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Does Marriage Satisfy Our Emotional Needs?

Discussion in 'Wednesdays with Varalotti' started by varalotti, Sep 5, 2006.

  1. cheer

    cheer Silver IL'ite

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    Interesting Article

    I read this article find interested, like to share with u ladies.

    When it comes to making our feelings known, each of us can learn a lot from babies. Infants are born with the innate emotions of anger, sadness, disgust, joy and fear. These heartfelt emotions hold the key to a lifetime’s worth of effective communication in the language of love.
    <!-- InstanceEndEditable -->Finding What Works Best, we outlined how to manage stress in love relationships—a prerequisite for experiencing intense emotions in yourself and tolerating strong feelings in your partner. The language of love is not based on words, but rather the emotions we feel and convey through nonverbal communication. Without the ability to communicate emotion, there can be no truthful connection in our love relationships.
    Becoming heart smart: why do we need emotional intelligence to speak the language of love?

    Infants are a bundle of emotions — intensely experiencing fear, anger, sadness and joy within the first eight weeks of life. Emotion is the glue that binds us in our first love relationship, laying the foundation for all verbal and nonverbal communication in future love relationships. Being in tune with our emotions and their correlating physical feelings :
    • allows us to choose satisfying, meaningful relationships
    • helps us understand our loved ones
    • enables us understand ourselves
    • empowers our communication process
    <TABLE class=MsoNormalTable style="WIDTH: 100%; mso-cellspacing: 1.5pt" cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TR style="mso-yfti-irow: 0; mso-yfti-lastrow: yes"><TD style="BORDER-RIGHT: #e0e0e0; PADDING-RIGHT: 0.75pt; BORDER-TOP: #e0e0e0; PADDING-LEFT: 0.75pt; PADDING-BOTTOM: 0.75pt; BORDER-LEFT: #e0e0e0; PADDING-TOP: 0.75pt; BORDER-BOTTOM: #e0e0e0; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent">Quiz: How can I tell if I am emotionally intelligent?
    Becoming aware of our emotional experiences and communicating them effectively is what renders us emotionally intelligent in a love relationship. Take the following quiz to determine how comfortable you are with your passionate emotions.
    • Do you experience feeling that flows – encountering one emotion after another, as our experiences change from moment to moment?
    • Are your emotions in touch with bodily sensations – based on “felt experience” that derives from visceral sensations?
    • Do you experience discreet feelings – emotions such as anger, sadness, fear, joy -- each of which are evident in subtle facial expressions?
    • Can you experience intense feelings – strong enough to capture both your attention and that of others?
    • Do you pay attention to your emotions – do they factor into decision-making?
    If these experiences are out of range, your emotions may be turned down or turned off.



    What signs point to a need for greater emotional awareness?

    Consider the emotional response of the following individuals in love relationships:
    • Bernie is a kind, steady and dependable man whose emotional flatness inspired the nickname “Mr. Spock.” He can warm to his work, but not the love relationship with his wife. His mood remains at a plateau — nothing is too exciting, nothing is worth arguing about. When Bernie’s wife inevitably filed for divorce, it came as a surprise.
    • Ronda works hard at being a good wife. Attractive, caring and hard working, she takes everything seriously, seldom complaining or criticizing. But her lack of spontaneity, humor and playfulness is taking a toll on her marriage, with her husband contemplating romantic involvements with other women.
    • People admire Ben for his kindness and generosity. Only his family knows of his extremely short fuse. After an unprovoked verbal outburst, Ben is predictably apologetic. When people tell Ben’s wife how lucky she is to have such a wonderful husband, she bites her lip, aware of how she and her children suffer in their love relationship with Ben.
    Like misfiring pistons, each of these people are incapable of connecting with the strong emotions needed for compelling communication. None experience visceral emotions that:
    • flow throughout the day – changing from sadness to happiness, from anger to joy in proportion to their given situation
    • are aware of deeply felt needs – related to mental and physical health
    • positively attract and hold the interest of others – powerfully communicating personal and interpersonal needs
    In order to improve, or possibly to save their relationships, Bernie, Ronda and Ben need to “get in touch” with their emotions. Setting aside those feelings they are uncomfortable with has exacted a toll. Each needs to recognize the difference between basic visceral emotions and the emotional coping strategies they employ to avoid, minimize, or attempt to manage the feelings they learned to quell long ago.
    How does emotional communication in infancy shape emotional intelligence in an adult love relationship?

