Your partner: âI can’t believe you had lunch with Tim and Stacey without me. You know, I would have liked to come, but instead I was home alone with the kids. I would have liked you to tell me. “
You: âIt was just a last minute thing. I am sure we will see them again soon. You overreact. “
Free time! Let’s hit pause on this conversation. You know where it’s going. Let’s be honest: we’ve all been there. We’ve probably all been on both sides of this conversation. I will be the first to speak; my emotions were downplayed, and I was the husband who downplayed my wife’s emotions.
Remember, the key to healthy communication is listening. Often times, our spouse just needs someone to listen and validate their feelings. Wait a second – my partner wants me to validate his feelings? What do you mean by validating my spouse? I’m so glad you asked. Let’s see what validation means.
Validation is the act of helping someone feel heard and understood. When your spouse comes to you to share their feelings, it’s really about listening to them and living the moment with them. It is showing interest in what they have to say and valuing their emotions, words and thoughts. Often times when we share our feelings, we are not looking for advice; we are looking for validation. We want to know that what we feel is valid and that our thoughts have value. Researchers have found that validation is essential to our relational, physical, and emotional health.
Here are some thoughts on how to validate your spouse’s feelings:
Remember that you are validating feelings and that everyone’s feelings are valid. Why they are feeling what they are feeling is not as important as addressing the emotions they are expressing.
“Once you are able to let go of the content (which you might not agree with) and focus on how they feel (which is still valid), you can support them.” , advises Tamara Thompson, marriage and family licensee. therapist.
HOW TO VALIDATE
What can you do?
Thompson offers a few steps to show validation.
1. Listen, listen, listen. Listen to understand the other person’s feelings. It’s not about you. Do not try to fix or fix the problem.
2. Show empathy. You may disagree with the problem, but you can understand his emotions.
3. Repeat what they share. Show that you are paying attention and that you understand. To ask questions.
4. Normalize their feelings. A lot of people would probably feel what they feel in this situation. Say that!
5. See through their eyes. You’ve probably heard the old adage, âBefore you judge a man, walk a mile in his stead. It’s so true. Try to see the experience through your partner’s eyes.
6. Touch them. (Ask if they want to be hit first). Hold her hand, rub her back, or give her a hug. Physical touch is powerful. For some, this is their primary love language, and it shows that you are connecting with them.
Side note: If things are heated up, this might not be the best time to make contact.
7. Use your body. Make facial expressions, shake your head, bend over, make eye contact. Don’t just stand there with your arms crossed or staring into the distance. To be engaged.
Back to you and your spouse. Instead of saying “You are overreacting,” try saying, “I understand why you are frustrated” or “You are right, you have every right to be upset. Look for answers that validate the feelings they expressed. You may disagree with them (and that’s okay), but their feelings matter. If you think you are not doing it right, now is the time to start validating your spouse.
Mitchell Qualls is the COO of First Things First, a nonprofit family advocacy organization. Email him at email@example.com.