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The Past’s Impact on the Present Marriage: Emotion Podcast

The communication process is hard enough with just words. Add emotion to the mix and sometimes we might as well be speaking a foreign language. This is because the present moment meaning we attribute to emotions has been constructed in the past. In this episode of Breaking Bread, Kaleb Beyer untangles the knot spousal communication can find itself in because we are not decoding the emotions in the room correctly.

  • There are six basic emotions common to all people: happiness, sadness, surprise, shame, anger and fear.
  • Each of these emotions has a lot of shades. For example, anger spans from irritation to rage with many experiences in between.
  • The meaning we make out of emotions is not common among all people. For example, anger for one person means something different to another.
  • The meaning we make out of emotions was constructed in past experiences. For example, how a person did or did not experience soothing when anger arose in their past largely formed up the meaning they attribute to anger today.
  • In marriage relationships, emotional messages can get mixed and can set off an unhealthy cycle of communication. Each one “hearing” the incorrect meaning from the other.
  • Emotions teach us about ourselves. Slowing down and noticing the cues that trigger emotions and the meaning we construct is very instructive.
  • By understanding our emotional experience and that of our spouse, we can better interact in an understanding way.