E.I: Emotional Intelligence (it’s not the next Spielberg pic, it’s better!)
I read somewhere that there comes a point in your life where you realize who matters, who never did, who won’t anymore, and who always will. Don’t worry about people from the past, because there’s a reason that they didn’t make it into your future.
When I read this, it put things in perspective for me in terms of my relationships and how much energy and emphasis I wanted to put in them.
I am fully aware that most people are interested in how they can improve on their relationships with others, specifically their beloved, as well as how they’ll find the one, how they’ll meet the one, or how they’ll keep the one.
But I know completely, as I’m sitting here typing these words, that none of the above means a thing unless we focus on building that relationship with ourselves. If we go forward to the next step without ever experiencing this part – this very vital part – then we’re missing this opportunity. The necessity of building our foundation that will bear the weight of our life long interactions with others will still be there.
You have a whole series of life experiences that have shaped you. In part, you are a sum of your past. You carry a lot of things, like how you give love, how you receive love, what hurt you hold in your heart, what baggage you’ve claimed from past relationships or love, and what movies are in your head (I’ll get to the “movies-in-your-head” in a bit).
I want to write (as much as you want to read) about improving your relationship with your significant other, but I will always return back to the relationship you have with yourself, because without that, like I said, we won’t get our desired outcome.
The first idea I would like to broach is called, “Emotionally Intelligent Marriages.” For those of you who are not married, feel free to substitute “relationships”. But for the purpose of this post, there are three key words, emotional, intelligent and marriage.
To be emotionally intelligent is to know each other’s worlds in great detail, starting from their childhood to their current experiences. It means you know their history even before you were in the picture; what their life was like, the people that were in their lives (possibly even ex’s too) – you learn what shaped them into the people they are today – into the person that you love. Through emotional intelligence you express and grow fondness for one another, which is communicated through daily actions – you know their hopes, their dreams, their aspirations, and you encourage them to succeed in them.
You know all of the relevant information about your partner’s life. You know each other’s feelings about your bosses. In fact, if you were to visit your wife at the office, you would know how to get to the elevator from her office, and you would know that your husband doesn’t want to be like his father, because he’s a free spirit.
The opposite of the Emotionally Intelligent Couple is the Disengaged Couple; when he’s stressed or acting odd, you have no idea why, and you take it personally. Without being emotionally intelligent, you can’t really know your spouse. And in knowledge, there is strength.
Pop Quiz… Take a guess…
Q: What do you think is the major cause of marital dissatisfaction and divorce?
… Think about it…
A: It’s the birth of their first child.
I’m not making this up. Here are some statistics for you; sixty-seven percent of couples in a newlywed study underwent a precipitous drop in marital satisfaction AFTER the firstborn. Thirty-three percent did not experience this drop, and in fact, half of the 33% had their marriages improve.
Q: What do you think separated these two groups?
A: They were emotionally intelligent in their marriage.
These couples already had a habit of keeping up-to-date with their lives. They had a strong foundation. They knew what the trigger points were. They knew what bothered each other.
When there was an outside stress, in this specific case, the birth of a new child, which (yes, is a blessing and it’s amazing) is actually pretty scary. Especially if you’ve never held a little seven or eight-pound anything, which needs to be bathed, fed and clothed, but doesn’t speak yet, so you don’t understand what it is they want when they’re crying endlessly; after you’ve done everything you can think of, for hours, driving around in your car at 3am to calm them… you get the picture. It can add that stress.
For the couples that were emotionally intelligent, they already knew their reactions to things. They knew when they were stressed, they knew why, and they knew how to support each other. For these couples, the child was a great connection, like the filament in a light bulb, connecting the nodes and creating a bright glow of energy. As for the couples that never had that connection, it kind of shook everything up… they experienced a short circuit.
Bearing this new information in mind, let’s start creating more emotionally intelligent relationships.
1. We all have a story to tell. Tonight, when you sit down for dinner with your loved one, share a story about your past that you have never spoken of before. With all the details that support it – feelings of shame or hurt etc.
2. Ask your partner to tell you a story about their past.
3. And then see where those little revelations take you. You may be wonderfully surprised.