Interpersonal relationships come in many different forms. It is what helps us build enduring relationships, establish open lines of communication, and resolve conflicts with our family and friends. When we are born we begin to build these relationships and bonds. These are the earliest relationships that we explore and form the basis for how we begin to communicate with others over our lifetime. It is these involuntary communications that form the basis of our interdependent family systems. Attachment theory argues that during our youth, we begin to build either insecure or secure bonds that will affect us for a life time. A child that raised with insecure attachment will often become anxious about building intimate relationship and fearful of losing new friends. But a child raised with secure attachment typically learn to communicate there feeling with others more effectively and build strong bonds that can last a lifetime. It is these interactions that will form the basis for who we will become. It will affect our self-confidence, self- esteem, and self-worth. If these attachments are properly nurture, we will lead more fulfilling lives. If not, then we can suffer the consequences and it can affect our physical and phycological well-being.
This relationship analysis paper will discuss the intimate interpersonal relationship I am in with my wife. It will talk about the four stages of an intimate relationship. It will explore the stages of an interpersonal relationship and explain the role healthy communication plays in establishing long-term relationship success. It will also discuss the role upbringing plays in the development of individuals communication skill.
In my lifetime, I have meet allot of interesting people. Some have become long- term friendships, while others quickly faded into memory. During this time, I met one interesting young lady who captured my attention like no other. Her name was Latoya Conley and met in 10th grade math in high school. We had both grown up in the same Anacostia neighborhood of Washington D.C. and share a few mutual friends. I was new to the school and looking to explore new relationships with other students. I was a tall, confident, and easy-going football player. She was smart, cheerful, and a spiritual woman who loved sports as much as I do. She said my height was the first thing that made her take notice of me. I would say that there was a reciprocal attraction between the two of us. She was a die- hard Dallas Cowboys fan, and I loved the Washington Redskins. That made for some very interesting conversations, especially since I had never met a girl who understood football the way she did. She was easy to communicate with and loved them fact that I showered her with attention. This instant attraction and emotional compatibility would take us on a journey, that continues to thrive even twenty-three years later.
During the contact stage of our interpersonal relationship we would stare at each other and make eye contact. I knew immediately that wanted to pursue a relationship with her. I loved her long black hair, and her beautiful brown eyes. She would send me notes and we enjoyed making small talk about both our love for football. We also talk about how we both love watching sci-fi movies.
It was during our involvement stage that we began to feel a since of mutuality. I began to share feelings with her, that I had never shared with anyone else. I was not sure if my feeling for her were mutual, but I knew this was a relationship worth exploring. Because she was more reserved with expressing her feelings, I thought it was important to remain patient. I did not want to push thing faster than she could handle.
Once Latoya and I reach the intimacy stage, our communication became much easier, and we began to readily self- disclose more private information about ourselves. According to Dr. Jennifer Kogan, LICSW, (Margarita Tartakovsky) “Intimacy is a process whereby we feel truly seen, known by and connected to our partner Truly understanding your partner, being able to be vulnerable, and share feelings is key to emotional intimacy.”
There is four dimensions of intimacy that we explored. They are physical intimacy, emotional intimacy, intellectual sharing, and shared activities. Each play an important role in the development of our relationship. While some people fear intimacy because they fear rejection or the possibility of losing some they care about, others seek intimacy to strengthen their bond and lead healthier lives.
Physical intimacy is sensual proximity or touching. It is an act or reaction, such as an expression of feelings (including close friendship, platonic love, romantic love or sexual attraction), between people. While intercourse plays a role in physical intimacy, by itself it can be unfulfilling. During this stage of our relationship, my wife and I enjoyed the intimacy that was derived from hugging and cuddling. While sexual exploration was involved in this stage, we both felt like it played a small part in our relationship success.
The second dimension was intellectual sharing: This is when we forge a relational bond with each other through the exchange of ideas. According to Bill Bryson (Bryston, 2012), “Brains can be attractive and sexy, especially for those who feel a sense of kinship when they engage in discussion or endeavor with a partner whom they feel is an intellectual equal.”
The third dimension is emotional intimacy According to Beverley Golden (Golden, 2017), “Emotional intimacy occurs when two people feel comfortable sharing their feelings with each other or when we’re able to empathize with the feelings of another person. The goal of emotional intimacy is to be aware of and understand another person’s internal experience. Women tend to have an easier time with this, but men too are becoming more comfortable experiencing emotional intimacy. Emotional intimacy is a healthy part of the exchange in all relationships, whether female or male. But not everyone is comfortable with it.” During this phase my wife and I love sitting in the park talking about things like how many kids we wanted, where do we see ourselves in ten years, and how do we beat the odds and make this relationship last forever. I was the emotional intimacy that we shared, that I enjoyed the most. It allowed us to forge a bond that has lasted though 15 years of marriage.
The fourth dimension of our intimacy is shared activity. We share activities like going to Redskins games and attending wine festivals. She and I looked for ways to make memories that would last for a life time. When we did not have a lot of money, we would pack a small picnic and go to the park. Now that we are older and have more money, we like to spend our free time at the beach, where we can take our two dogs to have a good time.
The relational bond my wife and I share remains strong, even after 23 years. We have experienced many ups and downs together, like the recent passing of her father. We continue to strive to fulfill each other’s needs, by maintaining open lines of communication and maintaining attainable expectations, so as not to put an undue burden on the other. Maintaining a positive relationship climate has also been instrumental for us. While we may not always agree with each other, we always work to find common ground.
