Restore Your Marriage & Fall in Love Again (5 page)

BOOK: Restore Your Marriage & Fall in Love Again
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I will make validating my partner a daily practice, knowing that it communicates love and acceptance of who he/she is.

 

 

PUT IT INTO PRACTICE

 

You and your spouse are always expressing your emotions in one way or another. Whether it is anger, hurt, confusion, sadness, enthusiasm or joy, you have good reason for feeling the way you do.

 

When you validate your partner, it is like telling him or her that it is okay to feel what he/she is feeling. Validation is very powerful and makes your spouse feel accepted for who they are.

 

Unlike thoughts, feelings cannot be controlled, but they can be influenced by thoughts and actions. Validating, comforting and accepting your partner affects his/her emotions. And it affects the relationship.

 

In the following week, practice validating each other. Take turns sharing how you feel about something and letting one another know that his/her feelings make sense. (For this exercise choose something unrelated to your relationship.)

 

Give your partner feedback on his/her attempts to validate you. If you felt validated, what was most helpful to you and why? If you did not feel validated, why? Tell your partner what you need from him/her.

 

 

Following are a few ways that can help to validate emotions:

 

Repeat or paraphrase back to your partner what was said so he/she knows he’s been heard.

 

Nod your head often to demonstrate you are listening and accepting of him/her.

 

Listen without interrupting or opposing.

 

Maintain good eye contact and focused attention.

 

Say something validating such as:

• No wonder you feel that way.
• I don’t blame you.
• I would do the same thing too.
• Gosh, that’s not fair.
• I’m sorry.
• That makes sense.

 

 

EXAMPLE: Tina tells Aaron her husband: “I had a bad day today. Everything went wrong.” She spends the next several minutes talking about what happened. Aaron looks at Tina and listens without imposing his viewpoint. He nods his head and repeats back some of what he heard. “I hear you saying that you ordered the wrong part by mistake and the job was delayed as a result.” Tina knows that Aaron is keeping up with the story and she feels safe to continue. Aaron empathizes with her emotions and says, “I’m sorry. That would be frustrating.” Tina feels validated by her husband. She does not fear feeling foolish or rejected. And even if she overreacted a bit, she knows it is okay to be open and honest with him.

 

 

THINK ABOUT IT

 

To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow - this is a human offering that can border on miraculous. ~Elizabeth Gilbert

 

Friendship is the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words. ~George Eliot

 

A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself-and especially to feel, or not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at any moment is fine with them. That's what real love amounts to - letting a person be what he really is. ~Jim Morrison

 

When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion. ~Dale Carnegie

RELATIONSHIP BUILDER EIGHT
 
Offer Sympathy Not Solutions

 

When your spouse is having a dilemma, it only seems natural to want to help solve it immediately. You may think it is your responsibility to fix everything and make it better. But is that really the best way to help your partner? Believe it or not, solving the problem is not what your spouse needs from you. When your partner has a dilemma and begins to share it with you, the first thing he or she wants is for you to simply listen and be there for him or her. This goes for both men and women, although some men may be more tolerant of immediate problem-solving efforts from their wives than are women.

 

You partner wants to know you understand and empathize with her rather than tell her what she should do. She may want you to show her some compassion and tenderness--hold her, comfort her, or encourage her. For example, Mia is having troubles with her new employee and his lack of compliance to company policies. She does not want to hear Mark’s suggestions on the kind of disciplinary action she should take. But she would appreciate if he were to tell her that he understands her dilemma and is confident in her leadership skills and decision-making. A hug may be reassuring to her as well. That is all she may need from him. He believes in her. He is there to support her and love her. It is as simple as that!

 

As tempting as it can be, it is wise to keep your advice and solutions to yourself (at least initially) the next time your partner is going through some problem. First and foremost, remember that your partner wants your compassion. Then, your partner may be more open and interested in hearing your ideas or words of wisdom. Then again, it may not even be necessary or helpful.

 

 

SAY IT & BELIEVE IT
Read aloud (individually or together):

 

When
(
spouse’s name
)
is feeling distressed, more than anything else, he/she wants to have my sympathy and unconditional love. In my eagerness to help, I may overlook this need and immediately attempt to solve the problem. Whether or not I believe I have the solution or answers, it may not be in _____ best interest to offer any advice if it is not asked for. _____ may simply want to know that I share his/her pain and that I care enough to just be there and listen with love and compassion.

 

I will no longer take immediate action and make it my responsibility to solve _____’s problems. I will not tell him/her what to do or how to do it without being asked. I will, however, offer my sympathy and support in any way that I can. _____ may need to know that I believe in him/her and his/her ability to come to his/her own solutions. I will demonstrate my confidence in him/her. Instead of focusing on fixing the problem, I will listen and provide comfort and encouragement to _____.

 

When my partner wants my sympathy and not solutions, I will be more understanding and compassionate rather than solution focused.

