Relationships can be fueled with emotions, and managing those emotions is key to healthy communication in a marriage. When couples focus on growing their emotional intelligence, it is easier to resolve conflict, come to a shared understanding and increase intimacy.
The definition of emotional intelligence as outlined by author Daniel Goleman, is the ability to, “Recognize, understand and manage our own emotions of others.
This means being aware that emotions can drive our behavior and impact people (positively and negatively), and learning how to manage those emotions – both our own and others – especially when we are under pressure.”
As humans, we often make decisions based on our emotions. Learning how to become more aware of our emotions, can have a positive impact on our relationships with others.
Through my work with couples, I’ve identified 5 helpful tips to help them practice emotional intelligence.
By sharing these tips, my hope for you is to manage your emotions and seek to grow your emotional intelligence on a daily basis by practicing:
1. Validating feelings
When you validate someone else’s feelings, this helps to make them feel heard.
If a person feels heard, many times they feel valued and are willing to communicate authentically. As you validate feelings, avoid reading between the lines, and simply repeat back what your spouse has expressed.
An example of this would be a wife says, “I feel frustrated when you do not pick up your socks in the living room. It would make me feel less stressed if you would pick them up.”
Okay, husbands, there is no need to defend yourself, just simply validate your wife’s feelings by saying something like, “So, you feel frustrated when I do not pick up my socks.”
2. Clarifying for understanding
After validating someone else’s feelings, it is important to clarify what they have said, to avoid miscommunication which can often lead to an argument.
Use your active listening skills to let your spouse know you understand them by restating what they said. Let’s take the example in tip number one and clarify for understanding, “You get frustrated when I don’t pick up my socks and you would feel less stressed if I picked them up. Did I get that right?”
3. Finding solutions
Be a part of the solution, not the problem.
If your spouse communicates they are having difficulty with something, and asks for your help, work as a team to find solutions. Let’s take the sock example, so the wife can be part of the solution by suggesting putting a hamper in the closet and asking the husband if he would be willing to put his socks in the hamper.
4. Being optimistic
Looking at the brighter side of life helps with stress management, and research has shown it can have a positive impact on your health.
There are things you can do to be more optimistic. An example of this would be to tell your spouse what you appreciate about them on a daily basis.
5. Assuming the best in others
Finally, assume the best in others! By assuming your spouse has good intentions, they just might live up to your expectations.
You will feel much better by assuming the best, rather than having negative thoughts that can bring you down. To practice assuming the best in each other you can find something positive about what you like about the relationship and share that with each other.