Marriage is work.
My husband is an only child, an introvert and can be very tight-lipped about his feelings. In fact, when he communicates it’s as if he uses as few words as possible.
I am the oldest of five and I am very sure and expressive of my feelings and I’m a speaker and trainer so I talk a lot.
When we got married year one was a whole lot of trying to mold each other into our ideal communicator. He wanted me to talk less I wanted him to talk more. We both wanted to be understood. We also both really desired to be known by each other.
The invisible expectations let to frustration, which led to breakdowns in communication. It was difficult, stressful, and even scary to communicate with each other. We didn’t want to fight. We had a lot of fun together, we enjoyed a lot of the same things, and before we got married we got along so well.
He was literally my best friend. So why couldn’t we talk to each other?
Enter emotional intelligence. As I begin studying emotional intelligence in my graduate program I started applying the concepts to my daily life. It started as an experiment, could this abstract idea really manifest into actual systems?
I started with self-awareness I had to identify how I was really feeling before I could even begin to communicate my feelings or understand how my husband could be feeling.
Next came self-regulation. What did I want in my marriage? What was the end goal? At this point, I just wanted to have a conversation with my husband without it turning into an argument.
Then came motivation. Why did we get married in the first place? What was our intent?
Next, we got to the empathy phase. This is where for me our communication really changed. I had to look at what my husband was actually meaning, versus what he was saying. For example, my husband and I could be talking and I could tell him about a new product I heard about. I could be excited about the product and he coolly responds, “Why would anyone want to buy that?”
Now an outsider could hear our conversation and think wow he’s kind of rude and inconsiderate. Me being in the conversation and knowing my husband’s heart and background I understand that he is actually asking what the benefits of purchasing this product are.
Learning how to use the emotional intelligence tools of empathy in our relationship help me careless of how other people viewed our conversations and really look at my husband’s heart and intent. This improved our communication tremendously.
He no longer felt as if he was constantly being corrected and micromanaged when he was speaking to me. I no longer felt as if I had to correct him or take offense to the things he was saying when I knew the intent behind his words.
This leads us to the last component of emotional intelligence which is relationships and we learned tools and strategies to be really intentional about our relationship and it has transformed our marriage.
Click here to schedule a call with me if you are married or about to be and struggling with trying to communicate effectively in your relationships. I would love to pass these tools along.