    An infant is completely dependent on nonverbal emotional means to communicate, and thus satisfy its needs. This nonverbal, nonintellectual sensory experience is the life-sustaining heart and soul of our first love relationship, and it continues to play a vital role in all our love relationships.
    Verbal skills begin to surface after the second year, but the new means of communication doesn't render nonverbal communication skills obsolete. To the contrary, the template for communication in love relationships remains emotionally based.
    Nonverbal communication continues to affect our:
    • trust in others – belief that others will respond to our needs
    • sense of self – brought into focus by dyadic emotional exchanges
    • self image – selfconfidence bolstered by the ability to communicate emotional needs
    • relation to the environment – belief that the world is supportive and friendly
    • distinguishing self from non-self – brought into perspective by success of dyadic emotional communication
    • empathy – able to comprehend the emotional experience of others
    • moral development – recognizing that other people’s feelings matter, too
    <!-- InstanceEndEditable --><!-- InstanceBeginEditable name="RateIt" --><!-- #BeginLibraryItem "/library/rate_it.lbi" -->
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2006
  2. meenu

    meenu Bronze IL'ite

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    seemingly easy but difficult to pen

    Dear varlotti,
    I have read your write up and am still wondering what to write.In arranged marriages generally the girls are advised to adjust to the husband and if in a joint family to the in-laws. That means in simple words that compromises should be made which in turn implies that head should rule the heart.When the head takes over the emotions take secondary place. The five years you mentioned goes thus.After that if babies have also come then the resposibilities start. Although seemingly indifferent I find most men attached to their children and wife and it is this attachment that slowly makes the girl accept her husband's family as hers and slowly she gets attached to the various members. This goes on till the kids grow up. While young the new wife depends mostly on her husband for advise but once children start growing she blossoms into a very strong individual taking instant decisions for the children and to an extent the husband and family. As they grow olderthe roles are reversed and the men and in many cases the old in laws become very dependent on the dil. She in turn holds the family with her emotional bondings which grow stronger as years pass by.
    Regards,
     
  3. cheer

    cheer Silver IL'ite

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    Why does our culture tend to dismiss emotional awareness?

    In spite of the pivotal role emotion continues to play in love relationships, many people lose touch with such emotions. This isn't surprising in a culture that views emotion as problematic.
    • For centuries, cultural and religious institutions denigrated emotion. People were encouraged to think, rather than feel. Though this disregard for emotion has evolved in accordance with our understanding of brain function, preference for thought over feeling prevails as the cultural norm.
    • Many people look to control their emotions, rather than experience them. Painful and confusing emotional communication in infancy and early childhood oftentimes leads us to substitute less offensive, more intellectual secondary emotions in love relationships.
    Uncomfortably numb? How do we go from experiencing sadness, anger, fear and joy to an emotionally barren existence?
    What choices limit emotional intelligence?

    As we mature, so does the ability to distance ourselves from raw emotion – a desirable, and sometimes necessary end for those whose emotional experience is frightening, painful or confusing. With the abilities to speak, plan and fantasize come intellectual control. Intention provides us with the means to displace, distort and stifle emotions if our first love relationships failed to set in place the desired nonverbal communication skills.
    To cope with unregulated emotion, secondary responses are developed that include:

    • distracting ourselves – with obsessive thoughts and behaviors that elicit controllable emotions. We may fabricate an elaborate fantasy life that distracts us from feeling frighteningly alone. Or, we may engage in distracting compulsive and addictive behaviors to absorb our attention.
    • sticking with an emotion that is bearable and unwavering – consistently angry or constantly clowning may seem emotionally intense, but such feelings are typically “out of sync” with reality. Someone who is always kidding around may be covering up feelings of fear or insecurity; someone who is always angry or sarcastic may be deeply hurting beneath the hostile front.
    • shutting down or shutting out intense emotions – depressed or diminished effect in response to overwhelming feelings of isolation or fear. Physical and sexual abuse can trigger an extreme state of emotional dissociation. People with overwhelming feelings of anger or sadness may cope by numbing themselves emotionally.
    The price to pay for such counterproductive practices includes:
    • shutting down positive emotional experience – we cannot eliminate experiences of anger or sadness without also eliminating joy.
    • an unhealthy mindset – it takes an enormous amount of energy to cut off authentic emotional experience, leaving us stressed and devoid of the energy needed to live an authentic life.
    • withdrawing from ourselves and the world – primary emotion is our best means for successful social contact. It informs us about our needs and the needs of others.
    How do I know if I need to develop my emotional intelligence?

