Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is a defining factor for any couple that will measure the overall success of the relationship. A certain level of Emotional Intelligence is required for a couple to stay connected and will determine the quality and longevity of the relationship.
We can always improve on our Emotional Intelligence by adopting certain goals and implementing approaches with our beloved. Here are five ways to increase the emotional intelligence in your relationship.
1.Strive to Be the Best Listener
One of my favourite mottos is “seek to understand, not to defend.” A conflict can escalate if one person is not feeling heard. In the first three seconds of a conflict, you can tell if it will escalate. Heart rates raise up to one hundred beats per minute and at this point no one is listening but instead thinking about what they are going to say next. Being a good listener means carving out time and space for your partner to express how they are feeling and letting them know they have your attention by giving them the stage whilst they talk.
2.Avoid Being judgemental
To protect the relationship a couple needs to understand the importance of reigning in judgement. Judgement in a relationship is very damaging and will have a detrimental effect on the level of emotional safety in the relationship. You will never agree on everything and that is ok. Instead of judging your partner it is more beneficial to show curiosity and try to understand why they think or behave in a certain way. Emotional intelligence means parking you’r judgement and instead asking questions.
3.Don’t Give Unsolicited Advice
There is nothing worse than coming home from work and expressing how you feel about some workplace difficulty to have your partner go into advice giving mode. Often this is a gender pattern (not always) as men have been groomed (it’s not their fault) over the ages to be the problem solvers and fixers. The desired response would be to show empathy and validate your partner with a response like “that is rough”, or asking them “what do you think you need to do that will feel better”. Giving unsolicited advice sends a message to your partner that they are not capable of working the problem out themselves when instead all they want is validation.
4. Don’t Avoid Conflict
Many couples experience gridlocked conflict, a term that explains the same issue but slightly different each time. There may be a tendency for that couple to begin avoiding conflict around this topic based on unsuccessful past attempts at resolving it. There also may be a natural tendency to avoid conflict altogether based on patterns stemming from one’s family of origin. Conflict avoidance is worse than no conflict at all and evades trust in the relationship. Sweeping conflict under the rug is one of the worst things a couple can do and reflects deficits in emotional intelligence.
5. Each Partner Does Their Own Individual Work.
To show up as the best person in the relationship it is important to be the best version of yourself. Getting individual therapy to iron out any inherited maladaptive coping mechanisms, process any traumas and unpacking any problematic dynamics it is important to get professional help. Clearing out the baggage gives the relationship a good chance to improve the emotional connection and stability. Getting professional advice in all areas of your life is essential for fulfilling your potential, emotional help included.
There are several strategies and formulas I use with my couples to improve the emotional intelligence within the relationship. I have adapted the Gottman, Imago and Stan Tatkin models of couple therapy as I believe all three offer beneficial ways to improve the EQ in one’s relationship.
If you would like to make an appointment for couple counselling, please get in touch.