How Facts vs. Feelings Influence Your Spouse

In marriage, spouses influence one another significantly–both consciously and unconsciously. Knowing whether your spouse is more influenced by facts or by feelings can add a great deal of productivity to your conversations.

We’re all influenced primarily by either facts or feelings. When spouses’ primary points of influence clash, this can lead to difficulties in communication. But when we know the driving force behind one another’s primary influences, we can better anticipate how to communicate successfully.

So how do you determine whether your spouse is influenced by feelings or facts?

How to Know if Your Spouse is Influenced by Facts

People who are primarily influenced by facts aren’t driven to seek out approval from their spouses. Instead, they want objective information and hard data to back up what their spouse is telling or asking of them. They make their decisions based strictly on the information available. Not how they feel about it.

A fact-driven person appreciates when their spouse takes objective data into account. Fact driven people also doesn’t let the emotions of the moment overshadow them. They place greater value on cold, hard facts than on the warm fuzzies of the moment.

In our book, Love Talk, we share an example of Steve and Patti, a couple who get into a disagreement over which route Patti should take home from work. Steve is primarily fact-driven, and he’s hurt and angry because Patti doesn’t take his advice to take a specific, faster route to pick him up from work. Instead, Patti takes a longer route and picks up coffee on the way. She is perplexed when he’s upset, rather than thankful for the coffee.

In this instance, fact-driven Steve would have preferred that Patti take the faster route.  His request was based on the facts he’d gathered from that afternoon’s traffic report. He ends up viewing her as inattentive instead.

If you want to influence your fact-driven spouse, you need to rely more on objective information than on how you feel about a specific issue or situation. And when your spouse makes a request of you, it’s crucial that you pause for a moment and take stock of the facts, rather than the emotions of the moment. Emotions can end up overruling your spouse’s primary desire in any given situation. So, take a moment to sort out your feelings and weigh them against the facts before you respond.

How to Know if Your Spouse is Influenced by Feelings

Remember Patti in our example? Even though she takes a different route to pick up Steve, she is upset when she loses his approval. After all, she picked up coffee for him–so he should be happy about that, right? But the opposite ends up being true.

People who are influenced by feelings tend to seek out their spouse’s approval above all else. More than anything, they fear losing approval. So if your spouse seems to be greatly influenced by whether or not you approve of them, chances are they’re feelings-driven.

If you want to influence your feelings-driven spouse, take a walk in their shoes. Be more empathic and try to see the situation from their perspective. Emotions can sometimes override primary desires or objectively factual information, so take a moment to step back and see where they’re coming from.

You need to be able to reflect back their emotions rather than fighting with them or attempting to suppress them. No number of cold, hard facts is going to influence them more powerfully than an empathic response and respect for their feelings at the moment. Once you level with them from an emotional standpoint, it will be much easier to present them with the facts you’ve gathered.

Learn to Speak One Another’s Language More Fluently

Need help unraveling your communication with your spouse? Our book, Love Talk, will help you and your spouse level up your conversations and mutual understanding. We’ll show you how to work with one another’s primary communication influences–whether facts or feelings–and come out on the other side with a stronger relationship than ever before.

The Love Talk Couples Kit is a great way to get started–take a look at that here.

Are you influenced more by facts or feelings? What about your spouse? Let us know in the comments!

One Comment

  • This is great stuff!!!

    We recently learned (and have been sharing with others) about “meeting emotion with emotion”…if one spouse is sharing a concern or frustration in an emotional way, the response to it should also be at an emotional level…i.e. EMPATHY. In other words, we don’t meet emotion with a bunch of facts.

    Similarly, a factual conversation shouldn’t be tuned into an emotional discussion!


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