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How to Share an Emotional Bond

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr, studioD

An emotional bond can be shared between spouses, parent and child, extended family, friends and lovers, according to Mark Tyrrell, therapist and co-founder of Uncommon Knowledge, a company that offers training courses in therapy and counseling techniques. Many people are looking for a deep emotional bond to share with another person, and Tyrrell says emotional intimacy is important for mental and physical health. Some people don’t know how to share that bond and remain emotionally handicapped, blocking others from building trust and true intimacy.


Communication is an integral part of sharing an emotional bond, according to Terri Orbuch, Ph.D., a psychologist and research scientist known as "The Love Doctor." Take time on a daily basis to communicate your hopes, dreams, personal thoughts and concerns. During this sharing time in a marriage or romantic relationship, avoid talking about work, your to-do list and other things that don’t give your partner intimate knowledge of you, Orbuch suggests. With your kids or friends, your sharing time could include thoughts and dreams, what you appreciate about the other person and things about your past that define who you are. In turn, give the other person time to share his thoughts, dreams and needs.


Emotional connection requires that you have knowledge of the other person -- what motivates him, experiences and beliefs you share and an understanding of what he needs from you, according to Orbuch. You need to accept this person as he is, as much as you can. Emotional bonding means having empathy, understanding and compensation for this person, according to Lori H. Gordon, Ph.D., marriage and family therapist, founder of the PAIRS program and author of the book “Passage to Intimacy.”


An appreciation of the other person is required to build an emotional bond. Gordon teaches that you can express appreciation through a combination of physical touch, words of appreciation, providing some new bit of information to spark sharing and by asking for new information from them. You can also build your emotional bond if there is an issue that needs to be worked on. If this is the case, express your complaint with a request for a change while expressing hope for change that will move the relationship in a positive direction. Such sharing communicates that this person is important to you and worth the time necessary to build your relationship.


Gordon reveals that most intimacy and connection problems result from not dealing with small hurts. She recommends that intimate partners lie spooned together where the cradled partner shares a revelation of hurt, explains its past significance and what it takes to change the experience. The cradling partner can then affirm what is shared and express what he can do to change the interactions.


People need time to build trust and connection, says Randy Wilson, Family Research Council’s National Field Director for Church Ministries. It requires undivided attention and a willingness to empathize and be vulnerable with the other person. Wilson suggests you plan time to connect, making it an intentional priority.

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

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