Say what you notice.

When you notice something going on for your spouse, bring it up. This shows them that you care and that you are trying to understand them. Share what you have observed and what you imagine to be true based on those observations. Even though what you imagine may be wrong, it’s great to share your thoughts and open the conversation.

“I notice that [you are pacing]. I imagine that [you are feeling stressed]. Am I right?” “I notice that [you are teary]. I imagine that [you are sad about this big change in our lives]. Is that it?”

State what you are observing, not your interpretation. Not, “I notice that you are [stressed/ angry/ frustrated].”

If you are the one being asked, you can answer with “Yes, that’s correct” or clarify by explaining what is really going on for you.

You can also use this on the flip. “I notice that I’m not giving you my full attention. I imagine that must be frustrating to you.”

“I notice … I imagine …”

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