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The Remarried Life

Aug 27, 2019

Brian Mayer talks about emotion and its role in our lives and in our remarriages and blended families.  Emotion by many is sometimes seen as something to avoid or not dwell on.  We hope to dispel that and other myths in today’s episode when we talk about the importance emotion has to move us in our lives.  We hope you enjoy today’s message.  For more information and additional resources please visit our website at

Today's Goodies

  • So let’s talk emotion.  In our world, the stereotype is that women can deal with emotions and men cannot.  It is often generalized that women like talking about emotions and men do not.  This can actually certainly be true in lots of cases.
  • There have been lots of studies that suggest that men are more logical and operate more from the left side of the brain and women operate more from the right side.  Some of these things have been confirmed and especially that certain parts of the brain size are different in women and men which can account for differences in logic versus emotion.
  • Often we think of behavior changes like date nights, spending more quality time together, or changing our communication styles will help better our remarriages.  The thought is that if we change our actions, then our feelings may change. 
  • However there is a lot of research especially in the field of psychology that has suggested over the last several decades that it is not behavior change that will move us but it is emotion. 
  • Think about your favorite movies?  Yes, there is action in many movies but it is things like emotion that can really move us.  It is those movies that we come out of them changed.  For some reason the movie Old Yeller comes to mind for me.  I saw this movie as a young child.  I don’t remember crying as a child before age 10 at anything other than a cut or bruise…except for this movie.  It was the story of a beloved dog to a child that had to be put to sleep by the father from what I remember.  That MOVED me to tears.  Key word….MOVED.
  • So speaking of being moved do you know what the Latin derivative and definition of the word emotion?  It means to “remove, move out, agitate.”  In my example about the movie, I certainly remember it moved me.  It moved me to do something different.  I remember it spurred me to have a conversation with my mom about this movie and to share my experience.  In other words it opened a human connection and sort of advanced me along in my life’s journey. 
  • The same can be said about your present relationships with spouse, your children and you stepchildren.  But sometimes it depends on the specific emotion shown. 
  • Did you know there is something called primary (basic) and secondary (complex) emotions.  Let’s talk about those for a moment. 
  • Primary emotions are the ones that science says that have been implanted into us.  They are anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise.  They are considered to be hardwired into us from the beginning of time.  These are the emotions that can readily be seen especially around the eyes. 
  • These are the emotions often that are perceived when our partners do something different than the more neutral look that we are generally presented with.  Primary emotions are more transient and are often associated with an event.  They can tend to fade rapidly.
  • However these can often be deceiving because there are more complex or secondary emotions that we have learned over time especially from our care givers.  These emotions can linger and do not dissipate quickly. 
  • The more complex emotions might be something like overwhelm, worthlessness, excluded, nervous, exposed.  They can be positive like successful, confident, valued, or hopeful.  These are the more vulnerable emotions that we often keep hidden again because we have been trained through evolution to know that these are not necessary to survival.  But oh how they are necessary for the survival of relationships. 
  • So why are we talking about these?  Well just as we mentioned a moment ago, the emotions that we can spot and see very quickly are the 6-7 primary emotions like anger or disgust for example.  Once we perceive these on our partners face, the last thing we want to do 1 or 2 things.  Our survival instincts come into play at these moments and we only want to:
    • Fight
    • Flight
    • Freeze
  • These instincts were helpful when we lived in caves and confronted the saber tooth tiger.  They are less helpful when we run into problems with our partner or kids.  They usually result in responses that are much more than what is needed in the moment.
  • So what should we do?  I’ll give some thoughts on that now.
    • Take a breath to keep the fight, flight, or freeze response at bay. 
    • Lean in and explore what is the secondary emotion that you are seeing in your partner.  Try not to give in to what you believe you are seeing on the face.  There is often a more complex emotion underneath that really tells the tale. 
    • Encourage your partner and kids to come to you when they are feeling emotionally to discuss.  However you must work on being non-judgmental and accepting.  This will encourage more sharing in the future. 
    •  Sharing of emotions can often change your relationship.  It can MOVE it to a better place. 
  • This is all easier said than done.  Sometimes those in your new family will not share these things as you would like.  So you must develop lots of patience! 
  • Also don’t tie your actions to the results.  If you do that you could be sorely disappointed in yourself and your family.  Remember this can take years.  Hang in there. 


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Thanks For Listening!

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As always remember that marriage is not something you have, it is something you do.  Talk to you next week unless you are binge listening in the future in which case I will talk to you in about a minute!  Take care.