Communication in Marriage: Winning with Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Effective Communication creates a win-win situation at all times.

Communication

The English term ‘Communication’ evolved from Latin language. ‘Communis and communicare’ are two Latin words related to the word communication. Communis is noun word, which means common, communiality or sharing. Similarly, communicare is a verb, which means ‘make something common’. Some scholars relate the term communication with an English word community. Community members have something common to each other. communities are {supposed to be} formed with the tie of communication. It is the foundation of community. Hence, where there is no communication, there can’t be a community.

TO communicate is to share one’s intimate thoughts or feelings with (someone), especially on a spiritual level.

“the purpose of praying is to commune with God”
One key purpose of marriage is to commune with spouse

Communication in relationships is like a river. When thoughts and feelings flow smoothly between marriage partners it’s fun, feels good, and helps support everyone around. However, when communication flow is turbulent, it’s potentially dangerous and destructive. And when communication gets blocked, pressure builds up. Then when the words start flowing again, they tend to come out suddenly in a damaging raging flood.

What does great communication in marriage look like? In a great relationship couples talk freely, openly, and feel safe sharing their most private thoughts. They comfortably and considerately verbalize their concerns and feelings when difficulties arise and voice their positive thoughts when things are good. Both partners talk tactfully, staying far from attacking, hurtful or controlling comments. They listen attentively, trying to understand what their partner says with sympathy rather than looking for what’s wrong in what their partner has to say or dismissing what they hear, even if they have a different perspective. And after talking, both people in the marriage feel good about the conversation, and feel like their concerns have been considered and addressed.

Because many couples struggle with healthy communication in marriage, especially about important issues, it’s common for couples to avoid their big, difficult topics. They share trickles of information back and forth about who’s going where when and who’s going to pick up the kids, without ever diving into the conversations that are actually most important to them. Overtime, the lack of a full communication flow dries up the passion and love between them.

Great communication in marriage is a skill that you can learn. It takes practice.  And one tool you use to achieve this is Emotional Intelligence. If you work to develop your Emotional Quotient (EQ), you will be able to build the right atmosphere within your home – an atmosphere of love peace joy and righteousness.

What to do?

You might have heard “it’s all about communication in relationships” many times before. And that’s because it’s so important! Bad communication is at the root of many serious marital problems, and is one of the leading reasons for divorce. Do you know where your patterns for communication in relationships come from? Psychologists say that most of our behaviours are formed from our earliest environments. In this case, it is likely that these behaviours are learned from parents, or other primary adult figures in your childhood. Think back to how your parents did and perhaps still do interact. Were there long simmering arguments? Careful and considerate talk? Compromise and haggling? Or did they just refuse to talk about anything? These were the first lessons you recieved on how to interact with a partner, and they may be very deeply rooted behaviors now that you are an adult.

The first step to learning  great communication in relationships is to become aware of your habits. Start by thinking back to a specific moment in your childhood when you saw your parents communicating. What kind of body language did they use? Did one person dominate the conversation? How was the discussion ended? You can ask your partner to do the same reflection. Once you’ve made a note of this, think about how you act in your relationship. Do you see any similarities or differences?

The second step is sit with your partner to align on preferred communication styles and pattern. This will take practice and insight, but it is completely possible for anyone who is committed to a better relationship. Would you rather focus on communicating intentions or focus on communicating emotions? Perhaps a blend of both. You will need to agree on which communication style to adopt and execute consistently.

The third step is to get feedback on your communication style regularly. This will serve as a guide to know how both partners are trending in adhering to the chosen communication style. It is during this process of feed back that emotional Intelligence mostly plays out. May I ask you at this point: How do you give and receive feedback? Selah!

