It's that time of year again when the candy, flowers and teddy bears come out of hiding.
It's the Hallmark holiday that reminds you to tell that special someone you love them.
There are many ways to say "I love you" and this year, in honor of Valentine's Day, let's focus on one of the most important.
That is....drum roll please...listen to your partner. You HEARD right. Really listening helps them feel valued and loved. This can be easier than you think. You don't have to fix or defend anything. You don't even have to agree. You just have to listen. Easy peasy, right?
Well, not exactly. Most of the time it's not our “go to” response. But the good news is, studies show that listening is a skill that can be learned.
And because listening is one of the key ingredients in a healthy relationship it’s an important skill to learn if you want to have a great marriage.
One of the listening skills I teach my couples is called "mirroring."
Mirroring is, reflecting back the content of your partner's message followed by checking in for clarity.
Since communication always involves two perspectives, it's important to try and understand your partner's world with attention and care.
Here's an example: Your partner expresses something important. Rather than jumping in with how that makes YOU feel, try saying, "So what you're saying is..." or "Let me see if I understand you..." Then you check in asking, "Did I get you?" or "Is there more you want to say about that?"
It's a willingness to suspend your own perception for just a moment and be fully part of your partner's world.
Mirroring does a couple of important things.
- It cultivates a safe connection between you and your partner.
When someone feels truly heard, defenses are softened and a feeling of safety begins to blossom. When we feel safe, we want to do the fun stuff like nurture, play, and mate.
(a.k.a - romantic Valentine evening;)
- Secondly, this skill virtually obliterates misunderstanding.
Because you're reflecting and checking in to be sure you heard correctly, it's foolproof!
The next time you're tempted to give your partner that brilliant piece of insight into their problem, try a little mirroring. You might be surprised at how well you connect!
So go ahead and pick out your favorite chocolates, sentimental cards, and stuffed bears.
But remember to give your partner one of the most important gifts you can this Valentine's Day...
the gift of listening.
Happy Valentine's Day!
Want more tips?
Below is a little cheat sheet I give to my clients to help them communicate more effectively.
If you would like to talk to me personally about how to have a more passionate and supportive marriage, just click here for more information about how to set up a Discovery Session with me.