Play (Emotional) Doctor
Doctors greet patients (for well or sick visits) by asking questions, taking vital signs, (including a temperature), and making sure that their patients are okay. As husband and wife, it would be wise to play the role of emotional doctor for your spouse from time to time.
If yours is a typical marriage, you and your spouse are probably away from each other for a large portion of the day. If this is the case, it is important to take your spouse's emotional temperature once you are reunited.
Just as the body is good at keeping its temperature in a narrow range, most people are good at keeping their emotional temperatures in a narrow range. The danger (emotionally and physically) comes when signs show that someone's temperature has dropped well below normal or sky-rocketed way above normal. Those are signs that there are other things going on that may need some attention.
Take Your Spouse's Temperature
Just as a doctor would use a thermometer to take a patient's temperature, you can use an emotional thermometer to find out how your spouse is feeling. Are they stressed, tired, happy, depressed, discouraged, mad, excited, angry, upset, frustrated? The emotions will vary depending on the day, life stressors (children fit into this category), and the overall health and well-being of your spouse.
So, how do you take your spouse's emotional temperature?
1) Look in their eyes.
2) Touch them in a loving, but non-sexual way (i.e. take their hand, touch their face, run your fingers through their hair, kiss them on the cheek, etc.).
3 ) Ask, "How are you?" With an emphasis on the word YOU. (Not, "How was your day?" or "How was work," but "How are YOU?")
Try and do all three at the same time. Unless your spouse is incredibly good at hiding their feelings, it should be pretty obvious to you where they fall on the emotional-temperature scale. Knowing where your spouse is at, the moment you are reunited, will give you the ability to then help meet your spouse's needs and find ways to serve them.
If your wife is in a great mood because her client meeting went extremely well today, then celebrate accordingly. If your husband had a rough day and comes home stressed, be sensitive to his feelings and find a way to make his evening a little better. Now, if he just happens to be HANGRY (hungry, and therefore, angry); please get him some food asap. And read this post.
Sometimes it won't be easy to read your spouse's temperature, but with time, you will become more sensitive and discerning of your spouse's needs, feelings, and emotional health.
If you consistently greet your spouse by taking their emotional temperature, it will put you in a good place to be sensitive, understanding, and selfless. And those three things will put you on a path to a pretty cohesive, happy, and fulfilling marriage. Go get em, Doc!
One Final Thought
Now, just as some prescriptions don't seem to have an immediate effect, in some cases there won't be an immediate fix to struggles you or your spouse may be facing. Be patient. Be oh-so-very-patient! You can get through this together! Occasionally, circumstances may require the help of another person, counselor, or other outside help. But don't give up! There are many caring individuals and trained professionals that can help.
“A great marriage isn’t something that just happens; it’s something that must be created.”
- Fawn Weaver
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