Friday, May 28, 2010
There is a chapter in "Fighting for Your Marriage" titled "Being There". The suggestions sound like common sense ways to support our partners, but often we overlook the obvious.
For example, when I see Everett struggling with something I might blurt out, "What's wrong?" His response, "Nothing." How much better to offer to talk. "Would you like to talk?" When you do that you listen supportively.
The book suggests:
Focus on your partner
Pay attention, do not multitask
Touch your partner while listening
Let your partner know you are listening
Do not interrupt
Make your partner feel understood
I would add that you can make him/her feel understood through reflective listening. Do not give your partner solutions or advice or tell him/her what went wrong. Trust him/her to work out solutions to his/her own problem. Support that. You will find more about how to do reflective listening in my book, "Becoming Soul Mates".