How to Cultivate Emotional Intimacy With Your Spouse

A woman leaning on a guys shoulder as they stand outside against a garage door

As I sat across the table from him, I wanted to know his thoughts, ones I hadn’t heard before. An undeniable thirst to know him better washed over me in the moment. Not even the perspiring glass of water in front of me could satisfy the feeling. 

What I was craving was emotional intimacy, which is defined as “a perception of closeness to another person that allows sharing of feelings, accompanied by expectations of understanding, affirmation and demonstrations of caring.” The longer I have been married, the more I have come to value emotional intimacy as a tool to know my husband better and to be truly seen and known by him. In our culture of hustle and busyness, this could not be more important.

Here are a few ways I have learned to cultivate emotional intimacy in relationships:

Get creative in conversation.  

There’s something about getting outside of the house and looking the man I love in the eyes that sparks a sense of that first date fondness. In an effort to recreate those early moments, I began asking him “what if” scenarios.  

What if you had to have a job that was dangerous? What would you choose? What if you had to live on an island? Where would you live? If you could only change one thing at your current job, what would it be? 

Similar to dreaming up make-believe worlds as a child, I created scenarios that took my husband to a state of imagination and daydreaming. Those abstract questions sparked conversations that related to our current lives, our ever-developing feelings for each other and our future. By speaking my seemingly odd trains of thoughts into existence, it created emotional intimacy with my otherwise quiet-natured partner. It opened the door for laughter, connection and ultimately, reinforcement of our relationship. 

It opened the door for laughter, connection and ultimately, reinforcement of our relationship. 

Lean into their interests.

When you’re no longer in the early stages of a relationship, you have to get crafty when it comes to discovering new things about your partner. Sometimes, I feel like I couldn’t possibly find out anything I don’t already know about my husband, but he continues to surprise me.

When I give my spouse my full attention as he tells me something he’s discovered, it creates another avenue for emotional connection. He could share anything from a new band, a YouTube show or an author who he has unexpectedly unearthed. Ironically, he typically picks times to reveal these things whenever I’m busy, but what I’ve noticed is that when I put aside what I’m doing and lean into a conversation, he feels seen and heard. His excitement only grows. 

What I’ve noticed is that when I put aside what I’m doing and lean into a conversation, he feels seen and heard.

When I’m at work the next day, if I listen to the song he’s become obsessed with or read an article about an author he loves, I have something to “report back” when we come together for dinner that night. It shows that I’ve taken the time to care for his interests, even if they are not my interests. He does the same for me. It takes a little work on both of our parts since we have vastly different tastes, but the work makes us feel well-rounded in our relationship. 

Take time away from your devices and connect through intentional dialogue.

Most weekday evenings, my husband and I sit down on our living room couch, exhausted after everything we’ve done that day. We binge-watch our favorite shows, and after an hour or so, we go to bed. It hit me, as we were turning out the lights one night, that while we sit together almost every day and while we’re close in proximity, our conversations are minimal.

Our dinners are pretty quick with small talk about our days. Then, it’s on to the next thing until we can’t possibly get anything else done that day and collapse together on the couch. 

Recently, we’ve taken this into account and instead of zoning out (which is totally acceptable to do occasionally), we lie next to each other rather than at opposite ends of the couch. We lie in silence and let whatever thoughts that are top-of-mind surface. We have intentional talks in these quiet moments, making them some of my favorite times. When the silence is broken, it’s only because one of us is telling the other what we observe in them—the good, the areas of needed growth, the unique talents, the beautiful truths and ultimately, the reasons our love grows for the other daily. 

We have intentional talks in these quiet moments, making them some of my favorite times.

When my head hits the pillow on nights like this, my emotional tank overflows. If I haven’t connected with my favorite person in the entire world on any particular day, it hurts my inner being. It’s so easy for us to fall into our daily routines that we don’t realize the damage until it begins to hurt.

Throughout the span of our marriage, we have both intentionally sought connection. Because of this, we now can quickly discern when it’s been too long since we’ve had a night of talking and getting to know each other again. While our mind-numbing TV binging habit can be fun at times, we consciously choose to take a few nights away from the screen. We intentionally choose to rekindle our love for one another. 

If your emotional tank is running on empty in your relationships, it is possible to cultivate emotional intimacy. It requires effort, energy and a little TLC. You and your partner’s relationship will only be better for it!

