Want your partner to express emotion? When partners can’t express their emotions, it can erode the marriage.
Emotions give us important information that we can use to better understand our needs, priorities, and limits. We can use emotions to set boundaries and make decisions.
Without emotion in your marriage, this erodes trust, security, intimacy, and closeness, and it’s very painful if you’re on the receiving end of it.
If a partner is not sharing emotions like sadness, loss, or grief, the relationship doesn’t become a haven for dealing with the deeper issues that occur in marriage.
I regularly work with individuals and couples who struggle with emotions. One reason for this struggle is that individuals might have been taught that having and showing emotions is…
- a sign of weakness
- not being in control
- allowing the floodgates to open
- overwhelming and may never stop
- you’ll shut down and not be able to function
Consequently, people avoid, ignore, or push down their emotions.
A lot of this learned behaviour comes from childhood and not being able to share. When someone isn’t used to feeling their feelings, and they finally do, it can be overwhelming. It’s like taking the valve off a pressure cooker.
While emotions can be very powerful, they’re also temporary. They have a wave to them. They build up, and over time, they pass if you go through them without obstructing them.
Ultimately, navigating emotions healthfully is hard for many of us, and it can be frustrating and confusing when your partner isn’t attuned to their feelings and isn’t able to communicate them.
What can you do to help your partner express their emotions?
Invite your partner’s emotions.
People who don’t do emotions aren’t going to talk about emotions unless they’re invited too.
This might mean creating a regular routine where you and your partner sit down to discuss emotions. Creating a safe, supportive space for welcoming their feelings.
If your partner isn’t ready to share their feelings at that time, this might mean scheduling a time when they are.
Don’t judge your partner’s emotions.
It’s important for you not to judge and be accepting and open.
Part of creating a welcoming space for partners is not judging their feelings when they finally express them.
Pay attention to your own reactions.
Like judging your partner’s emotions, your reactions may shut down the conversation like be defensive, attacking, criticizing, trying to fix it, and many more.
If you find yourself getting defensive, angry, or upset, acknowledging it to your partner can help. For example, “I know I do these things when I get revved up. Let me know when you feel like I’m doing that.”
Other times, both of you may simply need a timeout.
Emotions aren’t a weakness or something to control. Rather, emotions provide us with valuable information about ourselves, our needs, priorities, and limits.
If you enjoyed this blog post about – “How to encourage your partner to express emotion” – please comment on my Facebook page.
Tune into to my Empowered Marriage Podcast to learn more. This fortnight’s podcast is available now and discusses this topic in more depth. Want your partner to express emotion – https://www.powerofchange.com.au/empowered-marriage-podcast/