The Mental Connection
The mental connection or, intellectual intimacy, may well be the most overlooked form of intimacy. Yet, it is this closeness that usually first binds two people together. Granted, a man may be attracted by the physical appearance of a woman, but it is the mental connection developed through getting to know each other intellectually that first draws a couple to each other.
Many couples feel that “spark” of excitement growing between them as they spend time conversing and becoming good friends with each other. This process begins intellectually and quickly becomes emotional as well.
It’s well-nigh impossible to separate a couple’s intellectual relationship from their emotional relationship—they’re so tightly woven together; it’s almost the same thing! Nevertheless, unless we continue to develop intimacy with our minds and intellect our relationships become stale—even sexually!
Ask Yourself a Few Questions!
- How can I become a better listener? Don’t just hear—strive to understand and step into the world of your husband/ wife. (Read: Barriers to Effective Communication.)
- How do you ensure that you’re giving freedom to your spouse to think for herself/ himself?
- Ask your spouse. “Do I often dominate our conversations?”
- Do you know what interests and dreams your spouse has?
- Are you your spouse’s best cheerleader?
- In what way can you demonstrate that you value your spouse’s opinion?
- Have you both divulged personal secrets to each other, in an expression of openness and humility?
Practical Exercises to Develop Your Mental Connection
1. Enhance Communication:
- Choose three “hot topics” where you know you and your partner disagree. Take turns listening to your partner’s opinion—this is not an exercise to prove you are right! The purpose is to ask questions that demonstrate you fully understand your spouse’s viewpoint!
2. Nurture Caring:
- Look for opportunities to compliment your spouse on their thoughtful opinion—privately and publicly.
- Have one of those heart-to-heart conversations, and ask the question:
- “Are their specific times that I have ridiculed or made fun of your opinion? I need to know because I realize that is very wrong, and not honouring to you at all.”
3. Deepen Commitment:
- Identify your partner’s top two interests. Creatively determine how you can encourage him/her and become your spouse’s best cheerleader!
- Set a regular time each week to talk together about a pre-determined topic of common interest. Spontaneity, of course, is great--but deciding beforehand makes for anticipation and thoughtful dialogue!
4. Strengthen Core Values:
- Acceptance of differing opinions is a critical core value. Discuss with your spouse the best ways you both can value each other’s uniqueness.
- Try composing lists for each other: “Ways We Are Different—and I Wouldn’t Want to Change!”
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