Primary emotions are the emotions that you feel immediately after something happens. You may learn that your spouse is going to be late and you feel sad and angry. These are examples of primary emotions. Other primary emotions are fear, hurt, excitement, joy, surprise and shame.
How primary emotions can help you have a better marriage
These emotions have a lot to give to you and to your marriage. The key is to learn to slow down, to become aware and to listen to your emotions. Once you do that, you’ll be able to communicate better with your spouse because you will be able to talk about emotions.
It is important to learn to talk about emotions because conversations about feelings are very different from intellectual conversations. First, they require a certain level of intimacy, which can take your marriage to the next level. Second, you can’t really judge someone when they are telling you about how something makes them feel. You can express judgements when you are talking about a car to buy, about choosing a place to go on vacation and other factual topics and conversations. For this reason, talking about feelings can help you accept your spouse for who he or she is and help your spouse to accept and support you.
Finally, when you get in touch with your emotions and are able to talk about them, you will also be able to notice what is happening to your partner on an emotional level and talk about that. You may notice that certain things that you do trigger anger or sadness in your partner even though you thought that they would make your partner feel great.
When you communicate from a place of vulnerability and openness, your partner will likely enjoy it because it means that you trust your spouse and value them a lot.
A lot of people do not understand this and try to ignore their primary emotions. Here are 7 ways how they do that.
7 ways to avoid getting in touch with primary emotions
Think about something else
If you are not used to paying attention to your primary emotions and an emotion starts coming up, you may feel scared about it. You don’t know what it is, why it is there and you need time to process it. You are not used to this. You are not sure about the result, which is why feeling scared is absolutely normal.
For all these reasons, your initial response may be to distract yourself with other thoughts and to shut the primary emotion down. The problem is that when you do that, you are missing out on important information that the emotion can communicate to you.
Downplay the importance of how you feel
Humans evolved having emotions and emotional responses because the emotional system can be very useful in life. It sends you messages all the time. The messages may be about people and their behavior, situations and events. Don’t disregard your emotional experiences. They can help guide you if you allow them to.
Change the way you are looking at what is happening
One of the ways to block your emotions is to change the perspective of how you are looking at things. This is what some self-help experts promote heavily today. The issue here is that by changing your attitude and bypassing your emotions you will not allow yourself to go through an experience that is there to guide you and inform you.
Pump yourself up
You can always find something in your life and your surroundings to feel grateful about. While it is very useful to feel grateful and remind yourself about everything that you have and all the opportunities in front of you, you also need to have times when you slow down and get in touch with your emotions no matter what they are. Happiness is important, but so are other emotions such as sadness, fear and anger.
Make a list of rational reasons
Many couples try to resolve their emotional issues by using intellectual reasoning and cognitive behavioral techniques. Allow your emotional process to complete first. If you don’t do that, the emotion will most likely stay there and keep bothering you. For example, intellectually you may know that a car that your spouse likes is a great car, but you still don’t like the car. Looking at the list of features and specs will not make you like the car. It is okay to make a compromise or let your spouse get what he or she wants, but don’t downplay or ignore your emotions.
Numb yourself down
If you are angry, tired, sad or anxious, it is very easy to numb yourself down with an alcoholic drink, fast food or something else Avoidance of emotional experiences is one of the reasons people consume alcoholic beverages. It can also be a reason for overeating. The problem with alcohol or overeating is that they only work in the short term and don’t solve any long-term problems or issues. Moreover, consumption of alcohol or unhealthy foods on a regular basis can damage health and lead to a number of other harmful consequences. Learning to get in touch with your emotions is a much better long-term solution. If you are looking for distractions and need some time away, try physical exercise, be it running, weight lifting or yoga. Physical exercise can shift your emotional state in a healthy way and while engaging in a different activity you may actually get some ideas about your current situation or issues.
Get angry and blame someone else
Getting angry and finding someone to blame is almost as easy as consuming alcohol, gambling or taking drugs. Just like other short-term solutions, assigning blame will not take you anywhere. Often, anger is a reactive secondary emotion that you feel because you don’t know what to do about the primary emotion and the situation you find yourself in.