Building lasting love: Why emotional intelligence is key

Learn how developing emotional intelligence can transform your relationship, leading to deeper connections and lasting love.

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It’s no secret: relationships take work. But the truth is, strong relationships don’t just happen; they are a product of emotional intelligence (EI) — the ability to recognize, understand and manage our emotions.

Knowing how to manage emotional triggers and having the tools to create a safe, supportive relationship is essential for lasting love. In this article, we’ll explore the skills necessary for successful relationships and how those skills are developed through emotional intelligence.

Are communication problems getting in the way of your relationship? Learn how effective communication can help create and maintain a strong bond with your partner.

What is emotional intelligence?

What is emotional intelligence?

Being emotionally intelligent and having strong relationships go hand-in-hand. When couples understand each other’s emotional needs, they are more likely to be in tune with one another on an intimate level. 1

Definition of emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to identify, understand, and manage our emotions and the emotions of others. It involves recognizing feelings in yourself and others, understanding their meaning and purpose, and adapting to different emotional situations. 2

Emotional intelligence has five key components: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Each of these components works together to create an emotionally healthy relationship. 3

Being emotionally intelligent is a learned skill that can be developed over time. It has been known to increase happiness, improve overall well-being, and lead to more successful relationships. For these reasons, couples should cultivate emotional intelligence in their relationship. 4 5

Learning how to be emotionally intelligent is a skill that any couple can benefit from. With the right tools and understanding, couples can improve communication, create a stronger bond, and ultimately have more fulfilling relationships.

Discover the crucial role of emotional intelligence in fostering happiness and fulfillment in your relationships. Learn practical strategies for enhancing emotional intelligence.

How to test your emotional intelligence

How to test your emotional intelligence

While emotional intelligence can’t be taught and must be learned individually, knowing your emotional intelligence level is a step in the right direction. In the field of research, numerous assessment tests are available to help individuals and couples test their emotional intelligence.

Tests like the Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i), Schutte Self Report-Inventory (SSRI), or the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test 2.0 (MSCEIT 2.0) measure one’s emotional intelligence. These tests assess individuals’ ability to recognize and manage emotions in themselves and others. 6

These tests have certain limitations, though, and a singular test can’t be used to accurately measure the overall emotional intelligence of any individual or couple. Some other tests that professionals use to assess emotional intelligence are:

It is important to note that these tests should be taken and interpreted with the guidance of a trained professional. They shouldn’t be taken as a replacement for therapy but rather as an aid to understanding your emotional intelligence and how to improve it.

While you can’t accurately measure emotional intelligence, learn to spot signs of emotional intelligence in a partner. Discover key behaviors and qualities that indicate high emotional intelligence for a harmonious and fulfilling relationship.

5 emotional intelligence skills

5 emotional intelligence skills

Once you understand your level of EI or at least have some awareness of it, you can begin to focus on developing the five key components. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to improving emotional intelligence, but certain strategies can help.

1. Self-awareness

Awareness of your emotions and how they affect you is the first step in understanding yourself better. It allows you to recognize your triggers and responses and helps you to manage them in a healthy way.

When it comes to relationships, self-awareness can help you better understand your partner’s feelings and how their emotions affect you. It also allows you to recognize patterns of behavior that may be holding the relationship back.

Unlock your potential for personal growth and success by enhancing your emotional intelligence. Explore proven strategies to improve self-awareness, empathy, and emotional regulation.

2. Self-regulation

Once you better understand yourself and your triggers, it’s important to learn how to regulate them to maintain a healthy relationship. This includes learning how to manage your emotions during difficult conversations and conflicts. 7

Having the ability to regulate your emotions allows you to stay present at the moment and respond appropriately. This goes a long way in helping couples resolve conflicts, foster understanding, and build better relationships.

Master the art of conflict resolution through emotional intelligence. Explore practical tips and tools to defuse tensions, promote understanding, and find resolution with empathy.

3. Motivation

Having relationship goals is key to sustaining a strong bond between two people. Understanding what you want from the relationship and why it’s important to you will help guide your journey together. 8

Motivation also helps couples stay focused on their goals and remain committed to achieving them. It can be an essential factor in maintaining balance, trust, and connection in the long term.

4. Empathy

Another important component of emotional intelligence is empathy. Showing your partner that you’re there for them and understanding their perspective is a key part of any relationship. 9

Empathy is important for understanding your partner better and helps create a safe environment in which both partners can be open and honest. It allows couples to discuss their feelings without fear of judgment, enabling them to support each other.

Deepen your emotional connection with your partner through empathy. Explore how emotional intelligence and empathetic understanding can strengthen your relationship.

5. Social skills

When it comes to relationships, having good social skills is essential. This includes communicating effectively, resolving conflicts, and building strong connections with others.

Good social skills allow couples to easily navigate difficult conversations and encourage them to keep an open dialogue. This can go a long way in helping couples maintain a healthy and lasting relationship.

