Expressing Feelings in a Relationship

April 3, 2019

Trusting one another and feeling comfortable expressing our feelings is an important part of a healthy relationship. Emotion is an integral part of being human, and expressing feelings appropriately can deepen and strengthen the relationship you have with your partner or spouse.

Share Positive Feelings Often

Positive feelings like love, appreciation, and happiness are what we all want from a relationship. Sharing these types of feelings with your partner can strengthen your relationship and increase the love and loyalty you feel for one another. Make a habit of sharing these types of emotions frequently. You can thank your partner for a particular nice thing they did, or just express gratitude for the good things they bring to your relationship. Learn to tell each other, “I love you” often. Share moments that make you happy and express how glad you are that you get to experience them together.

Share Negative Feelings Carefully

Of course, no relationship is a bed of roses all the time. Negative emotions will come up, and when they do it’s important that you are sensitive to your partner when you share them. If possible, try to let your emotions cool down a little before you give them expression. When you do have to express negative feelings, be specific, and try to phrase them as “I” statements. For example, rather than saying, “You always push me away when anything bad happens,” rephrase it as “I feel so isolated when things like this come up. When you don’t confide in me, I feel like you don’t trust me.” Although you’re expressing the same feelings, a “You” statement can sound accusatory and is likely to provoke a defensive reaction, while an “I” statement focuses on how you feel and invites your partner to respond openly and honestly.

While the benefits of expressing positive feelings are clear, negative feelings can also provide a great opportunity for the two of you to work through issues together. Although you may feel that expressing negative feelings will drive you apart, the truth is that appropriately expressing negative feelings can open the door for you and your partner to understand each other better. Once those feelings are out in the open, you can work together towards solving problems. By expressing positive emotions often and appropriately expressing negative feelings when needed, you and your partner can build each other up and grow in your relationship together.

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