Emotional Safety in Marriage: Why Does it Matter?

Emotional safety is a critical component of any fulfilling marriage. In order for spouses to be able to be truly vulnerable, open, and honest with one another, emotional safety must exist in the relationship. If a couple does not deliberately make emotional safety a part of their relationship, it will become difficult to overcome obstacles and grow closer to one another over time.

In short, emotional safety allows us to fully be ourselves, and it’s required if we want to experience all the blessings marriage has to offer. There are several factors that are needed in an emotionally safe marriage, so let’s talk about what those are and how to cultivate them.


Empathy is one of the most important requirements for a healthy marriage. Essentially, empathy means to walk in one another’s shoes. Being empathic requires understanding the other person so that you can respond to their needs in a way that’s well suited for them. It’s seeing the big picture outside yourself and your desires.

We can’t establish an emotionally safe marriage–or any relationship–without empathy. It’s the key component to navigating life’s challenges with grace and patience. Empathy also helps us to anticipate how our spouse may respond to certain situations and triggers, so that we can adjust our own reactions and attitudes in response.

Good Listening Skills

We can’t practice empathy without effectively listening to one another. If you haven’t yet mastered good listening skills, then your spouse won’t be able to feel emotionally safe with you. Vulnerability requires understanding, and listening is key to fully understanding another person.

When your spouse communicates with you, strive to listen and understand what they’re saying. Lean on your empathy in order to embrace their point of view. Don’t pick through their words for ammunition or build a response while they’re still speaking. Instead, be patient and observant so that you can form the most appropriate response.

Relational Stability

A stable relationship is a building block for emotional stability. Volatile relationships are, by their very nature, emotionally unstable. If you and your spouse regularly fight or experience misunderstandings due to poor listening skills or a lack of empathy, then your relationship is likely experiencing some instability. Walking on eggshells around one another or being off-balance all the time will keep you from feeling fully safe with one another.

Work on stabilizing your relationship and cultivating more peace so that both of you feel more comfortable being vulnerable. It can be a challenge to break long-standing patterns, particularly if you haven’t experienced lasting peace in the past, for whatever reason. Calming the chaos can help you build emotional safety, though, so take it one day at a time and work together to lower the volatility in your marriage.

Unconditional Love

When we know we’re loved unconditionally, it’s much easier to feel emotionally safe. Cultivate unconditional love in your marriage, and you’ll be well on your way to creating a space where both of you can be vulnerable and open without fear.

If you’re looking for a guidebook that will help you and your spouse build a healthier relationship, then check out our book, Strengthen Your Marriage. It pairs with our SYMBIS+ assessment for an in-depth look at who you are as individuals and as a couple, so that you can work together to make your marriage better than ever before. Pick up your copy here.

Do you have an emotionally healthy marriage? What have you and your spouse done to cultivate it? Share your story in the comments.


  • Carol Murray says:

    My husband does not touch me he loves me but has an enlaminemrged prostate and on many meds he puts his leg over mine and hugs me but that ls lt l just go with the flow we go places together l just crave lntamcy should l hang ln there

    • Priscille says:

      Hey Carol,
      I am sorry that you are going through this. My response is based on my assumption that you are talking about sexual intimacy. You guys are going to have to really think outside of the box and be creative when it comes to the intimacy. Have you guys tried toys or other body parts to use to have intimacy?

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