When you are married for a while, you have the advantage of common experiences, you know what makes each other tick. You have a sense of what is their objective in this interaction. What it is they really need from you in this moment. (Yeah, sometimes, you’ll get it wrong, but if you were paying attention all along, you’ll get it right more of the time.)
— Are they trying to persuade me? Do they need my agreement or acquiescence to something they really want to do?
— Do they really want me to push back and question their thought process?
— Do they want me to push back so they can push harder and solidify their resolve?
— Do they need something more tangible from me?
— Do they just want to vent, or are they looking for real solutions?
The sooner you know the answer, the sooner you can better know how to proceed.
— Sometimes, you can start down a path and your spouse just moves along and you know you’re going down the right path.
— Sometimes, you’ll get resistance and you know you have to pivot to another approach.
— Sometimes, you will just have to ask: ”What kind of support do you want from me here?”
And know that as humans we are constantly changing; our needs and wants change all the time. So if you ‘got it wrong’, it’s OK, just provide the support needed this time. Don’t overthink it or question your spouse “why do you change on me” or blame yourself ‘why didn’t I see that?”