By developing strong emotional intelligence skills, you can build the foundation for a strong and lasting relationship. It takes work, but the rewards are worth it in the end.

Emotional intelligence is an essential tool for understanding yourself and your partner better and creating a balanced and trusting relationship.

Discover how having honest and effective conversations in relationships can help you maintain a strong connection with those you love.

FAQs about emotional intelligence

FAQs about emotional intelligence

1. Who invented emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence, as a concept, emerged through the collective efforts of several researchers and scholars in psychology. While there isn’t a singular individual credited with inventing emotional intelligence, two psychologists, Peter Salovey, and John D. Mayer, played a significant role in popularizing and advancing its understanding. 10

In the early 1990s, Salovey and Mayer proposed a groundbreaking framework for EI. They defined emotional intelligence as the ability to perceive, understand, and regulate emotions in oneself and others.

It is essential to acknowledge that emotional intelligence draws upon research and insights from various disciplines, including psychology, sociology, and neuroscience. Over time, numerous researchers and scholars have made valuable contributions, expanding our understanding of emotional intelligence and its practical applications in different domains of life.

Want to know the habits of emotionally intelligent couples? Explore key behaviors and practices that emotionally intelligent couples engage in to foster strong and harmonious relationships.

2. How important is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is widely recognized as a crucial aspect of personal and social development, with significant implications for various areas of life. Its importance lies in enhancing communication, fostering healthier relationships, and promoting overall well-being.

In the workplace, emotional intelligence is highly valued as it contributes to effective leadership, teamwork, and conflict resolution. It enables individuals to navigate complex social dynamics, understand and manage their own emotions, and empathize with the emotions of others. 11

Emotional intelligence also plays a vital role in personal relationships, helping individuals build stronger connections and resolve conflicts constructively. People with higher emotional intelligence are better equipped to manage their emotions during challenging situations, empathize with their partner’s feelings, and communicate effectively.

You can even rekindle the sparks of love with emotional intelligence. Deepen your emotional connection with your partner through empathy.

3. How can I become more emotionally intelligent?

Becoming more emotionally intelligent is an ongoing process that involves self-awareness, self-reflection, and intentional practice. Here are some strategies to enhance your emotional intelligence:

Remember, developing emotional intelligence takes time and effort. Be patient with yourself and embrace opportunities for growth. By cultivating self-awareness, empathy, emotional regulation, effective communication, and continuous learning, you can enhance your emotional intelligence and improve your relationships and overall well-being.

  1. Schutte, N. S., Malouff, J. M., Bobik, C., Coston, T. D., Greeson, C., Jedlicka, C., … & Wendorf, G. (2001). Emotional intelligence and interpersonal relations. The Journal of social psychology, 141(4), 523-536. ↩︎

  2. Mayer, J. D., Roberts, R. D., & Barsade, S. G. (2008). Human abilities: Emotional intelligence. Annu. Rev. Psychol., 59, 507-536. ↩︎

  3. Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. ↩︎

  4. Guerra-Bustamante, J., León-Del-Barco, B., Yuste-Tosina, R., López-Ramos, V. M., & Mendo-Lázaro, S. (2019). Emotional Intelligence and Psychological Well-Being in Adolescents. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(10), 1720. ↩︎

  5. Ciarrochi, J., Forgas, J. P., & Mayer, J. D. (Eds.). (2013). Emotional intelligence in everyday life. Psychology press. ↩︎

  6. Bru-Luna, L. M., Martí-Vilar, M., Merino-Soto, C., & Cervera-Santiago, J. L. (2021). Emotional Intelligence Measures: A Systematic Review. Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland), 9(12), 1696. ↩︎

  7. Gross, J. (1998). The emerging field of emotion regulation. Review of General Psychology, 2(3), 271–299. ↩︎

  8. Harasymchuk, C., Muise, A., Bacev-Giles, C., Gere, J., & Impett, E. (2020). Broadening your horizon one day at a time: The role of daily approach relationship goals in shaping self-expansion. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 37, 1910–1926. ↩︎

  9. Brown, C. L., West, T. V., Sanchez, A. H., & Mendes, W. B. (2021). Emotional Empathy in the Social Regulation of Distress: A Dyadic Approach. Personality & social psychology bulletin, 47(6), 1004–1019. ↩︎

  10. Salovey, P., & Mayer, J. D. (1990). Emotional intelligence. Imagination, cognition and personality, 9(3), 185-211. ↩︎

  11. Srivastava K. (2013). Emotional intelligence and organizational effectiveness. Industrial psychiatry journal, 22(2), 97–99. ↩︎

Author picture of Amy Clark
Relationship Expert

Amy Clark

Amy Clark is a freelance writer who writes about relationships, marriage, and family. She has been happily married for over ten years and loves her husband and three kids. Before …

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