3 Reasons Why Relationships Won’t Last Without Vulnerability
At the start of a relationship, vulnerability (or openness) is relatively easy. Both partners are on their best behavior, still in the infatuation phase. Once long-term relationships set in, however, vulnerability can take a back seat.
Although it may not be a natural reaction for humans whose internal instinct is self-preservation, vulnerability is vital. Even if marriage therapy is needed to help bring vulnerability into a relationship, it is worth it.
Here are the reasons why:
Vulnerability Begets Vulnerability
The natural reaction to an uncomfortable situation is to hole up and protect oneself, shielding any imperfect aspects from the world’s eyes. However, this often results in isolation. Especially in a marriage, vulnerability is needed in order to connect.
What most people don’t realize is that vulnerability begets vulnerability. An author known in Utah and nationwide for her research on vulnerability, Brené Brown, discusses this phenomenon in her book, “Daring Greatly.” She describes how we constantly seek vulnerability in other people. Meanwhile, we are not willing to display those emotions ourselves.
However, in order to receive that vulnerability from our partner, we must be willing to put ourselves out there first. Marriage therapy practices often urge one partner to open up first, and from there, the other partner usually feels better about opening up too.
Vulnerability is the Key to Intimacy
“There can be no intimacy—,” says Brown, “emotional intimacy, spiritual intimacy, physical intimacy—without vulnerability.”
Not only does vulnerability beget vulnerability, it begets intimacy. Without intimacy, relationships can never reach their full potential and partners will be left feeling empty. Often, while undergoing marriage therapy in Utah or elsewhere, people blame this emptiness on their partner’s behavior.
Most of the time, any intimacy that was lost over the years from putting up personal shields can be quickly brought down with the freeing hammer of vulnerability. There is no getting close to someone without showing them who you really are.
Vulnerability Ultimately Prevents Divorce
Terry Gaspard, a licensed clinical social worker and writer for the Huffington Post, says that in over 20 years of conducting marriage therapy in Utah and across the U.S., she has realized that vulnerability is the key to making a relationship last.
She says that shame and fear often lead to power struggles between couples and ultimately divorce. Vulnerability is the medicine for this common plague among married partners. Whether from Utah or anywhere else, shame and fear are present in everyone. There is no way to get around it without the aid of vulnerability.
Keep these three reasons in mind for why vulnerability is not an option in relationships—it is an imperative part of making any marriage last.