November 19, 2021
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tips & tricks for growth
how to build empathy in marriage
Have you ever whipped up your favorite batch of homemade cookies to find out in the first bite that you left out that one key ingredient that makes all the difference? Empathy is that key ingredient to a great recipe for a healthy marriage that you don’t want to forget.
A large body of research tells us the practice of empathy is essential to a thriving, happy, healthy marriage. However, many people reduce the idea of empathy to it being just “touchy-feely” or something that some people are born having, but others not so much.
Here are some steps for couples to take to building empathy:
Not to judge. Not to fix. And not even to retort. Listen simply to grasp what your spouse is feeling with as much accuracy as possible.
You may listen and think, Gee, I’d never get so riled up (or excited, or sad) over this. Avoid judging your spouse’s feelings based on how you would respond in the same situation. Instead, acknowledge to yourself that these are their feelings (and not yours).
Namely, your spouse’s emotional response. This may take some conscious effort on your part, especially if they are emotionally responsive to a situation in a way you wouldn’t. Truly put yourself in their shoes.
Take what you’ve come to understand from the previous steps and respond in compassion.
☑️ Practice vulnerability.
Empathy is best built when both people in the marriage open up about situations, feelings, and thoughts they simply want the other to better understand.
Empathy is an all-important ingredient for a healthy marriage, but building it takes time.
5 things every happily married couple does every day
Everyone wants a happy marriage. Not everyone makes it there. How do I know if I have a healthy marriage? What is the secret to a successful marriage? What formula makes a marriage last? How can my marriage just be happier?
How do I get from Point A in my marriage to Point B?
Data has demystified marriage. Research has turned so-called secrets into strategies. We now have data on the five things happily married people do every single day. The list is out. The research is from many sources, conducted in various ways, and covers a multitude of marital territory. The suggested daily habits are incredibly consistent and reliable. Study after study. List after list.
Download this FREE easy-to-follow guide to the five essential stops to make on your daily marital commute!
what we’re lovin’
This week’s picks come from John Daum, husband of 27 years to his wife Monica, a Dad of 5, and a Healthy Relationship Facilitator here at First Things First. Take a peek at his recommendations for this week because they are just THAT GOOD. Check ’em out 👀:
Don’t lose your curiosity about your spouse! These are my favorite books to spur on late-night conversations and to keep discovering new things about my wife:
🔀 201 Relationship Questions: The Couple’s Guide to Building Trust and Emotional Intimacy– My wife and I have kept a copy of this in the car and broken it out to have some meaningful car ride conversations.
✅ Quizzes for Couples: Fun Questions to Complete Together and Strengthen Your Relationship (Activity Books for Couples Series)– This can be fun on so many levels! You can each take a quiz and then compare notes or take it up a notch by trying to guess how your spouse would answer the questions.
📖 Questions for Couples Journal: 400 Questions to Enjoy, Reflect, and Connect with Your Partner (Relationship Books for Couples)– This book goes a little deeper but it’s fun to compare notes! Conversations breed transparency, which breeds trust, which breeds more transparency, and so on. End result: Emotional intimacy. Boom!
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