Bisi Adewale

Why is it hard to develop emotional intimacy? We need to examine them very well. Married couples are hardly intimate. Many live like roommates and co-tenants. Some live like total strangers, rivals or bitter opponents. Many couples were best friends before marriage. They were in love and quite close. However, after “Yes, I do”, things fall apart as the apology to Chinua Achebe. The centre can no longer hold.
We need to examine major reasons why intimacy is difficult to achieve in many marriages.

1. Fear of Rejection: There’s the fear of rejection. (If I share the essence of who I am, you might criticize or reject the real me)
2. Fear of Loss of Respect: If you know who I truly am and understand my weaknesses, will you still respect me?
3. Failure to Know Who You Are: There’s unfamiliarity with our feelings, needs, or wants. (If I’m not sure what I feel or need, how can I share it with you?)
4. Short Words Syndrome: There’s a lack of vocabulary to communicate our feelings accurately or verbalize what we want or need. (If I don’t know the words to describe how I am feeling or what I need, it’s easier to keep my thoughts to myself.
5. Should Know Syndrome: We expect our spouse to know. If he or she truly loves me (You can read my mind, can’t you?)
6. Secrets Spousal Competition: Though undeclared as a contest. Many couples are competing with each other. Silently, they wish to be better than the other. This leads to envy when one succeeds more than the other.
7. Cold War: Secret unforgiveness, hidden bitterness, resentment, inner bombs waiting to be triggered.
A lot of people are still keeping grudges of yesteryears unknown to their spouses. I met a couple who were having problems. At the time we got to the root of the matter, we discovered that the woman still harboured an offence of 25 years ago in her heart unknown to her husband. Emotional intimacy can never occur in this kind of situation.
8. Distrust: You can’t get emotionally intimate with somebody you don’t trust.
9. Ineffective Communication: Many couples talk. Only a few discuss. Words are said, but things are not revealed. Communication is not deep, open and total.
10. Big Me, Small You Attitude: When marriage is not seen as a union, the man rules like an emperor, thinking he is bigger to be worshipped and the woman is smaller to be used.
11. Customs and Culture: Many customs in Africa make women the property of the man, not a personality. This impedes intimacy most of the time.
12. Distance: For any reason, when a husband stays away from his wife, emotional intimacy will be affected.
13. Busyness: When couples are too busy to spend time together, emotional intimacy will be the victim.
14. Technology: Modern marriages are short of intimacy because of another set of invaders in the name of technology today. Computers used to be in an office. Today, it has grown wings and flown to homes with us in the name of laptops and tablets. Phones, televisions are other things that help to destroy emotional intimacy.
15. Absence of Total Acceptance: Feeling that your spouse is not your dream kills intimacy. People have many things to complain about the outlook of their spouses.
16. Absence Leaving: When one of the partners refuses to leave his or her parents, friends, siblings, etc., it will be difficult to have emotional intimacy. Wherever third parties reign in a marriage, the state of “one flesh” (emotional intimacy) cannot be achieved.
17. Absence Of Cleaving: Many have left but refused to cleave to their spouses. This will also hurt intimacy.
18. Failure To Celebrate Sex: While sex is not emotional intimacy, it is a way to celebrate and cement it. When couples abandon their bedroom lives, they’ve made room for boredom that can doom the marriage


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