The phrase emotional intelligence became popular about twenty years ago, when it was coined by author and psychologist Dr. Daniel Goleman. Dr. Goleman argued that emotional intelligence (or emotional quotient, otherwise known as “EQ”) was as, if not more, important than intellectual or academic intelligence. The notion of what EQ actually is has been hotly debated over the past two decades. The current leaders in the field are Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, coauthors of Emotional Intelligence 2.0.
Bradberry and Greaves describe EQ as a combination of four skills: self-awareness and self-management (skills that are more about you) and social awareness and relationship management (skills that are more about others). In short, EQ is a measure of how aware you are about yourself and your relationships. Most of the EQ research has been directed at the workplace, but the idea of emotional intelligence has profound implications on an intentional marriage.
The world’s leading researcher in making marriage work, Dr. John Gottman, states: “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.”
A happy marriage is an emotionally intelligent marriage. It includes two partners who are committed to both self- and other-awareness. And each of those partners also have a capacity and inclination to manage their own emotional state and their impact on the other. Dr. 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.”

Now let’s talk about the Four Components of Emotional Intelligence:
1. Self-Awareness: Self Awareness is having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. Self Awareness allows you to understand other people, how they perceive you, your attitude and your responses to them in the moment.
Do you like to address issues and in the process have long unending sessions addressing the same issue or do you postpone or walk away from looming conversations about issues? Do you always dish out faults and or complaints? Effective Self awareness will drive you to self-management.
2. Self -Management is simply defined as knowing, or understanding what is going on emotionally inside of us—and then having the ability to regulate our responses and behavior manifesting from that emotion. Nothing tests our ability to self-regulate like conflict.
And as most married individuals know, conflict and the potential for offense is a daily part of life.
And as I mentioned earlier, trying to find an agreed-upon model for doing life together takes many difficult conversations.
How you regulate yourself in those conversations can have a lasting effect on your marriage and family. Consistently having emotional outbursts in a relationship can destroy it over time.
The greater your ability to delay self-gratification, and put the needs of your spouse in front of yours, the stronger your relationship will be.
Keep in mind, regulating your emotional responses is not the same thing as stuffing your emotions.

PART OF SELF-REGULATING YOUR EMOTIONS IS LEARNING HOW TO TALK ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS IN A HEALTHY WAY.

Being vulnerable with your spouse about your emotional state is vital to a healthy relationship. Share how you feel, but don’t let the emotions lead in a way that injures you or your spouse.

4. Social awareness:  is one’s ability to seek to understand the other’s perspective.
Because there is a clash of worldviews about what marriage looks like when two people enter a relationship—the issue of empathy is profound.
The key to building empathy in your marriage is seeking to understand where your spouse is coming from. Instead of waiting to interject your view into the conversation, ask questions that will pull out a greater understanding of your spouse’s view.
How to do this?
1. Agree to have regular talk time with your wife. It could be weekly
2. During the talk time, begin by complimenting your spouse.
3. Then you move to addressing issues. Start by labeling the issue. It could be for instance “Toothpaste Usage” And then you go about addressing the issue, asking questions, proferring suggestions and or possible solutions while your spouse listens without interrupting possibly taking notes to ensure all issues raised are responded to. It is worthy to note that listening is not as simple as it sounds. For meaningful communication to hold in any marriage, couples have to develop a listening habit. This can be done by calmly hearing what is being or has been said and processing same with a focus solely on the issue. Couples must learn to separate issues (what is being said) from personalities (who said what?)
4. Finally, when one spouse is done talking, room should be given to the spouse to respond and address issues as well following the above steps. Allows begin with compliments.

The fourth component of Emotional Intelligence (EI) is Relationship Management

5. Relationship management hinges on the whats and whys. Why am I in this marriage? What did I commit myself to do. If you have said I do then this should be a good motivation to continue TO DO. We ought not only to love in words….. I love you, I love you but to love in deed and in truth.

No one likes to be told that they are doing something wrong, or that their way is not the best.
Being motivated to work through the differences, for the longer goal of a strong and healthy relationship, is key to a happy marriage. And motivation should come from within you. Do not expect your spouse to be the source of your happiness. Never put that burden on them. They will always fall short.
Your marriage is your responsibility.
I will round up with these words.
When communicating with your spouse THINK:
T= IS IT TRUE?
H= IS IT HELPFUL?
I= IS IT INSPIRING?
N= IS IT NECESSARY?
K= IS IT KIND?
May our Gentle and kind words bring joy and life to our homes!

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