How to Love and Be Loved when Your Heart Is Closed
How to Love and Be Loved when Your Heart Is Closed
3 Ways to Let Your Walls Down
Rachel, Laura Doyle Certified Coach
He decided to make the two-hour drive from Pennsylvania to Maryland. I was happy he was willing to come to me first. We met on a cold afternoon.
I knew right away that he was my soulmate.
Actually, I had known after reading his first email and even his profile alone. I could just feel the soulmate familiarity of him.
He had a nice beard and an adorable smile. He was real and chill, with his sweatshirt and joking ways, but refined and holy too, discussing religious topics soon into the date. It was him, no question about it.
All my life, I had dreamed of this man, of this moment when we would finally join.
The problem was, my heart was closed. After some past heartbreaks, I had built a brick wall over my heart and then a metal barricade in front of that, as I was determined not to get hurt again.
1. Show Some Respect
I couldn’t feel. I couldn’t laugh or cry either.
I didn’t get what was going on. I had thought that upon meeting him, my heart would explode and crack the walls. Or maybe upon getting married. When that still wasn’t happening, I started blaming my husband for being closed and cold.
We would sit on our green couch and I would grill him, demanding to know how he felt about me, why he loved me, why he felt we were soulmates.
I insisted that he start initiating spontaneous expressions of love. (Real spontaneous, huh?)
I insisted that if he really loved me, he would express himself vulnerably from a deep place, which would occasionally bring tears to his eyes as he professed his deep love for me.
I expected, wanted, and tried to control my husband into being this person. He tried, even repeating the loving phrases I dictated, which I thought would crack my walls and create that deep feeling of love I so yearned for.
But none of this worked. While he was willing to act the part because he is amazingly kind and giving, none of it was genuine because I was forcing it to happen.
Then, I started using a few of the 6 Intimacy Skills™. That’s when my walls actually began to crack and let through the flood of love between us.
I started by going on a no-control date. He chose our favorite local Chinese restaurant. I resolved not to dominate the conversation, which is what I’d always done to avoid any potential awkward silence or the discomfort of true vulnerability between us.
This lunch was quieter than normal. But then a beautiful thing happened.
My husband began sharing with me. I heard his thoughts about politics, science, and stocks–thoughts I hadn’t heard before. I was seeing him–the real, raw him–and falling in love with him in a new way. Giving him the space to be himself, I was feeling relaxed and receiving who he was.
As he opened up, I felt the walls covering my heart cracking as I saw the man of my dreams truly sharing himself with me for the first time. I had to let go and let him be who he is.
2. Show Some Gratitude
The walls continued to come down as I dove into the Skill of gratitude. Our biggest marital challenge was my disapproval of his job choices and my attempt to control them.
One day, I listed all the reasons I appreciated his job choices and strong work ethic. After writing down my list of 20, my heart opened and love poured out. I couldn’t hold back from running over to him at that moment and hugging him tightly.
I saw that my judgment of him had kept me from releasing my love. Once I allowed myself to see and appreciate the man he is, love burst forth.
Next, I experimented with receiving all that he shares as a way for me to continue to bring down the walls around my heart. I just started to look at him and listen to him–his business dreams, home improvement ideas, religious thoughts–and not merely see him but receive the beautiful gift of him sharing who he is with me.
This created a flow of masculine to feminine love that felt so natural and right and good. Before, I had approached loving him from a masculine place of pursuing him, whereas now I became more feminine and receptive, loving that he pursues me.
Combined with the joy I got from self-care, whether dancing, taking walks, or pursuing my dreams, I began radiating joy and love right back to him from a feminine, receptive place.
3. Show Some Vulnerability
Lastly, and most importantly, I dove into the scary Skill of vulnerability. I started sharing “I miss you” and other emotions: tears and fears, joys and dreams. These emotions have been the fuel that torched my walls for good.
These days, I find such connection in sharing vulnerably that I jump to share any emotion I feel, even a minor one. This allows me to bring the real me–the soft, feminine, vulnerable, raw, emotional, wise, expressive me–to our marriage. He follows suit in his vulnerable, masculine way.
My love is finally being freed from the prison walls.
I had imprisoned myself by running from my emotional side. It’s by risking my heart, by exposing those tender places–by diving into our marriage with all of me–that the beautiful soulmate love I’ve always dreamed of is finally blooming.
I wait all day for our green couch moments now. As we approach our midday coffee date, when my husband takes a break from his home office, or our kids are tucked in for the night, my heart skips, aflutter with excitement as I wait to join him there.
We cozy up on the couch together with hot chocolate and chat about our days or tell funny jokes. Sometimes, we watch our old favorite music videos and jam out together. I love it.
We have a light-hearted, fun time together. There are no longer walls, stiffness, or pressure to connect. Our time together feels easy and joyful. We feel so close and connected.
What is it about you that stands between you and getting the connection you are craving? I’d love to hear below.
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