How do you and your partner cultivate emotional intimacy? What, if anything, might be getting in the way of you connecting on a deeper level?

Image via Prakash Shroff, Darling Issue No. 17

How to Start and Grow a Business

A smiling woman with glasses in her hands that are touching her chin as she stands in front of a two-tone wall

Starting and growing a business is a deeply gratifying experience. Your business is a reflection of your unique gifts and experience—a contribution that no one else can make to the world. However, it’s not always easy.

Throughout several years of running a custom jewelry studio and coaching purpose-driven entrepreneurs, I’ve grown and been stretched more than I could imagine. There’s no single right way to run a business, and we’re all on a journey of discovery.

There’s no single right way to run a business, and we’re all on a journey of discovery.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned about how to thrive as an entrepreneur.

Learn about yourself. 

Honesty is best when it comes to your business. The start-up stage can be grueling, and you don’t want to build something you won’t enjoy. You’ll wear many hats and some may not be your favorite, but the bulk of the work should align with your talents, interests and past experience. 

Now is the time for personal exploration. Ask yourself:

  • What are your strengths? What are your assets?
    This might be prior work experience, education, finances or a professional network.
  • What gives you life?
    Consider keeping a journal for a week to identify what activities give you energy and which drain you.
  • How can you leverage your strengths to overcome challenges?
    After you’ve taken inventory of your strengths and assets, take notes on how to use those strengths to overcome any challenges you might encounter.
  • How much is “enough” revenue from your business? What would success look like for you? How many hours are you willing to work? What boundaries will you need in place?
    It’s more difficult to define values while you’re in the midst of struggle. Define your values around time and money. Take time to set the values and intentions you want to operate from in the future.

Create a self-care routine.

There will be tough days in your business. Don’t wait until you are already exhausted to try and refill your bucket. Build a healthy foundation by creating a self-care routine. As a business owner who is also raising four children, proactive self-care has become essential for me. 

Here are a few tips that have served me well:

  • Review my journal of life-giving and life-draining activities to identify things that could trigger exhaustion, as well as ways to refill.
  • Make a list of self-care practices you’ll need on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis.
    Consider your physical, emotional and spiritual needs. A few of my practices include a weekly long walk with a podcast, a monthly date with nature and annual health check-ups.
  • Schedule your self-care on your calendar.
    Booking appointments with yourself means you’ll be more likely to keep yourself running in a balanced state.

Build a community of encouragers.

Building a business is exciting. You’ll want to celebrate your wins and also maintain a sense of hope. As with a self-care routine, building your community of encouragement now will start you off with the support you’ll need throughout the life of your business.

Tell friends and family about your new venture. It may be tempting to wait until you’ve had “success,” but the whole point is to have support and encouragement before you have the “proof.” Running a business is often an act of faith, and there are days when you’ll need others to hold the faith for you. Don’t wait on success to connect. Let people accompany you at every step.

Running a business is often an act of faith, and there are days when you’ll need others to hold the faith for you.

That said, do be choosy about who you bring into your circle. This is sacred ground. Be sure you’re sharing with people who respect that. You’ll want people that can provide support without judgment or unnecessary fear.

Explore creative ways to broaden your community of encouragers. Consider networking or mastermind groups to meet other entrepreneurs.  Make a list of motivating music, quotes, social media accounts, books and movies to keep you inspired.

Plan and take action.

A business is its own entity and warrants thoughtful planning. However, don’t let fear or perfectionism turn into procrastination. There’s nothing about running a business that you can’t handle. 

  • Invest in learning.
    Think back to your list of strengths, assets and areas of growth. Where might you benefit from professional development? The surge in online courses has made it easier than ever to learn new skills. Word to the wise: Invest in learning, but don’t use it as a way to procrastinate. There is a temptation to wait until you’ve learned everything, but some things just have to be learned by doing.
  • Make a plan but practice flexibility.
    You don’t know what you don’t know. Businesses that are flexible are more likely to survive.
  • Invest time in creating systems.
    It takes longer at first, but systems create more time as you grow.  They also lead to a more sustainable business in the long run.

Also, a few practicalities to plan for when starting a business: Create a separate checking account from the beginning. Research licensing requirements, and consider hiring an accountant if you’re not versed in the tax implications of owning a business. 

