The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Marriage

As far as I know, unless you work for a fairly big organization, emotional intelligence is just not something you’re taught. It comes as no surprise, then, that so many adults lack this hugely important trait. Thankfully, it can be taught and learned. That’s the goal with this post – to teach you about emotional intelligence so you can see where you’re at and where you can improve.

Dictionary.com defines emotional intelligence as :

The capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

So, I’ll be sharing with you some characteristics, types, how you can know whether you’re emotionally intelligent, and a few other things regarding the topic.

The 5 Components of Emotional Intelligence

According to Daniel Goleman, a psychologist who brought awareness to this concept, there are five factors of components to it :

  1. Self-awareness

If you’re self-aware, you know how you feel, you know you’re strengths, your weaknesses. You know when you’re feeling specific emotions and what triggers them and you know how your actions effect the people around you.

How can you improve self-awareness?

  • Keep a journal. Spend some time every day worrying down your thoughts. Keep track of what happened that day and what emotions those things made you feel. Use this medium to preform a daily self-reflection.
  • Feel your feelings. Feelings are so important. So whether your feeling happy or sad or anxious or angry, refrain from judging yourself from feeling them or even trying to numb them. Instead, analyze them. What triggered them? How did you react?

2. Self-regulation

This is all about staying in control. When you’re able to feel and still have the capacity to govern your actions as a result, you’re less likely to attack others or make irrational decisions.

So, how can you improve your ability to self-regulate?

  • Practice self awareness. This is the most essential factor for self-regulation.
  • Learn adaptability. You’ve heard it said that change is the only constant. When you have a hard time adapting to change, you’ll inhibit your ability to self-regulate.

3. Motivation

Emotionally intelligent people have specific goals that they’re intentional about, work consistently towards, and have high standards for.

So, how can you be more motivated?

  • Set small, measurable goals. Goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based. When done like this, tracking progress and making adjustments will be easier and reaching the goals will seem more manageable.
  • Celebrate results. Every time you complete a step towards your goal, celebrate it. This will give you the motivation to tackle the next step.

4. Empathy for others

The ability to know what someone else is feeling, even if you don’t feel their emptiness, is crucial. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Carin Goldstein, said that empathy is the heart of any relationship. Without it, the relationship with struggle to survive.

So, how can you become more empathetic?

  • Walk in another’s shoes. Dare to ask about other’s issues and concerns and about preception of an experience.
  • Be curious. All questions. All better questions. This will lead you to develop a better understanding of people.

5. Social skills

Being social is about communication and doing it effectively. Whether it’s with a partner or a friend, this is a skill that must be developed.

So, how do you improve your social skills?

  • Offer compliments.. Generously. Compliments them everything positive. They have the ability to open someone’s heart towards you to build a relationship.
  • Encourage others to talk about themselves. It’s been found that people judge a good conversationalist not on the topics or style of conversation but on how much they allowed them to talk about themselves. This was unconsciously, of course, but when we ask questions to prompt someone to talk about themselves, they seldom turn away at the opportunity. People love talking about themselves!

Now that you know what it takes to be empirically intelligent, how do you know where you stand on the scale?

Signs That You’re Emotionally Intelligent

You’re able to talk about your emotions.

It’s one thing to feel emotions – we all do whether we’d like to or not! – but it’s a whole different skill set to be able to accurately and effectively express what you’re feeling. TalentSmart researchers have actually found that only 36% of people can actually do this.

This is a bigger problem than it sounds because we can’t master what we don’t understand. When we can’t put words to how we’re feeling it’s because we don’t really know what we’re feeling. This can lead to irrational and counterproductive actions.

People intrigue you.

People fascinate you. Your curious about others no matter how different or alike they are to you. You want to know them. Knowing someone and caring for go hand in hand. A major factor of emotional intelligence.

Change doesn’t scare you.

Change truly is inevitable. So emotionally intelligent people are adaptable and flexible. They’re keen to predicting change and for plans for when it happens instead of becoming paralyzed because change snuck up on them. Having the courage to change your mind into a new direction can heed enormous benefits.

You know your strengths and weaknesses.

Emotionally intelligent people know what they’re good at and what they aren’t good at. They what pushes their buttons and what they need to succeed. They know that they’re to capitalize on their strengths and surround themselves with others that can pick up the slack where they’re weak. They’re fond of teamwork.

You’re great at reading people.

You can know what someone’s about, you’re able to judge their character.

You’re not easily offended.

When you truly know who you are, offending you isn’t an easy task. You’re a confident person.

You don’t dwell on the past.

Letting go of mistakes isn’t easy. But it’s important. Dwelling in a mistake for too long can foster feelings of anxiousness, shame, and guilt. Instead, remember the mistake, not as a means of staying stuck but as a reference point to better prepare for the future.

You appreciate what you have.

Simply put, gratitude improves your mood, your energy, and everything in between. In fact, in the context of marriage, gratitude was the one thing the was found to protect marriages from the toxic effects of conflict. It’s the most important predictor of marital quality.

Emotionally intelligent people forgive and let go, set boundaries, communicate effectively, listen effectively — there are many other habits of emotionally intelligent people but here’s a quiz to help you.

Emotional intelligence in marriage

Emotional intelligence is the key to marriage.

John Gottman, a leading divorce and marriage researchers said this:

“Happily married couples aren’t smarter, richer, or more psychologically astute than others. But in their day-to-day lives, they have hit upon a dynamic that keeps their negative thoughts and feelings about each other (which all couples have) from overwhelming their positive ones. They have what I call an emotionally intelligent marriage.”

Marriage is only successful when you’re aware not only of yourself but your partner as well. Let’s call that self-awareness and other awareness. Even more, both individuals practice mangonear their emotional state and the effects on their spouse.

Gottman continues:

“In the strongest marriages, husband and wife share a deep sense of meaning. They don’t just ‘get along’—they also support each other’s hopes and aspirations and build a sense of purpose into their lives together. The more emotionally intelligent a couple, the better able they are to understand, honor, and respect each other in this manner.”

Areas where emotional intelligent couples do really well:

  1. Friendship

Friendships are founded on social skills, empathy, support, and care. This type of couple understand each other and confide in one another.

2. Communication

When a couple is able to communicate their needs, feelings, and thoughts in a healthy way, they’re more likely to thrive. They don’t criticize each other when they converse. Instead, convey respect in tone and intent.

3. Conflict management

Those who have lasting relationships have learned how to navigate conflict. It’s not that they have less conflict than other couples but that they have learned to listen and walk in the other’s shoes. They’ve even learned how to compromise. Yes, compromise.

4. Encourage oneness

Every relationship is made up of two individuals. Though they have their own identity, they encourage relationship with one another. They know and are confident in their roles and in their partner.

5. Exercise healthy boundaries

Emotionally healthy couples have set boundaries to keep their relationship safe from outside influence. They know that the risk of infidelity is a real thing and they set up walls to any force that threatens their relationship.

6. They’re aware of each other’s value and meaning

Emotionally intelligent couples know the hopes and dreams of their partners. They support them in these goals because they understand their motivation and pain behind them. They’re each other’s biggest cheerleaders.

7. They’ve found ways to connect

These types of couples find ways to connect with each other every single day. They are mindful and intentional about connection. It takes planning and time but key to making love last.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty freakin’ great! However, it takes patience with yourself and your partner as you both learn to navigate the waters of emotional intelligence.

Now that you’ve read this, how would you rate yourself in a scale of 1-10? What habits can you work on? What habits are you excelling in?

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