While it’s important to acknowledge the emotions you feel, a balance must be struck so that you and your spouse can use emotions to come closer together—not drive an irreversible wedge between yourselves that kills intimacy.
In today’s blog, we’ll explore how emotions can have an impact on marriage, including its problems. Please keep reading to get 3 valuable tips…
Emotions Run Amok
There are some people who are uncomfortable with their emotions. If this describes you, maybe you grew up in a home where emotions were tightly kept, never openly displayed.
Or, maybe you’re just the opposite: very comfortable with expressing how you feel. Your upbringing may be characterized by people who actively engaged in heartfelt emotions that ran the gamut from love to intense anger. To you, it may be perfectly natural to shout when you want to express your frustrations, etc.
Marriage problems can occur in one of several ways:
1- Both partners do not openly express their emotions.
2- Only one partner expresses their emotions, the other is sealed shut.
3- Both partners actively share their emotions.
The marriage problems begin when people become firmly entrenched in their method: one partner stays shut off while the other is angry all the time because he/she cannot get through to their partner. Or, both partners have actively shared their emotions—but they only know how to express themselves by yelling at one another.
Side Effects of Emotional Expression Forms
When emotions aren’t controlled properly, a side effect is the decay of intimacy. How can you feel close to someone who shouts when they’re angry, or never opens up?
And this loss of intimacy is keenly felt, which can lead to partners feeling a range of emotions that become difficult to let go of: indignation, self-pity, self-righteousness, intense anger, frustration—just to name a few.
It becomes more and more difficult to bridge the widening gap when emotions are not worked out and shared in a healthy manner.
The following 3 tips are to help you control emotional expression:
Tip 1: Make Regular Talk Time
One common marriage problem is that many couples get into a communication rut: they talk about mundane things such as household chores, but completely ignore the deeper talks they need as a couple to feel melded together.
Basically, you may have become lazy in your relationship, stuck in a pattern of shouting, silent treatments, or blatant disregard.
Schedule a regular time to talk, to explore what’s beneath the surface. Which leads me to the next tip…
Tip 2: Create a Safe Haven
Whether you have trouble expressing your feelings or no trouble whatsoever, ask yourself: have we created a safe space for both of us to express ourselves, free of contempt, defensiveness and anger?
Maybe your spouse won’t open up to you because he or she feels vulnerable due to your shouting when you’re angered by something. Or, you shout in order to feel you’re really being heard. It’s important that both you and your spouse feel that you can turn to one another and express your deepest emotions—and not be hurt by the other’s reaction, which leads to…
Tip 3: Set Ground Rules
If you and your spouse need to have a discussion in which you know it may become highly volatile, it’s best to have pre-established ground rules for these types of talks. It will be a habit to develop, to know when to step away. For example, if you feel yourself become more angry (giveaways include increased pulse rate, tension in your muscles), you would say, “I need to step away and cool down. I will let you know when I have myself within control again.”
This is not a method that should be abused, as a way to get out from under heavy discussions. Rather, it is a tool that is used as needed in order to keep those discussions on track, free of hostility and recriminations.
My best to you as you resolve your marriage problems and grow stronger together.