You wake up one day and are older, wiser, and different. You desire new goals, experiences, and surroundings. When you roll over and see your “other half” beside you, you notice they have changed too. They may physically resemble the person you fell in love with years ago, but emotionally - you do not even recognize them anymore.
So, how do you find your way back to each other?
Here are three examples of how emotional intelligence can help you and your partner grow together unconditionally.
It takes the combativeness out of communication.
The #1 reason for conflict is an emotional response to feeling threatened. When couples learn to communicate with empathy versus "pointing the finger,” both individuals remain on the same playing field as one team.
Instead of saying, “You have absolutely no regard for my feelings!” Reframe your words to say, “When you left me at the kid's game by myself to go do your own thing, it made me feel discarded and unwanted.”
This approach uses facts to describe how the scenario made you feel without projecting blame onto your partner.
It is equally important to become self-aware of your emotions and what caused them. We often look to our partners for external validation and love when all we need is validation and love for ourselves.
It allows space for problem-solving.
Once you take the combativeness out of communication, it creates space for you and your partner to listen to one another on a deeper level. As you both feel heard, it creates a mutual understanding. Once you have a mutual understanding, you can work together on a solution without compromising each other’s needs.
For Example: Your partner may reply to you with, “Oh, that was not my intention. It was calling for rain, so I wanted to clean up the outdoors.” You reply, “I understand. I have wanted to spend more time with you. Let’s get a sitter for this weekend!”
If your partner responds in agreement, this solution instills the connection and togetherness you both are craving, fulfilling the needs of your partnership.
If your partner responds with hesitation or uncertainty, they may be under a lot of pressure or going through a difficult situation. Take time to understand why your partner feels disconnected, so you can help support them. Remember, this has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.
If your partner has shut down all communication, give them space, and allow them to approach you when they are ready. If they go about their day and act as if nothing happened, wait 24 hours to ask an open-ended question like, “How do you feel since our discussion yesterday?” This allows your partner time to process their feelings, giving them more willing to communicate.
It ignites healthy boundaries for one another.
Once you understand each other’s needs, it allows you to create and reinforce boundaries together as one team. Healthy boundaries do not require you to compromise your own needs nor your partner theirs. Boundaries act as checkpoints to ensure you both are valued, respected, and nourished when times get rocky through the ebb and flow of life.
You notice that your partner is stressed and overwhelmed at work. Under this new insight, you may offer to help them with yard work (or hire it out) to balance the household workload.
Or, you may decide that you require space to express your emotions when feeling angry. After taking time to self-regulate through your triggers, you reunite and communicate together in a non-combative way.
These methods reinforce healthy boundaries to minimize the projection of anger, sadness, or shame onto one another. They prove you are both willing to honor and support each other’s needs, which magnetizes trust in your partnership.
At last! The morning comes, when you wake up, roll over, and see the person you fell in love with right beside you. They are different, and you are different – because you have both grown. You now realize their happiness is your happiness, and their well-being is your well-being.
You notice they aren’t your “other half,” as society portrays. Instead, you are whole, and they are whole as you come together each day to compliment and support one another in your shared dreams, forever expanding and growing — together.