Is emotional maturity a female thing? (Hint: Nope!)
And what does emotional maturity look like?
In today’s podcast I’m actually having a guest–Marc Alan Schelske, the author of The Wisdom of Your Heart. And then Keith and I are talking about men and emotions!
And here it is on YouTube!
TIMELINE of the Podcast:
0:55 Interview with Marc Alan Schelske on Emotional Maturity
17:00 Keith and Sheila discuss Emotional Responses
19:45 What is stonewalling, and what does it look like?
29:02 How to Communicate better with a stonewaller
36:05 What Does Research Say about Emotional Intelligence?
39:40 Why Men are at a societal disadvantage with emotions
41:20 A Big Tip to Help Couples with Emotional Connection & Intimacy
Main Segment: What is Emotional Maturity?
Marc Alan Schelske joined me to talk about emotional maturity, based on his book The Wisdom of Your Heart, which I’ve mentioned repeatedly this month, and which I talked about on Tuesday on our post about books that can help you grow more mature.
I love what he said about emotional maturity: How we have emotions, which are just signals of what your subjective or objective experience, and then we have the reactions to those emotions. Emotionally immature people see them as the same thing–you feel something, so you act this way. Emotional maturity is having a gap between emotions and reaction, to leave room for reflection. Exactly!
Find out more about Marc Alan Schelske:
- The Wisdom of Your Heart (Paperback, ebook, audiobook)
- The Untangle Workbook–a workbook to help you walk through reflecting on something emotional you’ve having trouble dealing with
- The Untangled Heart Workshop–a course to help you grow emotionally mature as you learn to reflect and process emotions.
Reader Question: How do you deal with stonewalling?
Then Keith joined me as we talked about stonewalling and tried to roleplay how to deal with stonewalling behaviour. We used some comments from last week’s post on stonewalling:
In my marriage I don’t think we’ve actually ever dealt with an issue completely. My husband won’t talk about the issue, like zero words come out. He doesn’t walk away or get angry, he simply won’t say anything or on the rare occasion he does say anything it turns into him bashing himself. I then feel terrible and end up apologizing for even bringing it up in the first place. I have been taking a new strategy in which I lay out everything that’s wrong tell him what I could be doing better or different then give him time to collect himself and answer usually a day or so. This has turned into him still not addressing the issue and acting as though everything is fine and still wanting his needs met. I honestly feel as though I’m going crazy! I don’t know what to do, he simply won’t engage in conversations that need to be had. I’ve talked to a close friend and she has no advice so I’m at a loss.
My husband is learning and growing in this area, but he is emotionally immature. He 100% meets his responsibilities, is an exceptional provider, reliable, stable, consistent, etc. But talking about his emotions or mine, or certain taboo topics, is off limits. He reverts to the emotional manipulation that the first commenter mentioned, or explodes in anger. I have certainly had my part in it, but I’m learning how to address issues in a way that’s calm, reasonable, doesn’t assume his motives, etc. I do believe part of his emotional immaturity stems from having an emotionally manipulative mother and a passive, unemotional father.
Over the years I’ve learned to (usually) not respond in anger, but I have a hard time being assertive enough to bring up sensitive topics again after the explosion.
And I 100% agree that this type of emotional immaturity is a huge obstacle to real intimacy.
And we chimed in at the end of the podcast with a reminder that, if discussing emotions when you’re bringing up issues is difficult, then sharing the high/low exercise on a regular basis gives you a chance to talk about emotions in a non-threatening way first. Take our emotional connection FREE email course to help you grow closer and more intimate, step-by-step!
What Does Research Say? Women Are More Emotionally Mature
Our conclusions? Women aren’t better than men. It’s simply that women have more practice with emotions and with language, and that gives women necessary skills that benefit everyone.
So what should we do? Help men grow emotionally, too, and raise our kids to be able to name and process their emotions. There’s no reason that men can’t be emotionally mature. Emotional immaturity is not a masculine trait. We need to get past this idea that emotions are feminine, and instead help all of us to embrace our emotions, since God Himself has emotions. They are part of us. Dealing with them effectively is part of healthy living!
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We want to start an element of the podcast where you all chime in, so we’ll be asking a question in our Friday newsletter that you can answer, and then we’ll be featuring some of those answers. So make sure you’re signed up!
Are you GOOD or are you NICE?
What do you think of Marc’s definition of emotional maturity? How would you handle stonewalling or self-bashing? Let’s talk in the comments!
Posts in the Emotional Maturity Series:
- Four Markers of Emotional Maturity
- Do We Use God Language to Avoid Maturity?
- 2 Keys to Handling Stonewalling Behavior
- 6 Ways to Grow in Emotional Maturity
- A Book List to Help with Emotional Maturity
- What Does Emotional Maturity Look Like (Podcast)
- When Christian Resources Perpetuate Your Spouse's Immaturity
- How to Deal with Passive Aggressiveness
- It's Not Feminine to Have Emotions (November 30)
Sheila Wray Gregoire
Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum
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