One of my passions is to educate people on how to move their bodies more. However, I also have the passion of inspiring marriages to move from surviving to thriving.
Let me tell you a little about how this passion was fostered.
When I was a junior in high school, I started to date my husband, Micheal. Our senior class voted that Michael and I were the most likely to get married. After dating through high school, college, a shocking break-up, and a difficult reconciliation, that is exactly what we did—we got married!
One of the most pivotal aspects of our relationship was pre-marital mentoring/counseling. We always said that at some point, we would invest in marriages just like the couple who invested in our future marriage. Michael & I believe that time is NOW! While I am the voice of marriage on my blog and on social media, it is really the voice of both of us as we strive to inspire marriages.
To get started on inspiring thriving marriage, lets talk about how well you know your spouse.
At a recent date night we attended, couples were challenged to look at how well we know our spouse and how well we meet their emotional needs. In our marriage, Michael and I know each other really well because we have been in each other’s lives since we were in 4th grade. Being classmates, growing up together, living in a small town, and going to college together has a way of naturally doing this in a relationship.
However, when we talk about how we are meeting the emotional needs of each other, there is an obvious need for improvement.
We learned there are 4 types of ways we associate with the emotional needs of our spouse.
Sympathizer – Individual leads with their heart. Sometimes their heart is wrong though and they believe things about how their spouse feels that aren’t really true.
Personalizer – Often disengaged. They shut down. A past hurt creates fear a fear that they may get hurt again. They risking being vulnerable.
Analyzer – Lead with their head more than their heart. They want to fix things.
Empathizer – Person knows how to walk in their spouse’s shoes. They have the ability to understand and share the feelings of another (empathy).
In our marriage, we are both analyzers, however sometimes I have the tendencies of sympathizer and emphathizer. This is normal as you can move in and out of a type depending upon the day, your mood, and the situation. Because we both tend to be analyzers, when problems arise (which they do), neither of us really spends the time to truly listen to each other, to understand or look at what is really going on in the situation (mind, body, and spirit). Instead, we just jump to wanting to fix things for each other. Empathy is not a strong characteristic in either of us.
One way to work on truly listening to your spouse and empathizing with them is to have one spouse spend 5 minutes communicating their desires/problems, then the other spouse takes 3 minutes to rephrase what their spouse said (without interjecting questions or additional comments). This is followed by the first spouse clarifying for 1 minute anything their spouse misunderstood when they repeated back.
Find 15 minutes this week with your spouse and identify which way you deal with your spouse’s emotional needs and how you can both work toward having more empathy towards one another.