I was sitting in a session, recently, with a couple and we were talking about their arguing. Since I have listened to numerous couples in marital and couples counseling over the years, I have thought a lot about and watched quite a few arguments. Over time, one of the aspects of arguing that I began to see was that it was emotional expression. Emotions are really not so good or bad in and of themselves: it is what you do with them that can be very, very important. Couples who don't express their emotions with each other sometimes do just fine, but sometimes the feelings/thoughts build and come out in some form, and it is not always pleasant (a burst of anger is an example). If you and your significant other or spouse can argue well, congratulations. Many can't and many couples need help with arguing, or, said another way, they need help with expressing their emotions to one another. Emotions could be thought of as another type of thinking, a part of us that is trying to tell us (or our significant other) something we feel/think. So as a couples therapist, I am tuned into what the people in front of me are thinking and feeling, and what they are expressing about those thoughts and feelings. In fact, a major portion of the work in individual or couples counseling is to help with what you are thinking and feeling. When you understand your thoughts and feelings better, you can make better decisions. And you can talk to one another more clearly. Watch for another post on emotions soon...

And keep on working on your relationships...