Being authentic with your partner is the foundation for a lasting, intimate relationship. Taking the risk to discover and share your deepest self with your partner and listening to them as they share their deepest self, creates a powerful connection between the two of you.
If you break down the word intimacy, it becomes ‘In-to-me-see’. The more willing you are to risk being seen, and the more willing you are to validate your partner taking the same risk, the deeper your intimacy becomes.
Your relationship is an integral part of all of your wants, hopes, and fears. It’s important to know what each of you want and hope for, and what each of you fear and dread. Authentic intimacy grows from sharing your concerns, vulnerabilities, and appreciations as honestly and openly as possible.
Ways to create authentic intimacy are:
Discover what strengths you draw upon to move in the direction of a fuller life. Discover how each of you inhibit yourselves from living the life you want to lead. Share your vulnerabilities. Possibly take the risk to share what you’ve never shared before. Be aware of how you both view each other and your relationship.
Be aware of your identity as a couple, the ‘us’, and how it is different from your individual identity, the ‘me’. What do you feel good about in your couple identity and what would you like to modify, if anything? It is important to know what each of you need from your partner in the present moment. Past and future material should be addressed if it is what is most alive and vital. If you stay open, present, and involved in each other’s life concerns, you will find you both have the capacity to work better together to resolve any issues.
Identify your resistance to a deeper knowing of yourself. Identify any resistances you might have to a deeper knowing of your partner. As you do this, the following questions are important to address: How accessible am I to myself? How much of this inner knowing do I share with my partner? How open am I to my partner and their inner knowing? This will allow you as a couple to shift from defining and defending your entrenched positions to living a life of self-discovery and self-exploration within the mutual support and validation of each other.
Cultivate an attitude of deep listening. Deep listening is the ability to listen with a deeply attuned sensitivity to your partner’s experience. Listen to what they say and how they say it. You are empathizing with their concerns, strengths, and vulnerabilities. Imagine you are ‘walking a mile in their shoes.’ This allows your partner to feel heard, seen, and received.
Cultivate an attitude of engaged curiosity. Your intention is to draw your partner out by genuine interest in them. Your engaged curiosity is not to be scripted. Follow the lead of what your partner expresses and trust your own inner promptings.
As heartfelt as you can, listen to what your partner is expressing. Be aware of any resistance you have based upon your own issues. Notice when and how you get defensive. By doing this, you learn more about yourself. The aim is not to deny what you are feeling. The aim is to recognize any resistances you might have, then express them to your partner in a graceful and respectful way. The idea is to help your partner understand you, just as you try to understand them.
If both of you commit to stating and receiving your truths fresh in the moment, a closeness evolves that is based upon a caring for your partner’s, and your own, strengths, struggles, and vulnerabilities. You are creating authentic intimacy through this mutual self-disclosure and self-discovery. Your life as a couple becomes a dynamic process rather than a static entity.