The Relationship between Closeness and Happiness in Married Life
Most of us assume that there is a positive relationship between closeness and happiness in married life. But how close someone is to their partner is not directly correlated to how happy they are in the relationship.
It is perfectly possible for a couple that is emotionally distant to be just as happy as a couple that is very close. All that matters is whether or not they are both happy with the degree of closeness between them.
Expectation vs. Reality
Emotional intimacy and closeness doesn’t necessarily lead to a happy marriage. It is more important for the spouses’ expectations with regard to closeness to match or be as close as possible.
If someone who craves a high level of closeness and intimacy in marriage is married to someone who yearns for distance and more “alone time”, the two are bound to have marriage problems. This is according to a study by researchers at Columbia University.
On average, only 37% of married couples are content with the level of closeness in their relationship. On the other hand, more than half of married couples desire a closer relationship.
Finding the Right Balance
The first step is to accept that there is no right or wrong amount of closeness in a relationship. Your partner is not wrong for wanting to spend every waking moment with you or wanting more alone time to pursue their interests. It is important to have a mutual acceptance and respect for each other’s needs before embarking on a search for the right balance.
Secondly, you need to talk to each other about your individual needs. Don’t just say you’re feeling smothered or you’re feeling abandoned, be specific. If you need an hour to unwind after work or you need one day a week to focus on your hobby, let your partner know.
Once you have both laid your needs on the table, you can negotiate and find a formula that works for both of you and your married life. Don’t be so focused on finding the perfect formula, just find something that you’re both willing to try and then modify it as you go along.
Happiness in married life isn’t dependent on how close the couple is. It is dependent on how closely your expectations for closeness and emotional intimacy match your reality.