This is a scary question that lurks behind masked faces and tepid smiles of women all around us. Women describe the feeling to me in workshops and my office by saying, “I know that he loves me, but there’s something missing,” or “Marriage is fine, I guess, but it’s not great.”
I hear vague descriptions of the “thing” that’s missing. It’s a feeling, a knowing, a security that everything is ok. Sure, these women know their husband loves them. They know he respects them. They know he’s committed. But, for some reason, they want more. They want “it.”
I press in to find out what “it” is. Is it feeling valued? Hmmm, maybe, but I sense there is something more. Is it being heard and understood? Hmmm, I think we are getting closer. Is it time together, or date nights, or similar interests, or sexual happiness??? Well… these are pointing in the right direction… but… “it” remains a mystery.
And why, after years of being married, don’t these women feel loved? And have they ever? And do they love themselves? These are the questions I ask myself.
And what is “it” anyway?
By nature, human tendency is to resist intimacy. And I don’t mean sexual intimacy. Sadly, sexual intimacy has become an accepted substitute for emotional intimacy and usually happens before a solid core of emotional intimacy is established. Having sex too early in a relationship crowds out the necessary work of emotional intimacy building, and falls short when relationship difficulties arrise.
Most people see and respect their partners as valuable people, because that is the easy part. Showing each other respect, and seeing one another as valuable doesn’t take the strength of Mother Theresa.
emotional intimacy, vulnerability, humility, and deep sharing- the ingredients of true knowing– those things don’t come easy…
They burrow down deep and cry out to be hidden. It takes every ounce of courage in us to truly open up and share at a heart level with other people. Most people are too scared to emotionally join their partners, to know them on a vulnerable level.
Truly Knowing your partner requires you to risk of feeling shameful, embarrassed, weak. It requires pushing through fears of being exposed as flawed and needy. It is hard to admit that we cannot exist as self-sufficient people, but that we have needs that only relationship with other people can fill.
This is hard, necessary work that requires vulnerability, humility and the absence of shame. And that’s why we resist it. Staying hidden is so much more safe. And isolated. And lonely. And disconnected. But Safe, did I mention Safe?
I can understand why women just don’t feel loved. They sacrifice feeling loved for staying safe. They give up being known, for staying hidden. And ultimately, they sacrifice emotional intimacy for emotional isolation. Not a great trade off, right?
Over the next 6 months, I will write a blog series that explores the reasons why women “just don’t feel loved” and how to overcome the lack of emotional intimacy in their relationships.
Will you join me?
You will learn how to:
Identify what you really need in your relationship
Communicate what you really need in your relationship
Learn how to make your emotions work for you instead of against you
Learn how to face the fear of vulnerability and embrace intimacy
Practice knowing and loving yourself while learning to know and love others well
What are women feeling in your friendship circles? Are they feeling vlaued? Known? Content? Lost? Depressed? Used? Comment what you see in the women around you.