    Ask yourself the following:
    • Do I routinely experience a variety of emotions, including anger sadness, fear and joy?
    • Do I accept all of my feelings? Do I allow myself to be angry, sad or fearful?
    • Do I use my emotions as part of my decision-making process?
    • Do I feel comfortable with strong feelings in my partner?
    • Do my emotions inform my communication with loved ones, or am I “in my own head” contemplating rather than experiencing feelings and sensations most of the time?
    If you answered “yes” to the questions above, you may want to skip Article 5 – a thorough self-help guide for regaining emotional awareness.
    The processes in Article 5, Learning to Take Control of Intense Emotions: A Therapeutic Process, help rebuild your ability to experience and express the strong emotions that secure a vital and exciting love relationship. Articles 1-8 can be read independently but the articles progressively build knowledge and skills.
     
  4. cheer

    cheer Silver IL'ite

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    Sorry little bit long

    References and resources for passionate feelings and emotions in marriage and other intimate relationships

    The Effects of Early Relational Trauma on Right Brain Development, Affect Regulation, and Infant Mental Health – Suggests direct connections between traumatic attachment, inefficient right brain regulatory functions, and both maladaptive infant and adult mental health. (Allan N. Schore, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place><st1:placeType>University</st1:placeType> of <st1:placeName>California</st1:placeName></st1:place> at <st1:place><st1:placeName>Los Angeles</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType>School</st1:placeType></st1:place> of Medicine)
    The Effects of a Secure Attachment Relationship on Right Brain Development, Affect Regulation, and Infant Mental Health – Describes the neurobiology of a secure attachment, and development of the right brain suggesting that normal right brain development is connected to adaptive mental health. (Allan N. Schore, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, <st1:place><st1:placeType>University</st1:placeType> of <st1:placeName>California</st1:placeName></st1:place> at <st1:place><st1:placeName>Los Angeles</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType>School</st1:placeType></st1:place> of Medicine)
    Love – A lengthy article, but easy-to-read and understand, provides a very comprehensive explanation of the subject of love and attachment. (Psychology Today, Mar/Apr 94)
    <!-- #BeginLibraryItem "/library/REL TOC.lbi" -->Series contents: Relationship Help: Communication Skills to Find and Keep a Healthy Exciting Love Relationship

    Part One: Basic Communication Skills for Keeping Love Alive
    Part Two: Communication Skills to Solve Love Relationship Problems and Manage Conflict
    <!-- #EndLibraryItem -->This article is part of a series by Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., who is also the author of three books on mental and emotional health. Her latest book, Raising Your Emotional Intelligence, was published in thirteen languages. Jaelline Jaffe, Ph.D. and Gina Kemp M.A. also contributed to this article. Last modified on: <st1:date Month="7" Day="19" Year="2006">7/19/06</st1:date>.
     
  5. purnima_2k

    purnima_2k Senior IL'ite

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    Well said!

    I loved the writeup of mrsc CV and Meenu.A good to read for ppl like me who have just started on with life! Meenu, yours was simple with a lot of truth, knowing very well, how much you have been adjusting with inlaws and staying in a joint family! applaud applaud! :)


    Purni
     
  6. meenu

    meenu Bronze IL'ite

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    Can I Appreciate?

    Dear Chith,
    I hope I can answer here or is it Varlottis prerogative?It is hiscolumn, no?I liked both yourposts , THesecond a shade better.Do you mean to say all the compromisehasto be done by the wife to keep peace at home?I guess being women we look at marriage from ourpoint of view.I totally agree that hundred percent emotional satisfaction is not possibleas in marriage we share and compromise. I do believe in the institution of marriage and marriages can work out well on the basis of solving problems or nipping the differences of opinion early by togetherness of spouses. This any way means that head should rule the heart? isn'that so, chith?
    Regards
     
  7. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Now I feel like a novice!

