“Happily married couples aren’t smarter, richer or more psychologically astute than others. But in their day to day lives, they have hit upon a dynamic that keeps their negative thoughts and feelings about each other (which all couples have) from overwhelming their positive ones. They have what I call on an Emotionally intelligent marriage.”
One of the first things I look at with couples is how to increase intimacy – not just sexually, but emotionally. You can begin to build intimacy or (as Dr. Gottman would say) an emotionally intelligent relationship with small steps. For example, before going to bed at night try thinking of ways to show your love to your partner the following day and how you can implement the thought. That may be as simple as sending an “I love you” text during the day or a cup of tea to wake your partner, or a single flower as you walk in the door. A warm hug and kiss before you leave the house without any agenda (no comments on expectations) helps to build trust that every hug does not have to lead to something more. Do this consistently for one week and see the change in your relationship.
One client told me, “I couldn’t believe how easy it was be to make my wife happy.” His wife simply needed to be held in arms with no agenda other than to feel loved, which allowed her in turn to show love because there was no pressure. Given a little time, this behavior will result in more sexual activity because it is a natural progression of tenderness and appreciation for the other. This creates a win win rather than a lose lose.
What are your ideas? What small actions can you take this week?