One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.
When you take the time and effort to ask questions and sincerely listen to their response, you build respect and connection. And your spouse is more likely to hear your perspective.
Some sentence starters to ask for more exploration of their perspective:
Listening to understand will generally be more effective than defensive responses.
Minimizing or denying that there has been a difficult feeling is unhelpful.
Why might someone minimize another’s feelings? If their own parents minimized or became too critical when they showed feelings, they may have learned to hold in feelings rather than show it. Then they are likely to minimize or criticize when their spouse shows feelings.Beware of overreacting
Overreacting, as if a small problem is a disaster, is also unhelpful.
Why might someone overreact? If their own parents overreacted, then they may have learned to treat everything with alarm.
There may be times that the speaker is saying something that you do not agree with, and you may feel compelled to show your disapproval. Beware of using the word BUT.
the word BUT …
INSTEAD of the word BUT, use words that show that you believe that what the other says has value:
Change BUT to YES … AND ….
You don’t have to agree with it all; find what makes some sense to you.
It doesn’t mean that you have to agree with everything your spouse just said, you can validate their words and add your own perspective.
YES, [what you agree with] AND [your views]
“Yes, the long lines at the airports are so annoying. And, at the same time, if we don’t fly we’ll miss my sister’s wedding.”
Don’t just say these words, train yourself to think in this way.