Emotional Intelligence in Marriage – A Counselor’s Tips

How emotional intelligence improves your marriage

There are many ways, including:

1- You can anticipate your spouse’s needs and respond to them without them even having to ask.

2- They will more likely appropriately turn to you for emotional support rather than taking it to someone else or venting it inappropriately.

3- Physical perks – everyone needs to felt cared about. Having a spouse to rely upon to share their emotions and get support boosts personal well-being as well as marital relations.

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4- Taking care of your own emotions and being sensitive to your spouse’s has overall consequences, helping you to feel like and be a better version of yourself, leading to greater satisfaction with life, including in your marriage.

Tips to be emotionally intelligent in dealing with your spouse

Dysfunctional pasts and trauma in earlier life can damage our emotional intelligence and cause  difficulties in dealing with emotions in general and in our marriage.

Therefore emotional intelligence does not come naturally to everyone, but alhamdulillah, it is a skill that can be learned and developed, helping to boost marital relationships. There are numerous ways in which this skill can be cultivated.

• Question your thoughts and consider other perspectives. Was he late getting home from work really because he was out with his friends? Or did he stay late to earn a bit extra to help the family finances? Or was the traffic just bad? The first thought will only evoke feelings of anger, whereas the latter two will evoke those of compassion.

• Pay attention to how your thoughts are linked to your emotions. Don’t give power to the negative thoughts which feed negative behaviors. Practice having positive thoughts that produce positive emotions.

• Identify physiological signs and respond to them before an outburst. Do you notice your heart racing before you get angry? This is a sign to do something about the anger before you react using what might likely be an irrational behavior.

• What calms your negative emotions? Reading, going for a walk, deep breathing? Do it. These practices counter negative physiological responses creating a physiological calmness that will result in calmer behavior.

• Self awareness: know your triggers. If there are certain places or topics of conversation that stir your negative emotions then plan ways to deal with these in advance. When your head is clear, before the meeting or conversation, find solutions to intelligently deal with the issue rather than responding irrationally in the moment when emotions are heightened and arousal is high. Techniques such as breathing exercises or walking away can be helpful here.

Emotional Intelligence in Marriage - A Counselor's Tips - About Islam

• Do things that trigger happy emotions.

• Stop talking and just listen in an argument. It gives you space to think before responding irrationally and allows your spouse to feel listened to and calms their own emotions too. This way a more productive conversation can be had with more conducive solutions.

• Choose your words carefully. Take responsibility for your emotions without blaming your spouse. For example, say “I feel frustrated” rather than “You made me feel frustrated”.

This provides your spouse with information on your feelings rather than blaming them. Placing the responsibility of your emotions onto your spouse can evoke feelings of guilt and the perception of manipulation.

Taking responsibility for your emotions  gives them space to come forward and help of their own volition without the guilty or resentful feeling that they must.

• When you snap and later regret it, seek your spouses forgiveness and forgive yourself also.

• Identify if you have any unmet emotional needs from your childhood and how you may be consciously or unconsciously seeking them from your spouse.

• Do not solely depend on your spouse for happiness. If you do, then this need will take priority before nurturing love in the marriage as you come to need them rather than love them.

• Identify the emotions behind the words. Your spouse might not be good at expressing their emotions, but most people often give away their feelings in the words and tone of voice they choose.

• Ask how your spouse is feeling, don’t assume. Most people like to feel understood. It also lets them know that you care about their feelings.

• Respect their feelings by seeking their contribution before making big decisions.

You can gain the know-how to practice emotional intelligence and nurture a strong, healthy marriage. Manage your emotions and be sensitive to your spouse’s, respond to them in ways that make you both feel good.

First published: January 2019

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