    Dear All,

    After being married to a wonderful woman for the past 22 plus years, I now feel like a novice after listening to your beautiful comments. And thanks Chitra for your detailed views which will be an eye-opener for many newly married couples and I am sure it will save many marriages.

    Correct me if I am wrong. The consensus seems to be that marriage does not satisfy our emotional needs, at least not fully. In our youthful years we are busy in our own way. As Vandhana pointed out may be in the golden years it does satisfy our needs. That is very poignantly true.

    One of my acquaintances lost his wife when he was 60 plus. My God, you should have seen that man crying over his wife's body. At one time he refused to let anyone take away his wife's body. That death appeared cruel, in fact much more cruel than losing ones spouse in the prime of youth.

    That is because it is only at that time that we (at least most of us) realise that we have nobody in the world except our spouses.

    Needing a spouse during one's golden years is well understood. But the problem is during 30s and 40s.

    Many spouses do not simply spend time together. But they are so used to one another that they cannot bear the other one going away. I know a couple who never talked to each other though they lived under the same roof. Suddenly the man, in his late forties, fell in love with another woman and sought divorce from his wife. The wife was devastated. It is very easy to mistake this as love. But it is not love. It is just getting used to something.

    You get the same feeling when the same chair you have been using for 20 years gets broken. When you change your car you definitely miss your old car. This is beautifully captured by a rare Tamil proverb, "pahaiyum pirivinnathe" You will even get used to an enemy and when he goes away you may feel sad.

    When I raised the question "Does marriage satisfy our emotional needs?", I did not want to undermine marriage as an institution. It is still the best form of man-woman relationship. I just want you to understand its limitations.

    One way to supplement the institution is to have friends who to some extent can give emotional support. Of course in this discussion I want to confine only to same sex friends. Different-sex friends are a separate story. Lets devote another Wednesday for that.

    Pardon me for saying this, but few women have well-meaning friends. They have acquaintances, colleagues, neighbours and relatives but not friends. Friends are people to whom you can say anything - from a tiff with your spouse to your problems in the bed, virtually anything.

    Men are not very different either. They have their drinking buddies, classmates, glassmates, clubmates, colleagues but not real friends.

    Having good friends will to some extent quench your emotional needs.

    And it is good for couples to engage in some common activity. It could be gardening, having a small business at home, a donation drive for your local temple or just a game of cards or chess. And you would have something to share and talk about other than family worries.

    One basic feature of marriage that prevents it from satisfying our emotional needs is that the husband and wife are in different stages of development - emotionally, socially, intellectually and spiritually. Assume a case where I want to discuss the nuances of Brahma Sutra Bhashya and my wife wants to discuss the story line of Ek Ladki Anjane se - well, if we sit to talk, it will end up in a civil war. But one should work hard to identify common grounds where both will be approximately in the same stage of development.

    My friend is an ardent reader of philosophy; but his wife is a devoted cook and an excellent homemaker. These people do not see eye to eye on many matters.

    Naturally my friend confides everything in another friend who is also a lover of philosophy. Whereas his wife has her own club-mates with whom she discusses her matters of interest.
    But the time the couples talk has dwindled to a bare minimum. And the talks are confined to absolute necessities.
    This is a warning signal.
    I place these thoughts for your consideration.
    I know this is a very potent topic and we may extend discussion on this topic for one more week before taking up something else.

