Humans have a deep desire to feel understood, and without empathy, you can’t truly understand a person. If you are in a relationship, ask yourself when was the last time your partner listened to you and when you really felt heard? How did you about it, compared to the previous times? In a committed relationship, empathy is essential for the relationship to survive and thrive in the long run. Empathy is the willingness to feel what your spouse is feeling and to understand their inner world. Empathy for each other becomes very challenging during a conflict. If you have hurt your partner’s thoughts and feelings by doing or saying something to them, and want to empathize with her without defending yourself, you will need to have skills and a lot of practice.
Couples, who have mastered empathy have dramatic improvements in their relationships or marriages, can resolve their differences more effectively. Here are three skills that will help you to improve your ability and willingness to empathize when it comes to dealing with your significant other’s feelings.
1. Listen without judgment.
You can’t empathize with your partner until you washed away all of your preconceived ideas, notions, and judgments about her needs and feelings. When you take charge of your girlfriend’s feelings, you are blaming and judging. In an attempt to protect yourself, you judge your partner. If you want to empathize with your spouse in a way that will bring the two of you closer and heal the wound that you caused, you should fully focus on what your partner is telling you. And to do this, start practicing how to listen more attentively and be curious about your partner’s feelings.
2. Search for feelings.
During the heat of an intense discussion, it’s easy for couples to forget the facts of what happens or what were they talking about. It’s at this point where couples find themselves in a rut. They fight over who is “right,” or who is “wrong” and yet both opinions are valid. Being rational about the facts makes both partners feel empathy because it invalidates emotions. This is why it’s so important on focusing on what your partner is feeling and listens to what they want and need. When you listen to your spouse’s feelings without any distractions and judgments, it becomes much easier to understand their perspective. You see empathy is very personal and vulnerable. To accommodate your spouse’s difficult feelings, you will need to connect with that feeling within yourself.
3. Validate your partner’s perspective.
You don’t have to discredit your perspective to validate your partner’s perspective. Empathizing with your partner’s indicates that you understand why your girlfriend or wife has those feelings and needs. Behind every complaint or conflict in a serious relationship, there is a deep personal longing. Making the decision to express empathy with your partner becomes easy when you realize this feeling, rather than viewing your spouse’s complaint in a personal way and defending yourself.
Empathy requires practice, and if couples start learning the skills, we talked above, dealing with issues with issues of any relationship, both inside and outside, becomes easier. Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that you need to receive empathy to feel empathy.