By Alice || Edited by Go Ask Alice Editorial Team || Last edited Sep 27, 2023
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Alice! Health Promotion. "Does emotional health affect decision to marry?." Go Ask Alice!, Columbia University, 27 Sep. 2023, https://goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/does-emotional-health-affect-decision-marry. Accessed 15, Jul. 2024.

Alice! Health Promotion. (2023, September 27). Does emotional health affect decision to marry?. Go Ask Alice!, https://goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/does-emotional-health-affect-decision-marry.

Dear Alice,

Can you help me get a picture of how good/bad life will be if I get married to a low EQ and high IQ guy? And this guy is like ten years older than me. I'm one of those outgoing, fun-loving, cheerful, and filled with life kind of people. It's time for me to take up a decision; can you give me some advice?

Dear Reader, 

EQ, IQ, eek-Q! Thinking about marriage can get your mind racing with questions about the future, happiness, and, in this case, the emotional compatibility of you and your partner. Similar to how an intelligence quotient (IQ) score is used to describe a person's intelligence, an emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) score is sometimes used to describe a person's ability to understand and navigate theirs and others’ emotions. Although your concern about marrying a partner of a similar EQ may be rooted in a bit of truth, in reality, people are much more complicated than a score on a test. While thinking about your partner’s EQ or IQ may give you a sense of what your future might look like, EQ and IQ are just two pieces in the jigsaw puzzle of love. 

Emotional intelligence can be an attractive quality to look for in a life partner. There are studies that suggest it plays a role in relationship satisfaction. However, even recent research that raises a toast to the correlation of EQ and relationship satisfaction acknowledges the existence of other contributing factors, like culture, gender, and sexuality. There's also little understood about the similarities or differences in EQ between partners and the resulting relationship satisfaction. All things considered, emotional intelligence is challenging to define and fluid because it's always changing. 

The decision you're making is a tough one, so it may also be helpful to reflect on some other qualities of a compatible relationship to see if the marriage would be a good fit. If being at the altar with someone of similar emotional intelligence is a priority, you may find solace in knowing that EQ isn't only seen as a personality trait, but as an ability, and like any other ability, it can be learned. When it comes to your partner, which components of EQ do they currently possess? Which components are missing that you may be able to help them understand? You also mention your partner is older and has a high IQ. As you're navigating how to connect more emotionally with them, it may be worth reflecting on how you both connect intellectually as well. 

Ultimately, painting a perfectly clear picture of what life will be like after tying the knot is nearly impossible. However, taking the time to ponder the qualities of a compatible partner and relationship, as you're already doing, is a great way to make the picture a little less blurry. As you consider all things EQ, IQ, and marital satisfaction, you might also consider some additional questions as you think about the future: 

  • What has led you to believe your partner has a low EQ? While you might consider your partner to be lower on the EQ spectrum, could there be an alternative explanation as to why they seem to have low EQ. Might you simply have different expectations of what it means to be in a relationship or how you prefer to receive and express love? 
  • What are some things you do have in common? Sharing interests, hobbies, friends, values, morals, or a favorite ice cream flavor can give you some common ground and may help you start to build a solid relationship regardless of differences in EQ or IQ. 
  • How do you communicate when times get tough? Do you like to talk face-to-face when you’re upset, or do you need time to cool off? Do you prefer to problem-solve alone or might the support of a mental health professional be desired? Sorting out communication plans early in your relationship may help for those times when you feel like you just aren’t speaking the same language. 

While there may not be a crystal-clear answer to the initial questions you asked, perhaps your answers lie within factors about your relationship aside from EQ and IQ. Remember, beyond EQ and IQ, there are many puzzle pieces to consider–common interests, compatibility, shared values and beliefs, communication skills, trust, etc. These factors all play a role in your relationship for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness, and in health. 

Additional Relevant Topics:

Relationships
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