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 one of the most important ways is by listening.
This focused attention helps your partner feel valued and loved. And it's 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. If this doesn’t feel natural to you, no worries! Studies show that this is a skill that can be learned.
Listening is one of the key ingredients in a healthy relationship. One of the skills I teach my couples is called mirroring.
Mirroring is accurately 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.
Mirroring might go something like this: 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 curious, focused attention, 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 we feel safe, we want to do the fun stuff like nurture, play and mate. Secondly, this skill virtually obliterates misunderstanding because you’re reflecting and checking in to make sure you heard the message.
It’s fool proof. So 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!
If you would like to talk to me personally about how to have a more passionate and supportive marriage click here to set up a Discovery Session with me.