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Emotional Intelligence for Couples: Part 3 Interpersonal

As part of our 5-part series on EQi for couples, today we turn our emotional intelligence focus to relationships, very specifically. 

1. Trust & Compassion

The first of today’s three scales is specifically our ability to create and keep healthy relationships. The Bar-On EQi tool defines this aspect of intelligence as being able to have “mutually satisfying relationships that are characterized by trust and compassion”. 

In order for this to happen we, as partners need to be able to be vulnerable. To trust and to be trusted. To care deeply how the other person is doing and learn to speak our partner’s love language to them. 

2. Empathy

The second of today’s three is empathy. This is a complicated skill. On the surface this sounds like a skill we all get. Caring about how someone else feels. It is more, much more. 

Empathy is layered. First I need to get past myself and how I am feeling. I need to be able to listen and hear well enough how my partner is feeling, what they are thinking, that I get past making assumptions about how one “should” be feeling or how we ourselves feel. 

This is a great example of interdependence in relationships. In deeply connecting, we discover our differences and places where we can offer love and understanding, regardless of whether we agree or feel the same. 

Empathy is not sympathy. Empathy can firmly hold on to a belief in the strength and ability of our partner while offering care, understanding and acknowledgement of how our partner is feeling and doing. 

We come along side, intimately, entering into the emotions of the other but not going down a dark hole with them. This is not about feeling sorry for them, but caring how they are doing because we genuinely care about them. Empathy is also about expressing this care. 

3. Social Responsibility

The third of our three today is “Social Responsibility”. This is broader than caring for our family - it is about being engaged in the community. This may look like activism, volunteerism, donating to important societal causes. 

How does this help us as couples? 

Bill (my husband) volunteered a day a week at a soup kitchen early on in our married life. When we put energy in to areas outside our own little world it is a reminder of what we have. It keeps us from getting too small-minded. It helps us be grateful for what we have. 

Some of the strongest couples I have met care for others. This of course has to be balanced with enough family time, etc. but is a great way to keep a healthy balance and keep us from being enmeshed and just all about ourselves. 

How can you improve your ability to be empathetic with your partner this week?

Where can you make a difference outside of your family? This can be done individually or something you do as a couple. 

Until next time, 

May your relationships be rich and satisfying! 

Marilyn Orr, The Luv Life Coach

Marilyn Orr, MA, CEC, PCC is a relationship coach with Luv Life Coaching, passionate about equipping couples with the tools for real and lasting intimacy.

Be proactive in your relationships so you can stay ahead of the problem! Learn how to listen better, handle conflict in productive ways and how to bring out the best in your partner. Grow your Luv Life skills today!

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