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But my partner’s wrong!

December 21, 2010

What the Experts Say…

“Focus on your partner’s feelings instead of the facts. You don’t have to agree with your partner’s point of view, as long as you give importance to the feelings associated with it.” Advice from Patricia Love and Steven Stosny, marriage therapists, in their book, How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It.

In Other Words…

We often argue about facts while missing the bigger truths hidden in feelings. While our partner may be wrong about some details, their feelings give us vital clues about their hearts. They may be trying to tell us that they are hurt, lonely, confused, overwhelmed … When we listen to those feelings and show that we care about them, we will respond more helpfully than when we argue about perceptions.

How This Applies to You…

This week try to stop your automatic negative responses to your partner’s statements. Pause to look at the feelings behind your partner’s words. While the statements might come across as harsh or critical, maybe your partner feels insecure or hurt. Even if you think their feelings don’t make sense, show them that their feelings are important to you. Listen. Try to understand. Ask about their feelings. You partner may be less upset when they know their feelings matter to you.

To Find Out More…

For an excellent (and free!) program on marriage, see The Marriage Garden at Arkansas Families.

For more in-depth reading, we recommend How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking about It by Patricia Love and Steven Stotsy or The Marriage Garden by H. Wallace Goddard and James P. Marshall.

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