With knowledge of yourself, a solid foundation of self-care and encouragement and a plan that is adaptable, welcome to the journey of a lifetime! It’s hard to top the joy earned from launching your ideas out into the world. I can’t wait to see what you create.

What tips do you have for the new entrepreneur? In business, what are some things you can plan ahead for and some that you cannot?

Image via Sierra Prescott, Darling Issue No. 16

What We’re Buying From the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

The Everygirl’s product selections are curated by the editorial team. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We only recommend products we genuinely love.

If you haven’t heard by now, the best sale of the year is here and in full-swing (but you probably have because our editors have been yelling it from the rooftops for days now). Yes, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is here—and if you haven’t already, it’s time to figure out what you want to add to your cart before it sells out.

Every year, the Nordstrom Sale is marked on our editors’ calendars and circled in red marker because we know that it’s our opportunity to add the pieces of our dreams to our wardrobes at majorly discounted prices (and that they won’t be in stock for long). We scour every page of the sale, write down our wishlists, and do everything in our power to get our hands on the things we want before they’re gone.

This year, we’ve made purchases we’re very excited about, and we don’t want to keep the news to ourselves. From full-size beauty sets at unbelievable prices to jackets we’re planning on living in this fall, these are the pieces our editors purchased (or have in our carts) from this year’s sale. Trust us, you don’t want to miss out on them.

Source: Jordan McDonnell for The Everygirl

$96 value

Oribe Dry Shampoo & Dry Texturizing Spray Full-Size Set, $64

As someone with thin hair who is constantly pining over Gisele-level locks, I have tried every dry shampoo and texture spray out there. Oribe texture spray is by far the best at giving me tousled volume and the I-Woke-Up-Like-This texture (you know what I’m talking about) while still leaving my hair soft and touchable. The dry shampoo is also truly a game-changer for my hair routine because I spray it before bed or in the morning days after I blow dry, and it looks like I just got a fresh blowout. I call them both miracle products, but I often settle for not-as-great options because Oribe is so expensive. I’m taking full advantage of the Nordstrom sale to stock up on two bottles for basically the price of one. Your hair will never look better (at such an affordable price!)

– Josie Santi, Associate Editor & Wellness Content Manager

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$156 value

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser Set, $88

The Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser and Ultra Facial Cream are already a part of my daily skincare routine, and I love how simple and nourishing these products are. I’m going to use the Nordstrom sale to stock up on my favorite products to save some money the next time I run out.

– Keely Geist, Social Media Editor, The Everymom

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Le Labo

Santal 26 Votive Set

I’m all about any candle that makes me feel like my home is a luxury resort, so it’s no surprise my eyes zeroed in on this votive set. The concrete vessel adds a chic, industrial touch and can make for cute decor once the candle runs out.

– Andi Wynter, Contributing Writer

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$150 value

T3 1.25-Inch Curling Iron, $99

I recently went on vacation with a whole gaggle of girlfriends, and one friend brought a 1.25-inch curling iron. I’m a firm believer in my 1-inch, but I decided to try it because it was already plugged in and hot. Since then, I’ve been researching and wanting to order a bigger iron because I loved the soft waves it gave my medium-length, fine hair. I swear by my T3 blow dryer, so I already know I love their technology and that it’s high quality. This is an incredible deal that I don’t want to miss.

– Beth Gillette, Beauty Content Manager & Associate Editor

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Originally $69

AllSaints Leather Card Case, $45

I’ve had the same wallet since I was 20 years old. It was once a white, simple card case that has now become tattered and so stretched out that my cards easily slip out (I mean, the wallet was about $15, so I’m impressed it even lasted this long). I know a nice wallet is one of those “adult purchases” that just has to happen at some point, so the Nordstrom Sale would be the best time to find a grown-up and chic wallet, maybe even from a cool AF brand (you know, the kind I wouldn’t pay full price for but endlessly wish I could). This camel croc printed card case has been on my list since Nordstrom announced the sale’s lineup this year because it’s timeless, stylish, and affordable. This is totally going to update my bag for fall 2021 and beyond.

