This Is The Most Important Quality In A Life Partner
Find someone with this quality, and you’ll experience the relationship you deserve
By the time I was 25, I’d already completed a 15-month deployment to Iraq. One thing that motivated me on the deployment was to make it home alive — and hopefully — finally get my first kiss.
In high school I was too focused on sports and academics for dating. At West Point, it was more of the same. And then I found myself at war. And before I knew it, I was a 25-year-old who’d never been kissed.
After I returned home from Iraq, I vowed I would start making time to date — and maybe even just get that first kiss. I made a list of things I was looking for in a partner:
- Likes to adventure
- Understands the importance of family
- Shared values
- Shared faith
Looking back on my list now, it makes me smile. It’s not a bad list, not at all. My wife has all the above qualities.
Now that I’m married, I have a much deeper understanding of what’s important to look for in a life partner.
I’m married to the most amazing woman, and she teaches me every day what real loves looks like. She makes me a better person. She’s patient and kind. She’s a good listener, and she’s empathetic.
These qualities come from my wife’s exceptionally high Emotional Intelligence. When I made my list of things I wanted at 25, I’d never even heard the term Emotional Intelligence.
Emotional Intelligence (EI or EQ) is defined by the Psychology Dictionary as
“The capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one’s goals”
Emotionally Intelligent people:
- Recognize their own emotions
- Recognize the emotions of others
- Are in tune with their feelings
- Use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior
- Manage/adjust emotions to adapt to environments
When you find someone who has high emotional intelligence, you’ll find someone in tune with what they are feeling and who can recognize this in others. Emotional Intelligence is the most important thing to look for in a partner, because when you find someone with high EQ, these are the qualities they posses:
They show empathy
I remember seeing a video by Brene Brown talking about the difference between sympathy and empathy. With sympathy, a friend passes by and sees you in a deep, dark pit. They see you and yell down they see you, but don’t offer to help.
Someone with empathy climbs down into the deep, dark pit with you and acknowledges it’s deep and dark. They remind you they know what it’s like down there, and you’re not alone.
People with high EQ can show a lot of empathy because they connect with the emotions and feelings you’re going through. They put themselves in your shoes and connect with what you’re struggling with.
It’s what allows my wife to be so supportive of me with my depression and mental health. She doesn’t have depression, but she has the empathy to grab my hand when the days are darkest and remind me I’m loved, my life has purpose, and that she won’t let go.
Life is hard, and that doesn’t change when you’re in a long-term relationship or married. Someone who has empathy recognizes you shouldn’t have to go through the valleys of life alone. They know it’s hard, and they choose to feel your pain and go through it with you.
I see this every day from my wife, and it’s the most beautiful thing in the world.
They communicate their feelings
People with high EQ are acutely aware of what they’re feeling and can communicate it. They know the importance of keeping you informed about what’s going on in their head.
It’s so important to find a partner who can communicate their feelings, so you’re not left wondering or making assumptions.
Since neither of you is a mind-reader, it’s critical that both partners can recognize their feelings — and even more importantly — communicate them in a loving and empathetic way.
My wife is so good at recognizing how she is feeling, how I’m feeling, and lovingly reminding me to share what’s on my mind. Her ability to communicate her feelings with me has given me the courage to do the same.
They’re a good listener
My wife is so patient with me, and such a good listener. It can be hard for me to share my feelings when I’m depressed, so it’s so important that my wife is a good listener. To best support me, she gives me her full attention so she can truly understand the emotions and feelings I’m experiencing.
Find someone who has high EQ because they know how to give you their full, undivided attention and really listen to you. Those with high EQ want to understand what you’re feeling, and they have the intelligence to give you the space you need to share.
They’re balanced and self aware
People like my wife who have a high EQ are balanced and self aware. They understand who they are, and this allows them to better understand others.
So many of us move through this world living in fear. Fear of loving, fear of being rejected, fear of not being good enough.
People with high EQ aren’t immune to this, but because they understand themselves deeply, they can keep these negative thoughts in check.
Because people with high EQ are self aware, they know the importance of keeping things in balance — emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
They recognize that these things are connected and impacts everything in their lives. Find someone with a high EQ, and you’ll find someone who knows how to find and keep balance in their life.
When I first started dating, I thought I knew what to look for in a partner. Dating and then marrying my wife made me realize that there’s one thing that’s more important than everything else — emotional intelligence.
Find someone who has high emotional intelligence and then hold on tight. People with high EQ have empathy, they know how to communicate their feelings, they’re good listeners, and they’re balanced.
Finding someone with high EQ will help you get through the dark days, the days when you’re stressed and anxious, the days when life is full of sorrow.
The beautiful thing is that emotional intelligence is something we can all get better it. It’s something that can continue to grow and blossom. Find someone with high EQ, and continue to work on your own EQ throughout the relationship.
You’ll both be happier and healthier and experience the relationship you were meant to have.
About the Author:
Andrew lives and works in San Francisco. He’s a husband, a big brother with seven siblings, and an uncle to two amazing nieces. He writes about mental health, relationships, and finances.