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Exploring Womanhood > Relationships > Articles

Honor and Respect Your Partner's Feelings as if They Are Your Own
By Jackie Black, Ph.D.

Meeting Your MatchDear Dr. Jackie:
I have been married for almost nine months and I have noticed that my husband and I have terrific problem-solving skills when the problem we are solving is pretty straightforward and neither of us is upset. We both listen carefully and respectfully, and we both work on being creative about solutions. But Dr. Jackie, I notice if I am worried, or upset, or if my feelings are hurt my husband is critical, speaks to me harshly or rudely and will often dismiss my feelings, and we never talk about the problem much less solve it. What's up with that and what can I do?

Answer:
I want to focus on an essential relationship behavior that you will want to practice, become good at and use frequently with your Honey:
. . . Honor and respect your partner's feelings as if they are your own
Our feelings are the barometer of our outside existential lives. Our feelings let us know how things are going for us inside ourselves. Feelings exist because they do, in and of themselves. We cannot choose to change, modify, not feel, or otherwise positively or negatively affect our feelings. The only choices we have are directly related to our behavior.

Feelings are as normal as hunger and fatigue. When we dismiss, diminish, ridicule, criticize, mock, belittle, disparage or demean anyone's feelings we are acting in the most disrespectful and unloving way. Next time your Honey (or anyone in your life, for that matter) expresses a feeling, consider hearing the feeling as a sacred offering. Be curious and compassionate.

Remember: It is not your job to fix anything. She or he is not broken. It isn't necessary to offer insights, suggestions, give answers or otherwise provide brilliant advice or express profound guidance. Don't get distracted by the content of the event. Stay with the feeling(s). Your Sweetheart is experiencing and expressing normal, natural human emotion.

Here are 3 simple, loving behaviors:

  1. Listen with your heart.

  2. Tell your partner that he or she matters to you and that his or her feelings are important to you.

  3. Ask if there is anything you can do or say right now that would be helpful.

Believe that your presence and your caring go a long way to soothe hurt and upset hearts. Very often people know what they need or what might be helpful. When they don't, the 3 simple, loving behaviors are enough!!! Try it and let me know how it goes! Remember, only You can make it happen!

2010 Dr. Jackie Black, LLC All rights reserved
This article may be re-published with appropriate attribution to the author including name, web site (www.DrJackieBlack.com), and email address (DrJackie@DrJackieBlack.com).

Dr. JackieAbout the Author:
Is it time to repair and revitalize your marriage? Dr. Jackie Black, International Relationship Expert, Educator, Author and Coach, offers advice, information, and support to couples in trouble and couples facing illness so they can rebuild and restore the closeness in their relationships and live their best life and love life together. Subscribe to Dr. Jackie's free monthly Relationship Tip Sheet and read about Dr. Jackie's coaching services at www.DrJackieBlack.com. Watch for Dr. Jackie's new books Couples and Money: Cracking the code to ending the #1 conflict in marriage, and People Talking: Cracking the code to being understood.

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