 

 

PUT IT INTO PRACTICE

 

Take turns to each share something with your partner that causes you distress (something unrelated to your relationship). As one of you listens, do not offer any advice or solutions. Simply listen with compassion and sympathy. Be aware of your inclination to solve the problem, to offer your advice, and to tell your partner what to do. How difficult is it for you to hold back from trying to fix the problem? Explain. Talk about when and if you need your partner’s solutions and the kind of input that helps you most.

 

 

THINK ABOUT IT

 

Strengthen me by sympathizing with my strength not my weakness. ~Amos Bronson Alcott

 

Some people think only intellect counts: knowing how to solve problems, knowing how to get by, knowing how to identify an advantage and seize it. But the functions of intellect are insufficient without courage, love, friendship, compassion and empathy.
~Dean Koontz

 

Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I may not forget you. ~William Arthur

 

A sympathetic heart is like a spring of pure water bursting forth from the mountain side. ~Anonymous

 

Most of us, swimming against the tides of trouble the world know nothing about, need only a bit of praise or encouragement and we will make the goal. ~Jerome Fleishman

RELATIONSHIP BUILDER NINE
 
Affirm Your Partner’s Positive Qualities

 

We may notice and appreciate the good qualities we see in our partner, but we usually do not say anything to affirm him or her. We can say things like, “I enjoy your sense of humor.” “I love that you are so flexible.” “I know I can rely on you because you keep your word.” “Your energy is contagious!” “That was so thoughtful of you.” “You are so beautiful.” “You displayed great strength and courage in taking that action.” “Your calm demeanor makes me feel safe.”

 

If we think about it, we can come up with a list of positive characteristics that we admire in our partners. Expressing our appreciation and respect to them can be very empowering. No one tires of hearing words that affirm that they are loved and cherished, that they have what it takes to succeed, that they are respected and admired. Actually, it not only empowers and comforts, it strengthens the bond of the relationship. It increases intimacy and romance.

 

When we share our thoughts of admiration and acknowledge the wonderful things we recognize and appreciate in our spouse, we are sending a very clear message of love and respect. He knows you are thinking about him. She knows that you care. He knows you believe in him. She feels encouraged. He gets a boost in confidence. She feels closer to you. He is strengthened to persist. She feels you love and adore her. He feels you have the respect for him that he always wanted.

 

Affirming one another can seem awkward or uncomfortable if it has not been a consistent practice in the couples’ relationship. However, couples quickly adapt and enjoy being affirmed and appreciated by their partners. Simple affirmations of your partner’s worth can encourage and remind her that she is special and loved. Affirming your partner can help build his self-esteem as your partner is reminded of his good qualities. These simple reminders can have positive lasting results in each person and in the relationship.

 

 

SAY IT & BELIEVE IT

Read aloud (individually or together):

 

(
Spouse’s name
)
has many great characteristics that I tend to not affirm often enough, if at all. I realize that this is one of the most effective ways to empower _____ and build his/her confidence and self-esteem. When _____ is affirmed by me, it lets him/her know he/she is appreciated. He/she is special to me. And that his/her good qualities do not go unnoticed.

 

Even when we are not getting along or seem to not like one another, affirming each other often reminds us that we do admire one another in many ways. And we remember how we have been affirmed. We like to hear it. It draws us closer. I want _____ to know how much I love and respect him/her. I will make it a healthy habit to remind him/her often. Whether in words or in writing, I will affirm _____.

 

I will express appreciation and respect to my spouse by affirming him/her often and acknowledging his/her good qualities.

 

 

PUT IT INTO PRACTICE

 

Read through the following list of positive characteristics and pick three that most closely describe your partner. Take turns and share the qualities you have chosen and why you have chosen them. Throughout the week, make a conscious effort to affirm your partner.*

 

Following is a list of a few positive characteristics that may describe your partner (be sure to add some of your own that may not be on this list).

 

THOUGHTFUL
SWEET
UNDERSTANDING
BEAUTIFUL
BRAVE
TRUSTWORTHY
POWERFUL
GENTLE
NURTURING
PRACTICAL
STABLE
OPTIMISITIC
A GREAT FRIEND
CREATIVE
IMAGINATIVE
CONSIDERATE
FUN
LOVING
COURAGEOUS
HONEST
SENSITIVE
DISCERNING
INTELLIGENT
INTERESTING
GENEROUS
GRACIOUS
EXPRESSIVE
ENERGETIC
STRONG
SUPPORTIVE
JOYFUL
OPTIMISTIC
HOPEFUL
TALENTED
CONFIDENT
CALM
FLEXIBLE
PRACTICAL
WISE
RELIABLE
AFFECTIONATE
LOYAL
PLAYLFUL
FUN
EXCITING
UNIQUE
SPECIAL
CARING
FUNNY
ORGANIZED
ADVENTUROUS
WARM
ACCEPTING
SMART
CHEERFUL
ENCOURAGING
ROMANTIC
SEXY
BOLD
AGREEABLE
SUPPORTIVE
AMBITIOUS
CHARISMATIC
HELPFUL
SPIRITUAL
LOGICAL
DEDICATED
TOLERANT
IMAGINATIVE
PEACEFUL
CHARMING
PATIENT

BOOK: Restore Your Marriage & Fall in Love Again
2.06Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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