Oftentimes, when I have couples come into my office, one of the individuals (and it’s usually the woman) is just going and going and talking about all of these emotions! She’s saying, “I feel crazy, and I don’t know why. And he really pushes me this way and that way . . .” Meanwhile, he’s sitting there looking cool and calm, like he’s got it all together and everything’s good.
Well, on the surface, it may seem that way. But underneath, I know it’s often different; often, the crazier one is actually the healthier one, because they’re the one expressing the emotions.
We each have feelings that come and go.
When we’re in a relationship, we are connected to each other emotionally. So, if we have emotions that come and we put a lid on them, we just hold that emotion down. And that emotion doesn’t come back up; instead, it transfers to your spouse.
That’s why oftentimes the cool and collected one really is the one that has the most stirred up emotion.
Don’t get me wrong; it’s good to be calm and hold in some emotions in certain situations. But, if the accountability and awareness is not there, it can also destroy a relationship over time.
How to Handle Emotions
The hope is to find healthy ways to express emotions. If you’re feeling like you or your spouse is going crazy, take a new look. Communication really is a two-way street.
- Say the emotions and causes out loud. Explain what you feel. If you can figure out why you feel that way, explain that as well. Be careful to avoid gossiping or accusing; gossiping never helps anyone feel better, and accusations lead to arguments.
- Do some exercise. Try letting out the emotions by using productive energy.
- Fix it. Do something about whatever’s causing the emotions. This action isn’t appropriate for every situation; sometimes, expressing anger or another negative emotion is dangerous. However, if you can use the emotion to maturely present a problem, it may be worth it.
Remember, feelings and emotions are natural and valid. Sometimes they’re not logical, and sometimes they lead us to irrational actions. But the feelings and emotions themselves are normal!
Always check your intentions behind your decisions to hide or express emotion. If you’re hiding an emotion, are you not in a good environment or mental state to share it? When you’re expressing an emotion, are you doing it with the intent to fix something that’s wrong or let it out appropriately so you can move on?
If you’re ever hiding or expressing an emotion with the intent to hurt someone, stop it right there. Expressing emotions is a powerful tool in a relationship. Don’t abuse it.
Rodney Limb has always enjoyed listening to people and helping them work out problems and struggles. As a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and a Nationally Licensed Hypnotherapist for over 20 years, he has helped hundreds of couples create a happy and thriving marriage out of disaster. He also provides counseling for anxiety, depression, stress, PTSD and overcoming various behavioral addictions.
A Deeper Look into Spiritual Truths
“Many falsely suppose that the feelings, which God has implanted in us as natural, proceed only from a defect. Accordingly the perfecting of believers does not depend on their casting off all feelings, but on their yielding to them and controlling them, only for proper reason.” — John Calvin