My wife and I have a validating conflict style. According to John and Julie Gottman “The validating style within relationships involves regular compromise, a desire and an ability to identify and incorporate your partner’s point of view into the decision-making process. It involves accommodating your own viewpoint with that of your partner.” My wife and I tend to talk things through and listen to how the other is feeling. While we may not always agree on an outcome, we strive to at least acknowledge the others feeling. When my wife has a valid point during an argument, I try to at least acknowledge it, and work to find a solution that works for the two of us.
At the beginning we tended to lean more toward avoidance. “Conflict avoidant couples agree to disagree on most issues and frequently seek to minimize the importance of the conflict or problem. They moderate highly charged viewpoints so that they achieve togetherness and unity for the betterment of the relationship.” according to John and Julie Gottman (Gottman, 1999). We would get in an argument about a problem then not discuss the problem anymore. What we discovered is that instead of the problem going away, it only created more hard feelings. As we’ve gotten older, we were able to improve us communicate to the benefit of our relationship.
I chose to write my relationship analyzes about my wife Latoya Conley because I felt it would be a great relationship to analyze. We have known each other for 23 year, so there was no better person then her to explore the dynamic of a relationship. She has seen me develop from a teenager, to the man I am to. Latoya is aware that I have selected our relationship to analyze. She was a little nervous at first, but once I explained to her the intricacies, she was fine with it if I let read it after it was completed.
As I began to examine my wife and I relationship over the past week, I began to better understand the important role she played in shaping my self- concept. This was the women who was a catalyst in helping me develop into the man I have become today. I learned about forgiveness and how not to be judgmental of others. I remember how she would tell me how smart I was in school, and how I could become anything if I applied myself. She was also instrumental in shaping my self-esteem and self-confidence, by helped me become comfortable stepping out of my comfort zone. She does a great job of offering constructive criticism, without seeming judgmental. One example I can sight from this week is when I told her I was considering giving up on school for a year to focus on my career. She told me that while she did not agree with my decision, but I was more that capable of making the right choice. Because of her, I was able to see the value of unconditional love.
Over the past week, she has affect my self-concept by telling me that I deserved the promotion I received at work and will do a good job in the position. She told me my association would not have offered me this position if they thought I would not become a valuable addition. While I believed in myself, I had my doubts at the beginning. This help shape how I was feeling emotionally and reinforced my belief in myself.
One-way perception impacted our relationship this week is when I became upset at my wife because I thought she did not want to attend a cookout I had made plans to attend. When I asked, she made a face that led me to believe that she did not want to go. I thought she was backing out at the last minute. After cooling down, I communicated my feelings to my wife. It was then that I discover that she was not opposed to going, she had just made other plans because she had forgotten all about it.
I was able to display my emotions several ways this week. On Monday I gave her a kissing and told her I loved her. The kiss was preceded by a long hug and several minutes of play wrestling. On Wednesday, I showed my emotion by crying, due to the death of my dog. Though I hate feeling vulnerable in front of others, I have become comfortable showing my wife that side of me.
Last week, my wife expressed her emotions using a mixture of verbal and non- verbal behaviors. When I received the devastating news, she gave me hug and told me everything would be ok. She also said a prayer and gave me a pat on the back, which let me know that I was not alone. She knew how much I loved that dog. While at first, I tried to pretend everything would be ok, she let me know that I did not have to be tuff in front of her. She did not have to say many words, I knew she hurt for me.
My wife also did a great job of supportive listening this week. There were times when I was stressed about work and upcoming school final exams. This week she sat me down to let me know how proud she was of me. She was very attentive as she encouraged me to talk about how I was feeling. She also offered valuable feedback, by encouraging me to vent my frustrations, without her becoming annoyed or indifferent to my problems.
She also mixed in some empathetic listening. This was a very difficult week for me. I was feeling angry, sad, and depressed. I did not think it would be so hard losing my first pet. Me being a male, I don’t always find it easy to express my feelings to others. I usually become quite and withdrawn when I feel sad or upset. I know this is not good since this can cause health problems, but before this course I was not aware of how to address my feelings. Without her emotional support and compassion, I don’t know how I could have made it through this week.
After 23 years, my wife and I are still in the intimacy stage in our relationship. We continue to share a strong unbreakable bond, that neither of us see failing anytime soon. We have had a few setbacks over the years, but we both agree that the good has outweighed the bad. We both agree that we have some small differences, but if we both continue to work hard at succeeding, we will be fine until death do us part.
In conclusion, this relationship analysis paper has allowed me to gain a better understanding of the role healthy interpersonal have on one’s physical and physiological well-being. People with healthy interpersonal relationships tend to live more healthier lives, build stronger emotional and physical bonds, and allows for more effective communications. Those with negative interpersonal relationships tend to have unhealthy behaviors like jealousy, rage, and possessiveness. They also seek to exerting power and control over others. Healthy interpersonal relationships are the basis for how we communicate with family, friends, and coworkers. I also learned about the four dimensions of intimacy. They are emotional, physical, shared activity and intellectual. While physical intimacy tends to be the first mentioned during a discussion of the subject, each play an important role in our overall happiness in a relationship. From this analysis I was also able to gather that my wife and I have validating conflict styles. This is important for the overall health of the relationship. While avoidance was present at the beginning of the relationship through couples counseling, and improvements in overall communication we were able to overcome our problems in a healthy manner.
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