October 22, 2021
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tips & tricks for growth
how to validate your spouse’s feelings
Your spouse: “I can’t believe you got lunch with Tim and Stacey without me. You know I would have liked to come, but instead, I was home alone with the kids. I wish you had told me.”
You: “It was just a last-minute thing. I’m sure we’ll see them again soon. You’re overreacting.”
Time out! Let’s press pause on this conversation. You know where this is going. Let’s be honest: We’ve all been there. We’ve probably all been on both sides of this conversation. I’ll be the first to step up; my emotions have been downplayed, and I’ve been the husband who downplayed my wife’s emotions.
Remember, the key to healthy communication is listening. Often, our spouse just needs someone to listen and validate their feelings.
Wait a second – my spouse wants me to validate their feelings? What do you mean by validating my spouse?
I’m so glad you asked. Let’s dive into what validation means.
Validation is the act of helping someone feel heard and understood. When your spouse comes to you to share their feelings, it’s genuinely listening and experiencing the moment with them. It’s showing interest in what they have to say and valuing their emotions, words, and thoughts. Often when we share our feelings, we aren’t seeking advice; we’re seeking validation. We want to know that what we feel is valid and our thoughts have worth. Researchers have found that validation is critical to our relational, physical, and emotional health.
Here are some thoughts on how to validate your spouse’s feelings:
Remember, you’re validating feelings and everyone’s feelings are valid. Why they feel the way they do isn’t as important as addressing the emotions they are expressing.
“Once you are able to let go of the content (which you may not agree with) and focus on how they are feeling (which is always valid), you will be able to support them,” advises Tamara Thompson, licensed marriage and family therapist.
5 tips for distancing from your in-laws
As a newlywed, establishing and navigating relationships with in-laws can be filled with tension and pitfalls. I recall the first significant conversation with my in-laws when I felt disrespected and disconnected. The conversation went something like this: “Hey, you never call. You never come by. Do you not like us?” I remember trying to gather my thoughts. My first reaction was, “OMG! I want nothing to do with them!” From there, I had to stop and consider what they were asking for, not what I was hearing. They wanted to be part of our lives but were pushing too hard to make that happen.
You may be saying, “There is nothing to consider! They said something I don’t like, and there is nothing to think about and nothing we need to talk about, ever.” I get it. I really do.
Here are some things to keep in mind if you need some distance from your in-laws:
• Understand that their family dynamics or interactions are different from yours.
• Be willing to create a relationship with the in-laws.
• Their behavior probably comes from a place of care.
• Living away from them can provide natural boundaries.
• You and your spouse are a FAMILY.
When you and your spouse said, “I do,” you united your families as well. Learning the rules of engagement for each family requires time, effort, and patience. You may have heard the old saying: “Good fences make good neighbors.” That saying also applies to families. When you have healthy boundaries, it can prevent in-laws from being outlaws.
what we’re lovin’
This week’s picks come from Reggie Madison, a husband, Dad of 7 (Yes, you read that right, he and his wife are wayyy out numbered!), and the Community Relations Director here at First Things First! Take a peek at his recommendations for this week because they are just THAT GOOD. Check ’em out 👀:
💸 Love and Money- By Rodney Cox and Don Blanton- Got a chance to meet one of the authors. He’s a great guy with a heart to see marriages thrive. This book aims to help couples use money to help them accomplish their dreams together, not bring division in the marriage.
📗 Crossing the Tracks for Love- by Ruby K. Payne PhD – (Older Book, 2005) People that come into marriage from very different backgrounds and societal classes can run into difficulties that hinder the marriage from thriving. Payne examines the effects of some of these potential differences and helps couples and those helping couples turn those challenges into marital strengths.
💻 Sammy Clu TV Youtube Channel– though it’s not his original material. This comedian sitting alongside his wife provides good quick-hitting laughs about “Life with His Wife.”
share the love
Know a friend who would love reading all the relationship goodness we’ve packed in here? Go ahead and share it with them!