Sunday, May 18, 2008

Intellectualizing Emotions

My wife and I noticed something interesting about the way we sometimes interact. Tirah may, at times, not be feeling loved by me. And I can't understand why, because after-all, I'm still married to her aren't I? Tirah might even question me and ask: "Do you love me?" and I might respond with confusion and say, "Of course, I'll always love you." Both of us leave the interaction feeling unsatisfied.

So what's really going on here? Well, we discovered that I (and I'm assuming all men struggle with this) tend to intellectualize emotions. This is how my brain is built. For me it is a FACT that I'll always love my wife. But for Tirah, she doesn't want it to be about facts, she wants it to be about emotions. Her initial question could be rephrased: "Are you feeling in love with me?" My response could be (very honestly): "I hadn't really thought about it."

I think it's important for husbands and wives to recognize that we tend to think about love in very different ways: Men tend to think about love intellectually, while women tend to feel it emotionally. Understanding this can help us to avoid arguments, because we can be more understanding of what our partner thinks, feels, and needs.

I can learn to be more aware of how I feel, and express those emotions to Tirah. And I can also learn to say "I love you" more to her; because even though to me it might feel redundant, to Tirah it's good maintenance for our marriage.

And Tirah can learn to remember that I don't tend to think about my emotions as much as, or as thoroughly as she does. She can learn to remember that even though I might not say it or express it as often as she would like, I do still genuinely love her.

Learning to understand each other's native languages is an invaluable tool for maintaining love in marriage.

1 comment:

Enobong said...

Just received inspiration to study the subject of emotions in marriage. Your article served as a right appetizer.