The ability to understanding your partner’s emotions is critical for a healthy romantic relationship.
When you’re able to correctly identify an emotion your partner is expressing, or understand why he is feeling a certain way, you can respond to their needs more effectively. For example, by offering support or talking through a concern they might have. We all want to be seen, heard and understood. We especially want this from our partners. We want our partners to say, Yes, I am listening. Yes, I get it. Yes, I understand your pain. I’m sorry it hurts, and I am here. We want our partners to be interested in and to care about what’s happening inside our hearts.Understanding your partner in a relationship is the key to being best friends.
Below, are some ways through which you can effectively achieve such an understanding.
Be fully present.
Are you able to listen while distracted? Chances are, probably not very well. One of the most genuine ways to show that you are invested in your partner is by offering undivided attention as often as possible. It’s important to make listening to your partner a priority if you want the relationship to grow.
When your partner is talking, you may not need to think out your responses. One of your major roles is to be there to share human experience. When you allow your partner to talk without commenting or interrupting, it gives them permission to fully express themselves. Sometimes it may take a while to put their words together, especially if it is a really difficult situation and so a listening ear is a huge plus.
Try not to formulate your responses as you’re listening to your partner. This only keeps you from deeply digesting what they’re saying, and hinders true understanding. When your partner has finished speaking, try paraphrasing what they said and repeat it back to them. This simple action shows you were listening. When your partner feels understood, they will naturally reciprocate with curiosity about what you think and feel and you’ll have an opening to share your perspective
Ask them what they need from you. This is huge! Sometimes people want advice or an opinion, other times they just want to be heard and need you to be a sounding board. Let your partner decide what they need even when you think you know best! This is all part of building intimacy and really seeing who your partner is.
Avoid complaints and defensiveness.
Defensiveness and complaints are toxic relationship patterns that prevent you from really connecting intimately. When someone critiques and complains, they inadvertently put their partner on the defensive.
Manage your own stuff.
Interestingly, understanding our partners also involves understanding ourselves. It’s hard to manage all the stuff that bubbles up and gets in the way of simply listening when you have a ton of feelings and needs prickling at you. This is why it’s important to slow down and spend some time connecting to your own feelings and needs. To be in tune with your feelings, you need to pay attention to your bodily sensations. This helps you identify what is happening to you internally, so you can then share it with your partner.
Understanding our partners requires patience on our part. It requires that we listen, watch and learn. It requires us to turn our full attention toward them. This isn’t easy and it takes practice but it also gives our partners a beautiful gift: the gift of being seen for who they are.