KELSEY BARRETT | Photo Illustration

KELSEY BARRETT | Photo Illustration

In one of the most famous movie scenes of all time, Princess Leia opens her heart to her love interest Han Solo by proclaiming boldly, “I love you!” Han Solo’s response resembled much of the modern dating world as he muttered, “I know.”

Have you also found it difficult to express the true feelings of your heart to a boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse?

Well, if that is the case, you are not alone.

One of the most challenging obstacles couples face is the ability to be vulnerable with each other, according to Terry Gaspard, a licensed clinical social worker.

Vulnerability allows you to see and get to know your companion at a deeper level.

“In my over 20 years of counseling couples, I’ve come to realize that vulnerability is the key to a lasting union,” according to Gaspard in a Huffington Post article.

If this is true, why do so many of us fear being vulnerable?

One reason might be that the word vulnerable has a negative connotation.

Too many people link the word vulnerability to the word weakness, according to social researcher Brené Brown in her book Daring Greatly.

“To feel is to be vulnerable,” according to Brown. “To believe that vulnerability is a weakness is to believe that feeling is a weakness.”

So, being vulnerable is really the ability to be open to the feelings that are associated with a relationship.

If your girlfriend, boyfriend or spouse does something that frustrates you, tell them.

If you are having a terrible day, be open with your companion. Let them listen and help you to feel better about what’s bothering you.

Brian Grant, a junior studying math education, said the first step toward showing vulnerability is in the communication in any relationship.

“Obviously you don’t need to tell your companion every flaw that you have ever had, but there are certain things you probably should say,” Grant said.

It is sometimes difficult, even painful, to express the feelings of your inner soul. However, there might be consequences if you don’t.

Bethany Lassen, an engaged student and a junior studying elementary education, said agony and suffering are the feelings associated with being closed and invulnerable.

“It is awful to keep those problems in,” Lassen said. “All you do is feel anger and hatred, even if you don’t realize it.”

I don’t know about you, but being emotionally invulnerable in a relationship does not sound like the greatest thing that could ever happen to somebody.

So, what then are the feelings associated with couples who are vulnerable and honest with each other?

Jordan Ward, a married student and a senior majoring in marriage and family studies, said vulnerability has deepened the love and the trust that both she and her husband share.

“I honestly think vulnerability plays a role in my marriage almost every single day,” Ward said. “Whenever something comes up, neither of us tries to wait it out.”

Are there risks to being vulnerable? Yes, if you are dating the wrong person.

Hannah Christensen, a junior studying elementary education, said it is important to be open and honest with those you first begin a relationship with, but it is not necessary to overload them with everything.

At times you might “cast your pearls before swine” and they might trample your trust “under their feet” (Matthew 7:6). If this happens, that’s OK. Move on.

“Be open enough to get your point across, but don’t spill your guts,” Christensen said.

As you dive deep into each other’s emotions and remain honest with each other, you will eventually find that person you feel can be your eternal companion.

Theresa Contravo, a senior studying social work, said vulnerability is an act of faith.

“Things work out for the best, even when it seems like the scariest thing in the world,” Contravo said.