit. Joint visualizations are an amazing bonding ritual that inspires you both to strive towards mutual goals.

Reinforce your love. There are two ways to say "I love you:" halfheartedly and wholeheartedly. Never speak love in vain. When you do tell your partner you love them, mean it and demonstrate the fervor behind your words. This means speaking a full and excited "I love you" instead of a hurried "love ya." It means making tiny sacrifices that mean the world to your significant other. Reiterate their importance in your life. Hold your partner close and experience every element of their being -- smell their hair, feel their bare back, hear their heart beat, taste the skin on their neck. Close your eyes and tell them what they mean to you. Compliment and empower them. Don't think too much; speak from the seat of your pure soul.

Pay attention to body language. Pay attention to your partner's breathing, when they sigh, if they cross their legs, where they hold their hands, etc. Most movements are subconscious but every single one is for a reason. When you note small, inadvertent movements you can decipher your partner's comfort level and understand what situations cause them to feel unease. In time, you can come to know what your partner is thinking just by watching the way they hold themselves.

Make eye contact. There may be times when you want to avoid looking your partner in the eye, especially when they've made you upset or angry. Even in these moments, keep in mind that nothing is as effective at conveying (or betraying!) your sentiments as eye contact. Words may reach the brain but an eyeful glance trickles down to the soul. Get into the habit of looking your partner in the eye when you address them to lock in the potency of your words.

Engage in quality conversation. I stress the word quality here. Anyone can say "hi, how are you, I'm fine," but not everyone can maintain a mindful dialogue. Complain less and ask more. Ask questions of importance to your partner to help them open up, but don't make the conversation seem like an interview. Ask one relevant question, then let them talk as much (or as little) as they want. Listen to their tone, their word choice, their hesitation at certain moments, etc. They may be trying to tell you how something makes them feel, but may have trouble letting it out. Subconsciously, their tone is reflecting their emotions about a specific topic. Consider the overall quality of your conversations: Are you speaking enough and if so, what is the root of your dialogue? Are you reaching helpful conclusions together, or harmful conclusions against each other? The correct type of speech can be very progressive, as it inspires, resolves, and offers brand new perspective. When all else fails, simply ask, "How do you feel?"

Be emotional. I usually advise my female clients to be less emotional to improve their relationship. Negative emotions like rage or neediness should be subdued for the sake of your relationship, yes, but positive emotions must be experienced in totality. Joy, enthrallment, passion, pleasure, and comfort--these emotions should be captured in their greatest spectrum. Dismiss your shyness and forgo the fear of becoming too vulnerable. Simply share incredible sentiments together.

Far surpassing physical intimacy, emotional intimacy is the glue of any love relationship. It's not only essential to a healthy bond, but it fosters durability, harmony, and stability between two partners. Put into use my six secrets to emotional intimacy and reach the impassioned peak of your relationship.

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