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Why do I need to understand my partner?

January 18, 2011

What the Experts Say…

“Validation is simply putting yourself in your partner’s shoes and imagining his or her emotional state. It is then a simple matter to let your mate know that you understand those feelings and consider them valid, even if you don’t share them. Validation is an amazingly effective technique …. When your partner feels validated, he or she will feel much more comfortable confiding in you, and much more open to hearing your perspective as well.” (John Gottman, Ph. D., leading marriage researcher, in his book Why Marriages Succeed or Fail)

In Other Words…

If we want our partners to listen and try to understand our points of view, we much first be willing to consider theirs. Even if we don’t agree with our partner’s view, we can still appreciate that their perceptions and feelings have value. The more we value our partners’ feelings, the more willing they will be to give value to ours.

How This Applies to You…

Steve Covey, the famous business guru, counsels that we should seek to understand the other person’s point of view before trying to share our own. When we truly understand our partners and their feelings, we can be more compassionate and helpful. And, as we show that understanding, our partners will be more open to us, and our points of view. Any time we are tempted to argue with our partner, we are wise to take time to understand their points of view first.

To Find Out More…

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

For an excellent books focused on marriage, read Why Marriages Succeed or Fail by John Gottman or The Marriage Garden by H. Wallace Goddard and James P. Marshall.


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