Continued . . .
Many thanks to Rob & Hannah, Joel & Marie, and Diane & Larry for the excellent advice! Thanks also to our reader as well for the excellent question!
The QUESTION from our Reader:
How do I achieve emotional maturity?
(Background: I recently ended a serious-picking-the-wedding-date-serious relationship due to my emotional immaturity. "Emotional maturity" means "ability to assess and proactively handle varying levels of stressful/difficult situations in an adult, calm, and healthy manner" (to me). My desire is emotional maturity in all aspects of life, beyond romantic entanglements. I'm looking for loving advice. Thanks!)
The ANSWER from some of my favorite Married Couples:
Hannah & Rob are a super fun couple to have over for game night and have been living in wedded bliss for over 2 years.
Recognizing emotional maturity as something you need to work on is a step in the right direction—it would be impossible to change without acknowledging the problem. However, we don't think that there is one simple solution to being able to achieve emotional maturity, because like most good habits or positive characteristics, it develops and improves over time and through experience. That said, in our (limited) experience, emotional maturity isn't something that comes without any outside support. Having someone around to teach you by example or (gently) letting you know when you need to chill out is a big bonus in marriage. Before we were married and had the luxury of an objective partner who could see past our faults, we confided in our family members and close friends and looked to them for positive examples of emotional maturity. This was especially helpful as we became more serious about marriage and wanted to know how our parents, siblings, and friends had managed to create harmony in their homes and in their relationships. We've found that a willingness to change and avoiding a "me"-centric attitude—studying scriptures, devoting time to service and our callings, and helping each other out when we are getting bogged down with work and school—are some of the key factors in maintaining emotional maturity in our marriage.
Joel & Marie are well on their way to becoming as successful as Larry & Diane, and they are two of my favorite people (and not only because they are my sister and brother-in-law).
We think that we have been most emotionally mature, before and after marriage, when we could see a vision of ourselves as we truly want to be long term and move forward selflessly and lovingly. It is so hard to keep our vision day to day when we are constantly acting selfishly and dealing with skewed perspectives and fears, but we just keep repenting, studying the Gospel and not giving up and our ability to handle emotional stress improves.
Larry & Diane are two of the most Christlike people I know. I've learned a lot from watching their wonderful marriage and family. (By the way, the brown banner around the top of their room is filled with all the things their family is grateful for.)
First of all, don't feel bad; who IS emotionally mature when the stakes are high like that?? It's so hard, but here's what we've learned over the years:
From the school of hard knocks we've learned it's best to give yourself time (whenever possible) to pray, ponder, and talk to your "experts" before making emotional decisions. Time usually brings clarity. Focus on deleting emotion & acting rationally.
Send us your question anytime: LizzyQuist@yahoo.com, we'll choose a question for the upcoming month and post the answers we receive from the panel throughout the month. xo!