Emotional bonding requires a connection between partners to sustain it over time and it plays a significant role in the quality of marital relationships. The emotional attachment that sustains a relationship may become strained as a couple experiences increased daily stress, new adjustments or simply less time to spend together. Taking time to focus on your own needs as well as those of your partner can deepen your connection to each other, allowing those important emotional bonds to flourish.
1. Improve Your Personal Mental Health First
When you have difficulty coping with your own emotions, it can be difficult to strengthen your emotional bonds with others. According to research published in the "Journal of Abnormal Psychology" in 2011, when people have a hard time regulating their feelings and their responses to them, actions and thoughts may surface that are detrimental to marital relationships and the bonds that sustain them. When individuals are healthier emotionally, and willing to examine their own role in marital conflict, they are more able to strengthen emotional bonds within their relationship by improving the way they respond to one another.
2. Find Time For Each Other
According to clinical psychologist Dr. Kalman Heller, writing for PsychCentral, finding uninterrupted time as a couple can make a big difference in how well you communicate, how well you connect, how easily you trust your partner and how you ultimately come to see one another. This may be because spending time alone together forces couples to focus on one another and the needs of their partner. It may also stem from the ability of couples to talk more candidly when their children are asleep or elsewhere. While the specific time needs will vary between couples, those trying to improve their emotional connection should try to secure even fifteen minutes a day that they can devote to themselves and their relationship without other distractions.
3. Express Your Feelings
When you do grab some couple time, try talking about your feelings. According to collaborative research from authors out of Harvard Medical School, Bryn Mawr College, the University of Virginia and State University of New York at Stony Brook, couples who express their emotions to each other enjoy less divorce, better quality relationships and improved overall satisfaction with their marriage. This study, published in the "Journal of Family Psychology" in 2004, suggests that through the expression of emotions, couples may improve rapport through increasing understanding and connection. Couples who are able to express their emotions to their partner may find that they enjoy better emotional connection overall, encouraging the positive feelings that lead to improvements in marital satisfaction.
4. Spend More Time in Bed Together
Emotional health and sexual health in marriage may be infinitely interconnected. According to research out of La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, published in the "Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy" in 2011, those who have sex less frequently tend to be less satisfied overall with their relationships. Reinforcing this notion, 2010 research from the University of Tennessee published in the "Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin" reports that attachment issues become irrelevant at higher sexual frequency. The latter study led researchers to conclude that while bonding and attachment play a role in relationships, attachment insecurities are not constant, and become an issue more often at lower levels of intimacy. Less sex may contribute to less of an emotional connection, while higher rates may improve positive feelings and strengthen emotional bonds in the marriage overall.
- Journal of Abnormal Psychology: Understanding General and Specific Connections between Psychopathology and Marital Distress: A Model Based Approach
- PsychCentral: How Can I Improve Intimacy In My Marriage?
- Journal of Family Psychology: Reading Others’ Emotions: The Role of Intuitive Judgments in Predicting Marital Satisfaction, Quality, and Stability
- Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy: Sexual and Relationship Satisfaction Among Heterosexual Men and Women: The Importance of Desired Frequency of Sex.
- Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin: Sex Buffers Intimates Against the Negative Implications of Attachment Insecurity
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