    regards,
    Varalotti
     
  8. meenaprakash

    meenaprakash Silver IL'ite

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    A Big No Is What I Would Say!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Hello Sridhar,
    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->
    A fantastic topic but I wonder if anyone has experienced it ever – the so-called emotional needs getting satisfied. Emotional needs are constant. It’s not something we can prescribe it as once a week, once a month or once in the morning & night. It can arise anytime & the need is different for different persons.
    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->
    We, humans are such complex creatures that it’s so difficult to understand our own need sometimes, so how can we expect it from another person????
    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->
    Marriage gives you an identity, makes a few richer by way of dowry, gets a status for some, hey, we can get chubby, chweety, cutey babies; loads of house-work, sex, responsibilities (unwanted sometimes), BUT Emotional needs ????????? – you must be joking, Sridhar.
    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->
    Each one of us are so different with different kind of needs. It takes a matured mind to understand others emotions & I would say, a man is mature enough to tackle such needs only after 40 years of age - he kind of settles in his professional life & above all, his physical needs also mellows down & he actually turns romantic & his way of looking at life and wife changes , by then. But in India, he’s crossed all the important phases of his life by then, with or without involving himself emotionally. By then, the woman stops expecting anything from the man & becomes numb and completely starts depending on the children. Very rarely, some of them, do change around that time & start concentrating on the family OR they just spend time with friends yapping in a club. You can’t get it after years of marriage. IT IS EITHER THERE FOR EVERYONE TO SEE OR IT ISN’T. Still our marriages are a success because of the woman. Its her adjustment & knack of avoiding problems that has facilitated a smooth ride till now. Or sometimes, it’s the social pressures that forces women to be tied to marriage.
    But the future doesn’t look bright. With both the sexes competing & working like machines, where is the time for emotional shows.
    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->
    Sometimes I feel we shld stop preaching about what to look for & what not in a marriage. The present generation has seen all and they are smart & intelligent to decide their life (there are exceptions, I agree). For those who look at it thru rose-colored glasses & think it’s a bed of roses, its hell in reality.
    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->
    Maybe it’s this emotional need that’s breaking up marriages these days –
    Maybe that’s why a lot of marriages end in divorces. Maybe a lot of them are going by the saying; every break up brings you one step closer to the one you are supposed to be with. In that case, how many break-ups would be required to get a spouse who’ll satisfy our emotional need????
    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->
    Its definitely not something we shld look for in a marriage – most of the time the emotional needs are satisfied by the Mothers (who are the pillars of strength for every girl). How much time do the man & wife get to spend for themselves in a joint family?? Even if nuclear, atleast the first few years which is supposed to be the crucial period is spent only in knowing people around, learning about the new environment, etc. Even before life is experienced fully, we have kid/s who take all our attention.
    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->
    I would finish by asking, what kinds of needs are emotional??? It’s very difficult to draw a clear line & call some as emotional & others non-emotional etc. If we try to dissect our needs then life becomes miserable – its better we don’t & continue as simple creatures & not make ourselves look/seem complex for our spouse to understand.
     
  9. sudhavnarasimhan

    sudhavnarasimhan Silver IL'ite

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    Very , very interesting topic and lively discussion!
    Well Sridhar, all said and done you are again only one on your side and we are so many....and all the ladies seem to agree that compromises work fine, and we do it all the time for the survival of this institution etc....but what with the MEN? Do you also agree that men do compromise and are okay with this situation and carry on unemotionally inspite of their emotional needs not being fulfilled?
    Also one more Important question....Do Men Have emotional needs at all....okay you have quoted aan eg where u want to discuss something and ur wife something else...so WHY cant u people compromise and discuss what ur wife wants u to do, maybe listen patiently and then maybe she will also turn around and discuss what u want , be it philosophical or whatever? We seem to be doing this all the time....that is what we call compromising....:-D

    I just feel it needs patience, understanding , and TIME AND EFFORT on both partners and am sure to large extent, we can find emotional fulfilment within marriage. At least there is a commitment, between married couple which leads to a sense of belonging , which is absent in other relationships.We just need to fine tune this institution, and girls, boys have to be educated when they are young to share and try understand , so that when they grow up as adults they will know how to handle themselves unselfishly !

    and like the others have said , i am sure we are all educated enough to find friends to discuss our hobbies , or philosophical leanings with the ones who are interested and be emotionally satisfied! We IL ites seem to be doing that successfully anyway!
     
  10. sudhavnarasimhan

    sudhavnarasimhan Silver IL'ite

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    To Chitra,

    Dear Chitra,

    Enjoyed the way you have analysed marriage and life of the partners.....very matured thinking of course and i feel like taking many^points making a blowup poster and putting it up in our room.....great work.....
    And all the others too have contributed in a great way.....after all we are all Great Ladies na!:clap HA HA::::
     

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