According to renowned marriage expert Dr. John Gottman, the majority of wives treat their husbands with honour and respect. Gottman’s research found that wives were more likely to take their husband’s feelings and opinions into account when making decisions, relationship writer Kyle Benson writes in The Gottman Institute’s blog.
Though plenty of women are selfish and plenty of men are sensitive as well, Gottman’s research found that only 35% of men were emotionally intelligent — meaning that they consider their partner’s emotions and feelings.
But are women really more emotionally intelligent than men?
Dr. Dan Goleman, the author of Emotional Intelligence and The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights, writes in Psychology Today that in most tests evaluating EQ, women do tend to perform better. But while most women are more empathetic than men, men are usually better at dealing with distressing emotions.
“If the other person is upset, or the emotions are disturbing, women’s brains tend to stay with those feelings,” Goleman writes. “But men’s brains do something else: they sense the feelings for a moment, then tune out of the emotions and switch to other brain areas that try to solve the problem that’s creating the disturbance.”
Neither way of dealing with emotions is necessarily better, but when it comes to relationships, we need to accept each other’s influence, as Dr. Gottman recommends. Women can learn from men about managing their emotions, while men can learn from women about being more empathetic.
As Benson points out, we need to forget about winning the argument and prioritize our commitments to our partners. “If you do that, your marriage wins.”
The 6 signs that your partner has low emotional intelligence
Here are the signs that your partner has low emotional intelligence, as compiled by Harvard Business Review:
- She gets easily impatient and frustrated when she feels like you don’t understand him
- He often offends you with his comments or jokes, and usually thinks you’re overreacting when you express your displeasure.
- She expresses his opinions early on and stubbornly sticks by them, no matter what.
- He has high expectations for himself (which is fine) but expects you to meet those high standards as well.
- She usually blames you for your relationship’s issues.
- He finds it annoying when you expect him to know how you feel.
If you recognise yourself or your partner in the list above, you can work on your communication skills by following the tips in this article: Emotionally intelligent couples have stronger marriages.