– Josie Santi, Associate Editor & Wellness Content Manager

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Originally $100

Ugg Shearling Slippers, $69

Since working from home, I’ve become super into slippers. Last fall, I decided it was time to stop constantly buying $20 pairs that fall apart after a couple of months and get myself a nice pair. I never pulled the trigger, but I knew that this sale was finally my excuse to. These slippers are one of those little things that just spark joy every day, and I’ve already been wearing them even though it’s 90 degrees here. Uggs rarely go on sale, so this is a great time to purchase these—and with all the colors they come in, you’ll be sure to find a pair that you love.

– Madeline Galassi, Fashion Content Manager & Associate Editor

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Originally $80

Converse Platform High-Tops, $59

We’ve seen it all over Instagram—Converse are back and one of the hottest shoes you can get your hands on this year. I think this pair has the same great, classic look as the original high-tops, but the leather adds an elevated touch. I’m excited to wear them to day and night outings all fall. Plus, as someone on the shorter side, I’m all about the additional height that the platform is going to give me.

– Keely Geist, Social Media Editor, The Everymom

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Originally $56

Alo Biker Shorts, $36

I take full advantage of purchasing activewear that has been on my wishlist whenever a sale comes around. Alo is super comfy, whether I’m taking a brisk walk or in a hot yoga sesh, and I’m obsessed with how flattering their shorts always are. Adding color back into my wardrobe has also been one of my goals for this year, and this pink is super fun and bright and makes me excited to work out.

– Andi Wynter, Contributing Writer

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Originally $89

Levi’s 501 Straight-Leg Jeans, $58

Look, I’m not here to make friends, I’m here to find jeans for life. I’m happy to report that Levi’s never disappoints and are made to last. I’m obsessed with the straight-leg fit of these. They’re also perfect for when you’re going out, and I love anything that I can feel comfortable in all night long.

– Andi Wynter, Contributing Writer

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Originally $188

Suede Moto Jacket, $99

The Nordstrom sale is my favorite time to purchase higher-ticket items that I normally wouldn’t even consider. Sure, this moto jacket at full-price wouldn’t be the most expensive thing I’ve ever purchased, but I’d go back and forth on it for a long time before taking the plunge. At almost $100 off, I didn’t even think twice about adding it to my cart. It’s a classic cut and staple color that I know I’ll wear literally all the time. The best part? I’ll never have to worry about it going out of style. I’m looking forward to this jacket being a staple in my wardrobe for years to come.

– Garri Chaverst, Managing Editor

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Originally $189

Plaid Teddy Jacket, $99

I’m at the point in my life where my wardrobe is pretty covered in the “basics” department, which means that when I’m shopping now, I’m looking for pieces that pack a bit more of a punch. I wore my lighter-weight teddy coat all fall last year and absolutely loved the idea of having this purple one in my arsenal. I sized up and got a medium, and it’s perfectly boxy and cozy. I wish it was already fall so I could get to wearing it every single day.

– Madeline Galassi, Fashion Content Manager & Associate Editor

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Originally $69

Double Breasted Blazer, $45

I’m here for all the blazer looks: over a T-shirt and jeans for work, a sexy top for nights out, or biker shorts and a sports bra for a trendy, street-style look. I think this blazer is versatile enough for all of them. I don’t have a pinstripe blazer that I love yet, so I’m excited to give this one a try.

– Keely Geist, Social Media Editor, The Everymom

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Originally $300

The North Face Parka, $224

A few years ago, I moved down to South Carolina and donated all of my winter clothes, swearing up and down I would never move back to Chicago. But in April, I moved back. Now that winter weather is quickly approaching (I’m quite stressed about it already), I need to add a heavy-duty winter coat to my closet. I’m convinced that this Nordstrom one is the best bet I have at fighting off the cold.

– Jessica Jones, Social Media Editor

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Originally $200

Puffer Jacket, $119

I somehow survived winter 2020 without a puffer coat, and while I’m here to tell the tale, I know I need one going into winter 2021. The reason I never bought one last year was because I could never find anything I loved. I wanted something short, warm-but-not-hot (I get very sweaty, what can I say), and that had a hood for snowy days. Then, as I perused the Nordstrom sale, I found this, and it was love at first sight. I tried it on in the store and it fits true-to-size with a little extra room for sweaters or cardigans. I also love that this is water repellant—snow days, here I come!

– Beth Gillette, Beauty Content Manager & Associate Editor

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The Best Plus-Size Pieces From the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale
grab your wallet—you’re going to need it