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Do you hear what I feel?

August 29, 2012

Here’s a great idea…

In their book, Reconcilable Differences, Andrew Christensen and Neil S. Jacobson say,
“If you can look at conflicts not with the goal of blaming and fault finding but with the goal of understanding the strong emotions that drive each of you, you can learn more about yourself and your partner individually as well as how you interact.” (p. 11)

In other words…

When we practice an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, pretty soon we’re all blind and toothless. This is especially true in intimate relationships where we may be so worried about defending our side of the story and being right that we don’t hear the pain and need in our partners.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life…

The next time you have a disagreement, instead of blaming and finding fault with each other, try understanding. Why is this important to your partner? Why does this evoke such strong feelings? Ask your partner to tell you more about the emotions and needs behind the disagreement. Try to express what you think your partner is feeling. Invite corrections and clarifications. When your partner feels fully understood and valued, he or she may be willing to understand your view.

To find out more…

about couple relationships, check out The Marriage Garden program at, follow us at or contact your local county Extension agent. You might also read Reconcilable Differences.

One Comment
  1. September 6, 2012 1:33 am

    so true. Because no one wants to be blamed.

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