Whether you’re in marriage counseling with us or not, I’m always looking for ways to help couples connect. Using the feelings wheel is one of my favorite things to do.
The goal of this activity is to enhance emotional awareness and communication within your relationship. By using the Feelings Wheel as a tool, you will explore and express your emotions in a safe and supportive environment. This exercise can help you better understand each other’s feelings and promote empathy and connection.
Begin this by welcoming each other and reading through this handout together. Understand that the aim is to improve emotional understanding and communication in your relationship.
Look Over the Feelings Wheel
Briefly go over the concept of the Feelings Wheel. Think of it as a visual tool to identify and express emotions more precisely. Share an example from your own experiences to illustrate.
Take turns sharing one emotion from the feelings wheel. Use “I” statements like “I feel [emotion] when [situation].” Be specific and provide context for your feelings.
Discussion and Validation
After each partner shares an emotion, the other partner responds with empathy and validation. Avoid offering solutions or critiques at this stage. Express understanding by saying things like, “What makes sense to me about what you’re saying is…,” “I can see why you would feel that way,” or “I’m here for you.”
Delve deeper into your emotions. Ask questions like, “Can you remember a specific time when you felt this way?” or “What triggers this emotion for you?” This step helps you understand your emotional responses better.
Switch roles so that the other partner can share their emotions and receive validation.
Reflect and Discuss
Conclude the session by reflecting on what you’ve learned. Share any insights or improvements you see in your communication. Encourage open and honest discussion.
Continue using the Feelings Wheel to identify and share emotions during daily life, and note any changes or improvements in your relationship.
Thank each other for participation and emphasize the importance of ongoing emotional communication in your relationship. Practice what you’ve learned, and look forward to the next session.
These prompts can help you delve deeper into their emotions and gain a more comprehensive understanding of each other’s feelings. Take your time and engage in thoughtful, open, and empathetic discussions during the activity.
- Describe a recent situation where you felt this emotion. What happened, and how did you react?
- Can you recall a childhood memory or experience that may have contributed to this emotion becoming a recurring theme in your life?
- How does this emotion physically manifest in your body? Are there any physical sensations or changes you notice when you experience it?
- Share how my actions or words may have influenced your emotional state in the past.
- What coping mechanisms or strategies have you used to deal with this emotion in the past? Are they effective, or do they contribute to any challenges in our relationship?
- Have there been times when you’ve misunderstood or misinterpreted my emotions? How did that affect your communication and connection?
- Explore the idea of “secondary emotions.” Are there emotions that often follow or accompany the one you’re discussing? How do these secondary emotions impact our interactions as a couple?
- Discuss any patterns or triggers that consistently lead to the emergence of this emotion in our relationship. Are there specific situations or topics that tend to evoke it?
- Are there moments when we’ve successfully navigated this emotion as a couple. What strategies or communication techniques worked well during those times?
- Consider the long-term impact of unaddressed or unresolved emotions in our relationship. How might addressing and communicating about these emotions improve your connection?
- Share one thing I can do to support you when you’re experiencing this emotion, and explain why it would be helpful.
- Imagine a scenario where we both handle this emotion effectively. What changes in our relationship, and how do you envision our communication improving?