526: INTIMACY REQUIRES VULNERABILITY

“Vulnerability is not winning or losing. It’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have NO control over the outcome.” Brene Brown

Vulnerability is the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.

Having the confidence to expose a part of ourselves, be it physically or emotionally is not easy. Knowing that you are exposing yourself to the point that you could be harmed by the person that we are sharing ourselves with, like our spouse, takes a great deal of trust.

It’s this awareness that can pull your marriage into a never-ending cycle of arguments and displaced anger. 

You may even feel as if your marriage is being held captive by fear and an unspoken awkwardness. 

This stress reaches the very core of your marriage putting pressure on what the two of you were designed for. 

You might be thinking, “It’s easier to keep it all inside where it’s not bothering anybody” or that you “don’t want to add to what’s going on by speaking up” but in reality, this is causing even more problems for your marriage. 

The challenge with this way of thinking is that when you are suppressing and not addressing it you’re not solving the problem. Rather you’re making it worse.

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Why?

You can only stuff these needs and feelings down for so long before all the “stuff” explodes or deadens the feelings you once had to the point that you just want to give up. 

When that happens, you can easily fall into a vicious cycle of trying to replace what it is you need with things that give you similar pleasure or feelings of worth like: 

  • Going shopping and trying to meet your needs through “stuff”
  • Eating your way through your feelings
  • Relying on alcohol or drugs to numb the pain
  • Finding other negative behaviors to meet your needs
  • Creating your “social media life” where you appear perfect

The problem with any of these behaviors is that numbing negative feelings also numbs the good ones like joy, happiness, and creativity. This creates a cycle of misery and numbness which doesn’t solve anything and the energy needed to keep up the facade of happiness is exhausting.

In reality, not being vulnerable is putting a considerable strain on us as a society. We are more overwhelmed, depressed, anxiety-ridden and frustrated than ever before. 

Without knowing what’s happening, you may be creating an unsustainable pattern that will eventually undermine the strength of your marriage.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

You can be courageous. 

You can take baby steps in the direction that you want to go, in the direction of vulnerability.

Take a moment to ask your spouse what their thinking. You can choose to  share your opinion with your spouse. You can embrace the fact that your spouse may be dealing with their stuff and it’s not that you aren’t important, it might be that they are struggling too. 

Also embrace that sometimes your obstacles may need outside help and that coaching might be one of the best strategies for success.

One step in the direction of vulnerability will bring the intimacy in your marriage to a new place.

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Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability | TED Talk

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