Are You Emotionally Intelligent? - Part 2
Day 1 - Mar 22, 2021
Spouses who lack emotional intelligence reject their spouse's influence because they typically fear a loss of power.
- Studies show this is primarily the man. And because he is unwilling to accept influence, he will not be influential, and that dynamic will result in gridlock.
On the other hand, the emotionally intelligent husband is interested in his spouse's emotions because he honors and respects his wife.
Day 2 - Mar 23, 2021
Declare "We" over "Me"
If you want your spouse to change, start by accepting them for who they are.
In The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, Dr. John Gottman says, “People can change only if they feel that they are basically liked and accepted the way they are. When people feel criticized, disliked, and unappreciated they are unable to change. Instead, they feel under siege and dig in to protect themselves.”
Instead of criticizing your spouse, remind yourself of all of the things you appreciate about them, and share those things with them. Be genuinely interested in learning about why they see or do something differently than you, and be open to respecting and even celebrating what makes each of you unique.
Of course, there are some things that should never be tolerated in a relationship, like abuse, addiction, or infidelity. These behaviors should be addressed in a loving and direct way with the help of a professional.
Day 3 - Mar 24, 2021
Couples seeking a deeper emotional connection need to understand that vulnerability and intimacy go hand in hand.
- In other words, intimacy can only occur when spouses are vulnerable enough to share their deepest hopes, fears, and dreams without judgement.
Let change start with you!
Do you spend more time questioning your spouse's words or actions than examining your own?
- Blaming your spouse can feel good in the moment, but it’s dangerous because it can lead to anger and resentment.
Day 4 - Mar 25, 2021
Couples that don’t repair hurts end up with festering wounds that grow bigger day by day.
- If the hurt isn't dealt with they can break the couple apart.
- Repair is absolutely crucial in marriage.
Here are four things you can do instead of trying to change your spouse that can change your marriage for the better.
1. Be a Better Spouse
Dr. Harriet Lerner writes, “If you don’t change your part in a stuck pattern, no change will occur. Change comes from the bottom up: that is from the person who is in the most pain, or who has the least power, or who has lost or compromised too much in the relationship.”
2. Focus on the Issues at Hand
When you focus on changing your spouse, you miss the opportunity to work together to come up with a solution. You’re no longer on the same team. Instead, focus on the issues at hand to meet both of your needs.
Anger is usually a symptom of underlying hurt, fear, and frustration. So, speak in "I" statements and focus on expressing your feelings in a vulnerable way that invites your spouse to understand your pain, rather than pushes them away.
3. Take Responsibility
We are responsible for how our words and actions make our spouse feel. Apologize to your spouse by taking responsibility for the problem, even just a small piece, and this will validate their feelings, promote forgiveness, and allow you both to move on.
4. Complain without Blame
In Why Marriages Succeed or Fail, Dr. Gottman explains that criticizing your spouse is one of The Four Horsemen that predicts divorce. It is different from offering a critique or voicing a complaint.
- A criticism attacks the core of a person’s character, while a complaint focuses on a specific behavior.
Day 5 - Mar 26, 2021
When conflict happens, the key is to listen intently to your partner’s point of view, to let them know that you understand them, to ask them what they need, and to be willing to compromise.
- Yes, this is easily said and not easily done in the heat of the moment! It requires you to initially think about your spouse and not yourself, even if you know you're right. It requires you listen instead of reacting.
One way to help do this is for each of you to identify your core needs and search, together, for where those needs overlap.
- Then try to find common ground upon which to make decisions together.