This emotional intelligence test for couples works best if both partners participate, but it also offers healthy insights for individuals. If you can talk about the signs of an emotionally healthy relationship, you’ll grow closer as a couple. If neither of you are emotionally healthy, your relationship will falter.
“People’s emotions are rarely put into words,” writes Daniel Goleman in Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, “far more often they are expressed through other cues. The key to intuiting another’s feelings is in the ability to read nonverbal channels, tone of voice, gesture, facial expression and the like.”
If you can apply emotional intelligence to your relationship, you will have a better connection with your partner. This emotional intelligence test for couples will help you see your strengths and weaknesses more clearly. The health of your relationship depends on how emotionally healthy you are – as well as how emotionally intelligent your partner is. I don’t have the space in this article to offer tips for increasing your emotional intelligence as a couple – Goleman’s book is the best resource for that.
Research on emotional intelligence from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management found that people who have high emotional intelligence do not let unrelated emotions affect the decisions they make. For instance, if emotionally intelligent people feel anxious or frustrated because of traffic or a problem at work, they don’t make an impulsive relationship decision based on those emotions.
People with low emotional intelligence, on the other hand, tend to make decisions that are influenced by emotions that have nothing to do with the decision they’re making. A decision that directly affects a relationship can range from how to confront a partner about a big relationship issue to what to say about a new hairstyle or store purchase.
Emotionally intelligent people are in touch with what they think and how they feel, which has a direct effect on the level of emotional disconnection that exists a relationship. That’s why this emotional intelligence test for couples is important – it can help you see how in touch you are with both healthy and unhealthy emotions.
Emotional Intelligence Test for Couples
This assessment for emotional intelligence isn’t a compatibility test or a marriage stress test, but it can help you relate and communicate in healthier ways. This test isn’t from Goleman’s book on Emotional Intelligence.
Your partner doesn’t need to take this test with you, but participating together can help you be a more emotionally intelligent couple.
Look at the following four categories of emotionally intelligence: 1) low; 2) growing (medium); 3) healthy (medium/high); and 4) healthy (very high) emotional intelligence in a relationship. How many points do you check off in each category?
1. Signs of low emotional intelligence as a couple
- Can’t distinguish between fact and feeling
- Emotionally needy and highly reactive to others
- Spending lots of time winning the approval of others
- Little energy for goal-directly activities
- Can’t say “I think…” or “I believe” without apologizing first
- Emotionally enmeshed or overinvolved with family
- Depended on marriage or intimate relationships for self-identity
- Can’t transition well when life changes or during a crisis
- Can’t see where you end and others begin (tend to have codependent relationships with no boundaries)
If you don’t think you can honestly assess your answers to this emotional intelligence test for couples, ask your partner to give you his feedback. This in itself is a sign of an emotionally healthy relationship! Emotionally intelligent couples can be honest with each other, while unhealthy couples tend to avoid honesty and direct communication – especially about emotions and one other.
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2. Signs of growing emotional intelligence in relationships
- Some ability to distinguish between fact and feeling in your relationship
- Most of self is a “false self” in front of your partner, but you’re aware of it
- Good functioning when anxiety is low, but unhealthy during stress or high anxiety
- Quick to imitate others and change yourself so you’re accepted in your relationships
- Aware of and even talk about your principles and beliefs, but don’t always follow them
- Self-esteem is tied to what others say about you
- Often make poor decisions due to your inability to think clearly when stressed
- Can’t handle your emotions when a relationship breaks up or a conflict arises in your relationship (emotionally intelligent couples can discuss their relationship calmly and honestly)
- Seek power, knowledge, and love from others
You may find yourself checking off points in the “growing emotional intelligence” and the “healthy emotional intelligence” categories of this test for couples. Your results may even depend on the time of month, recent experiences at work or in your relationship, or even whether you’ve had to deal with a traumatic event recently.
3. Signs of healthy and emotionally intelligent couples
- Aware of how your thoughts make you feel – and able to choose positive, healthy thoughts
- Reasonable level of self-identity or true self as part of a couple (emotionally intelligent couples are distinct, yet connected)
- Can follow life goals that you determine from within, not as determined by your partner or family
- Healthy concept of who you are (your true self)
- Can state your beliefs calmly, without putting others down
- Your relationship or marriage is a partnership, and you function as an emotionally intelligent couple most of the time
- Can allow your kids to progress through the developmental phases into independent, autonomous adults
- Relate and communicate with others – including your partner – without insisting they see the world the way you do
Again, if you are confused about how emotionally intelligent you are, ask your partner what he thinks of these points. If he doesn’t know or can’t share his thoughts with you, that may be a starting point for you and him.
4. Signs of extremely healthy or high emotional intelligence in relationships
- Secure in who you are, your self-esteem isn’t affected by either criticism or praise
- Have left your family of origin, and are independent emotionally, financially, physically, socially, and professionally
- Sure of your beliefs, but not closed in your thinking
- Can hear and evaluate the beliefs of your partner, and be open to changing your beliefs in light of new evidence or arguments
- Can respect others without wanting to change them
- Can listen to others’ opinions and thoughts without reacting
- Can communicate without antagonizing or offending others
- Able to take responsibility for your destiny and life
- Aware of interdependence with others, but not dependent on them
- Able to be peaceful and calm during stressful, sad, and unhappy circumstances
- Free to enjoy life and play
How many of the “highly emotionally intelligence traits” did you identify in yourself? What about your partner – were you able to think of yourself as a couple as well as individuals?
I adapted and modified this emotional intelligence test for couples from a book called Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: It’s Impossible to Be Spiritually Mature, While Remaining Emotionally Immature by Pete Scazzero. He discussed the idea of differentiation in relationships, which is the ability to hold on to who you are and who you are not.
“The degree to which you are able to affirm your distinct values and goals apart from the pressures around you (separateness), while remaining close to people important to you (togetherness) helps determine your level of differentiation,” writes Scazzero.
Emotionally healthy and intelligent couples are able to be united yet firm in their own identity. They are strong as a couple and as individuals, and they continually work to improve their level of emotional intelligence in their relationship. If you know you’re not emotionally or spiritually healthy, read Scazzero’s book. I have it, and it’s really good.
What do you think of this emotional intelligence test for couples – do you have any questions or feedback? I’d love to hear from you below!
You might want to read 10 Warning Sign of a Bad Relationship if this test for emotionally intelligent couples has show you that you’re in an emotionally unhealthy relationship.
Your thoughts are welcome below! I don't give advice, but you can get free relationship help from marriage coach Mort Fertel.
Source of the research about emotionally intelligent people and making decisions: J. A. Yip, S. Cote. The Emotionally Intelligent Decision Maker: Emotion-Understanding Ability Reduces the Effect of Incidental Anxiety on Risk Taking. Psychological Science, 2012; 24 (1): 48. High Emotional Intelligence and Decision Making.