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Friday, May 28, 2010

Being There for Your Partner


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".

2 comments:

  1. Good post. I have the couples I see practice this while in session. Just listening and responding to the feelings of the other. Acknowledging what is said. It is shocking to know couples don't hear each other because they are too busy defending their own perspective.

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  2. Thank you for your comment. The greatest pitfall in relationship probably is blame and defensiveness. It is hard to learn how to listen reflectively.

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