Words to Use: “I want to understand you.”

All of us want to be seen, heard and understood. We especially want this from our spouses. We want our partners to be interested in and to care about what’s happening inside our hearts. This is a basic human need.

With real curiosity and humility, seek to really understand your spouse. “I want to understand you.” To understand doesn’t necessarily mean to agree. Rather, understanding simply means listening fully and intently. It means absorbing what they’re saying.

Listen to understand and then make sure you actually understood accurately. “I think I’m understanding you. But let me check: What I am hearing is …” And allow your spouse to clarify. Stay with this process until your partner has no need to further clarify their perspective, because they know you get it.

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