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Love Bytes Tip #4: Raise Your Emotional IQ

Friday, February 11, 2011

The genesis of this series written by me and the husband unit is this post right here. We decided to co-blog for one month to get to the heart (pun intended) of the communication breakdown in our marriage. It is as much therapy for us as it is advice for other married/partnered couples.

Read Love Bytes Tip #1

Read Love Bytes Tip #2
Read Love Bytes Tip #3

This week's tip for the Men:

Women are emotion-centric by nature and for good reason. Our role as primary caregivers requires us to have the innate capacity to show compassion, nurture, and unconditional love. This doesn't mean that we let our feelings rule us, but sometimes our emotions do get the best of us. We occasionally succumb to PMS, pregnancy, stress and whatever other hormones assault our systems. So what is a loving partner to do? Are you understanding instead of intolerant? Are you supportive instead of neglectful? Are you complimentary instead of critical? Trust me, us women are already beating ourselves up when we get emotional. You don't need to pile it on by asking if we are having our monthly. When we yell at you for leaving the toilet seat up for the gazillionth time, realize that we are not yelling about the toilet seat. We are just feeling unheard, disregarded, ignored (insert just about any negative feeling of choice here) and the emotions that were simmering under the surface have just erupted. Emotional intelligence according to Wikipedia is the ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups. It is a skill that you will need to master in order to have a successful marriage. Next time your wife is having an emotional moment, take a step back and think about how you are going to respond. You can either fuel the fire or you can extinguish it with a little empathy. Try this, "Honey, I know it makes you feel like I am not respecting your wishes when I leave the toilet seat up. I want you to know that I don't do it on purpose, and I will try harder to remember to put it down."

This week's tip for the Women:

I have a deep dissatisfaction with the ability of most humans to communicate (including myself). This is not a dig at any group in particular - speech is just a very inefficient way to share our thoughts with others. I have long thought, it would bee soooooo much easier if we could just read each other's minds. That way we would not have to fumble around awkwardly with words that typically lead to communication failures. One of my favorite books from grad school is "You Are What You Say - The Proven Program That Uses the Power of Language to Combat Stress, Anger and Depression" by Matthew Budd, M.D. and Larry Rothstein, Ed. D. The book basically makes a link between our ability to communicate clearly, relationships and our overall health. What does this have to do with marriage you might ask? EVERYTHING - right? One of the biggest pitfalls in marriages is the failure to communicate clearly. Surprisingly, many times it not that we don't want to be clear, we just don't know how. For example, a wife my say to her husband, "Honey, the trash can is full", which is an assertion. While in her mind she is saying" Honey, the trash can is full, can you please take it out". The next time that you and your partner have a miscommunication think about the "5 Language Actions" below and discuss how to communicate more clearly. Happy dialoguing!

Request: A request is an action that you take when you seek the assistance of another in satisfying and underlying concern that you have. A request also involves a commitment on the part of the requestor to be satisfied if the conditions specified in the request are met.
Promise: A promise is what you speak to indicate your commitment to fulfilling what someone else has requested. It implies that you understand the request fully, and that you are competent and sincere about fulfilling what he or she has asked.
Declarations: A declaration is an utterance in which someone with the authority to do so brings something into being that wasn't there before. (levels of authority and personal commitment comes into question) Assessments: An assessment is a judgment that you make about the world in the interest of taking some action. Assessments are never facts. They are always informed by the interest and standards of the person making the statement.
Assertions: An assertion is a statement you make for which you are willing to provide evidence.


Help! Mama Remote... said...

I try to tell my husband that I feel disregarded when he does something after I said I don't like it. Like after I clean out the fridge he puts in a half empty plate.

Great points!

Kimberly Grabinski said...

After 10 1/2 years of marriage I have learned that simply asking is a much better tool than "hinting".

Yes, we think they should "know" to do things but rather than be annoyed that he left his dirty laundry on the floor, I use that energy to politely ask him if he could use the laundry baskets instead of the floor (and sometimes I fling dirty underwear at him). It's simple. Straightforward. And works.

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