How To Become An Emotionally Intelligent Partner
Improving your relationship begins with a new way of thinking.
Do you ever feel like your relationship could improve?
Most of us regularly get into disagreements with our spouse over food, money, sex, and anything else that you could imagine. But more often than not, these disputes could be quickly resolved if we merely understood what our partner is thinking.
Right? Because when you’re able to approach a situation with an entirely new perspective, you’ll often find that you end up with a completely different outcome. Epictetus said it best:
“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”
I’ve discovered that when you enter an argument with your partner, it’s pointless trying to force your opinion on them. So a better solution is using empathy to understand their emotions and resolve the dispute by finding common ground.
Below are several actionable steps that you can take to become an emotionally intelligent partner. Each one of them enabled me to improve every single one of my relationships, and I hope they do the same for you, too.
Marcus Aurelius says, “Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?”
For the longest time, admitting my weaknesses was something that I used to find difficult. So instead of acknowledging that I was at fault, I tended to criticize other people for their insecurities in an attempt to make myself feel better.
But after a long period of self-reflection, I realized that I needed to understand the rationale behind my actions if I genuinely wanted to create a better life.
So I began going to psychology lectures, reading articles, and doing anything that I considered necessary to improve my way of thinking. Although I’m certainly not perfect, I’m now able to understand my thought process during arguments & other stressful situations.
If you want to develop self-awareness, take a moment to question your thoughts whenever you enter an argument, and why you feel a certain way. Because when you’re able to understand your mindset, it becomes easier to avoid saying anything impulsive that you may later regret.
Be Empathetic To Your Partner.
One of the biggest reasons arguments escalate out of control is due to a lack of understanding for the other person’s perspective. As an example, you could be mad at your partner for not wanting to be intimate, without even considering their reasoning as to why they feel that way.
So instead of trying to impose your point of view, I’ve discovered that a better solution is putting yourself in their shoes to understand the rationale behind your partner’s actions. For example:
- If your partner has financial problems, try to understand why they exist & work together to create a plan that results in them eventually being debt-free.
- If you get into an argument with your partner, take a moment to consider how they arrived at a particular conclusion, and where you can both find common ground.
- If your partner doesn’t want to be intimate, consider discussing the reasoning behind their feelings, and then do anything necessary to restore the passion between you.
Over the past few years, I’ve discovered that empathy is an incredible way to prevent arguments, understand my partner, and find common ground during times of dispute. In the words of Zeno: “The reason why we have two ears and only one mouth is so we might listen more and talk less.”
Embrace Feedback From Your Partner.
When you embrace (reasonable) criticism from your partner, it gives you an excellent opportunity to strengthen the relationship due to a mutual willingness to respect each other’s opinions.
For example, if they want to spend more time with you in the evenings, you could block out two hours every day solely for being with your partner after coming home from work.
I’ve discovered that instead of being defensive when receiving criticism, a better strategy is understanding someone’s thought process so I can improve my actions in the future. In the words of Seneca:
“You can tell the character of every man when you see how he gives and receives praise.”
Remember: Although you can’t control the actions of your partner, you can certainly use emotional intelligence to understand their perspective and resolve any argument which arises.