Three Keys To A Happy Marriages (Part I: Empathy)

In my work, I find that so many couples forget to set and keep a solid foundation in the beginning of their relationship. 

They don’t have the tough conversations, they forget to nurture their relationships and eventually…

...the structure of their relationships starts falling down one piece at a time because their foundation was never solid to start with.

A solid foundation of trust, intimacy and communication are the keystones to any long-lasting healthy relationship.  I call these three tenets the True Love Triangle(TM).

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If any area of the True Love Triangle is weak – the triangle may collapse.

Today, we're going to dig in to intimacy and connection a little deeper.

In order to create a true connection, rebuild trust and be able to finally feel heard and understood you and your partner need to work on empathy, attunement and positive interactions.

Let’s start with empathy and then next week, I’ll talk more about attunement and positive interactions. 

Empathy...is the ability to understand and share the feelings of the other.  

It is NOT sympathy or agreement.  

Empathy is about being with your partner (or the other person) and hearing them and understanding their feelings without judgment and from their perspective.

Click here to watch this quick video from Brene Brown to more fully understand empathy.

When you are able to develop and use empathy the benefits are amazing.  Here are just a few. 

  • You will become a better friend, spouse, parent, leader and follower.
  • You better understand the needs of those around you.
  • You can deal with others negativity and not take it as your own.
  • You will learn to motivate others around you.
  • The way you view the world will be more open, profound and interesting.
  • You will deepen the connection with your spouse and others who are important to you.

CAN YOU LEARN TO BE MORE EMPATHETIC??

You don’t have to be born with the empathy gene…you can improve your empathy with some simple tricks.

  1. Practice looking for the “other perspective” in every-day situations.  For example, if the guy on the high-way cuts you off, try to come up with a story from his perspective.  Maybe he’s on his way to see his daughter in the hospital.  Maybe it was an accident and now he’s sitting in his car feeling so terrible about the fear that must have caused you.  Maybe he never learned how to merge correctly because he never had the opportunity to do so. 
  2. A couple of times a day take some deep, cleansing mindful breaths and notice others around you.  Can you feel energy from them?  What do you think they are thinking?  How do you think their life affected them today?
  3. Get curious and become a radical listener (I’ll teach you this skill in Module 3)

READY TO BECOME AN EXPERT EMPATHIZER?

Be honest with yourself and answer the following questions.  Better yet - use these questions as a starter with your spouse!

  1. Are you empathetic towards your partner? If not, how can you be more empathetic?
  2. Do you reserve your opinions and try to understand your partner’s perspective in most situations?  What holds you back from trying to see your partner’s perspective? (i.e., anger, defensiveness, wanting to be right, wanting to “win” the fight, etc.)
  3. Do you believe that being more empathetic towards your partner can strengthen your connection and intimacy?  If so, how do you think things will change if YOU are more empathetic towards your partner.

Remember, ACTION CREATES CHANGE.  I would love to hear what action you are taking to create change, comment below and I’ll make sure to reply back to personally!

Valerie Kolick, therapist and relationship expert has created this blog to help couples and individuals create happiness and joy in their marriages and lives. If this is your first time here, LEARN MORE here and don’t forget to Download Your FREE Extraordinary Relationship Workbook.

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