Exploring your emotions is challenging enough, but revealing them to a partner can be extremely overwhelming. But sharing your feelings is critical for a healthy marriage to build intimacy and trust. The more vulnerable you are, the more connected and close you will feel to your spouse. Our marriage therapist in Winter Park recommends these ways to express emotion in your marriage:
It is helpful to identify your feelings before sharing them with your spouse. If you are not clear about your emotions, your partner may not understand your feelings. Instead, explore your senses through journaling, heartfelt conversations with a close family member or friend, or counseling with a therapist or coach. If you still do not find emotional clarity, try communicating this to your spouse. Tell them you have mixed feelings so they can relate to your confusion.
It can be tough to express emotions thoughtfully when you are anxious. So before embarking on emotional discussions, practice deep breathing. Calming your body and mind helps you explain your feelings intentionally and improves the odds of your spouse being open to what you say. In addition, any relaxation technique will help with perspective and emotional balance on how and what to share with your spouse.
You do not need to share every feeling in your marriage. For example, you might feel annoyed with your spouse, but when you examine this feeling, you realize that your aggravation may come from a stressful work project or lack of sleep. You can manage these emotions independently and avoid stressing your spouse with everything about them that bothers you, especially if they have no power to change it.
Consider reasoning if you want to express emotion in your marriage. Ask yourself why these emotions matter, whether you need your spouse’s help with them, and if discussing them will strengthen your bond. It helps to know why you want your spouse to understand these feelings. Consider whether the feelings are about your spouse, if you need them to change something, if you just want them to listen to your concerns, or if you want to tell them so they can help you find a solution.
Before going into a profound explanation of your feelings, consider asking your spouse if it is a good time to talk about your feelings. If the time is not right, find out when will be a better time and plan on talking then. Your emotional and mental state is crucial to meaningful discussions, and so is your spouse's.
When a sentence begins with ‘I feel,’ the next word should be a feeling, like ‘I feel misunderstood,’ ‘I feel frustrated,’ or ‘I feel irritated.’ Be sure to explore your feelings to best articulate your emotions. You are likely expressing something else if your third word is not an emotion, like a criticism, judgment, opinion, or thought. Accepting feedback is also crucial. Ask your spouse if what you are saying makes sense and what they feel or think about it.
Use these tips for expressing emotions in your marriage. Consider seeing a marriage therapist in Winter Park if you cannot express emotion safely. We are here to help. Call us today to learn how we can help you communicate better.
Heather Oller is a licensed Orlando therapist at Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching & Counseling who specializes in counseling Orlando couples, individuals, and families who are seeking changes in their lives. She has been a mental health professional for over 17 years and is a practicing Orlando counselor that specializes in conflict resolution for couples. You can contact her for an appointment or call 407-592-8997 for more information.