Brick Walls Stop Intimacy Tear down the bricks that stop your relationship from blossoming. BY DR. SANTI MEUNIER
Don't let walls come between the love you have for each other.
Most of us marry with all the best of intentions to love, honor and obey. We want our love to grow and develop over the years. Planning a family, buying a home and enjoying the good life with our best friend are healthy and common dreams for many young couples. Why is it then that roughly half the marriages in this country end in divorce? The child at school from a divorced home used to be a rarity, but not anymore. It is so common that many young children are familiar with the words separation, child support and visitation rights before they even know how to spell them. The American family of the 20th century is in the 21st century teetering on the edge of extinction. Understanding the process from happily married to divorced and angry is an important beginning.
Learning what to do and what to undo is key. An important first step is to examine our coping tools. There is an old saying that if all we have is a hammer everything looks like a nail. Before we can fill our toolbox with the tools for a healthy relationship we have to empty out, and stop using tools that destroy it.
Intimacy is a term that is used quite frequently, but what is it really? It is defined as a close, confidential relationship pertaining to the inmost being. More simply put, it is the intimate knowledge of another human being on all levels. Intimacy is not about sex, although a healthy and happy sexual relationship with one’s partner is an aspect of intimacy. Intimacy is about building a true partnership with one’s spouse. It is based on trust, mutual respect, honesty, love and vulnerability. So it makes sense that behaviors that foster anger, mistrust and alienation are counter productive.
Building Brick Walls Between Us
Every time we don’t confront our partner about a situation that has upset us because we are afraid to make matters worse, we put an invisible brick in the wall between us. A brick can be an unresolved argument, a hurtful comment or a broken promise. The wall is constructed by both partners, each defending his or her side. Before we know it, the wall is very high. We feel that we have been wronged and that it is not safe to take the wall down because of past behaviors. We are "right" to have this wall up. We each are feeling very lonely on our respective sides, but neither wants to budge.
This is why being invested in being right is the wrong thing to do. How many times have we been unwilling in an argument to let it go because we felt "right"? We then justified our behavior and made matters worse with our over-powering insistence that the other person yield to our position. A big red flag should be waved in front of us when we are rationalizing, justifying or over-explaining our position. It is more often than not a clue that we are deluding ourselves and our motives so we can get what we want. Being right, needing to get what we want without considering the other persons' needs and winning at all costs are some of the destroyers of intimacy. Maybe we can get away with employing those for a while because the bonds of love are not easy to break, but break they will if we continue.
Healthy communication is the single most important tool because it incorporates most of the characteristics that we need to foster intimacy. This simple formula sums it up nicely:
Say what you mean.
Mean what you say,
But don’t say it meanly.
Tearing Down the Wall
A great beginning is to recognize what we are doing when we insist on being right. See the brick go into the wall in your mind's eye and ask yourself, "Is this what I really want?" If it is not then we can pause and take the brick down, and begin again. Tell our partner that we don’t want to have a wall between us. It is not that I want to be right as much as it is that I want to be heard and understood. When two people begin to relate to one another as partners—team players—on the same side instead of the enemy, a deeper trust and vulnerability emerges. Just be warned that if we revert back to winning and being right once this trust has been established it can actually make things worse. Why is this? When our enemy lashes out we expect it on some level and do what we need to do to defend it. However, when our best friend betrays us we are devastated.
Remember, if we want to form a true partnership we have to learn self-control and flexibility. Those characteristics may not be easy at times, but it is well worth the time and effort. Over the next couple of months I will be continuing to offer tools for intimacy and love. Let us together build a world filled with love and happiness—one marriage at a time.
Dr. Santi Meunier is an author, psychotherapist and inspirational speaker, recognized for her unique style of practical spirituality and her groundbreaking strategies for personal and professional growth. Her program, Practical Spirituality for Fearless Living has helped thousands to realize their dreams. As a highly regarded psychologist and expert in the field of addiction her latest book, "DYING FOR A DRINK, The Hidden Epidemic of Alcoholism" reveals her Holographic Treatment Plan, developed over twenty years in private practice. For more information visit www.SantiMeunier.com.