If you study a large sampling of failed relationships, you’ll find that a lack of understanding is often one of the reasons why partnerships breakdown. And if you want to make your relationship healthier, it’s important that you help your partner feel loved and understood.
Here are a few simple suggestions:
- Ask the Right Questions
If you want your partner to open up and be vulnerable with you, then you have to begin by asking the right questions. Your questions can’t seem too probing or accusatory. They should come across as natural, organic, and genuine.
When it comes to getting to the bottom of a matter of attempting to understand where your partner is coming from, try asking questions like:
- Can you tell me more about that?
- How did that make you feel?
- Is that something you think about frequently?
The key is to keep the questions fairly open-ended, while giving your partner the option to open up. This doesn’t necessarily mean they will, but the questions at least show that you care.
- Manage Reactions
When interacting with your partner, be mindful of your reactions – particularly when they say something sensitive or show signs of being vulnerable. Whether you mean to or not, your expressions can signal unintended ideas.
When your partner does open up, make eye contact and truly listen. Don’t spin your wheels thinking about what you should say.
“That means 80 percent of the time you listen patiently without interrupting, and the remaining 20 percent you reflect what you heard and ask questions to get more information about the situation,” life coach Dhara Jani writes.
Nod your head and smile when appropriate. Soak it all in and look engaged. This helps your partner see that you care and understand.
- Show Gratitude and Appreciation
People like to feel appreciated. Whether your partner will admit it to you or not, there’s a desire to be appreciated for what they do. And by showing them appreciation, you make your partner feel cared for, loved, and nurtured.
Make it a point to show your partner gratitude in at least one way each day. It could be a verbal compliment, a written note of thanks, or even a sacrificial act (like doing the dishes or holding the door open for them).
- Study Your Partner’s Zodiac Sign
You can tell a lot about your partner by studying their zodiac sign and engaging with them in a manner that aligns with their personality, strengths, and traits.
Let’s say, for example, that you’re dating a Taurus. Taurus people use talkative mannerisms and are quick to flirt when they feel chemistry. However, they also appreciate physical boundaries. When you understand this, you know when to back off a little and not take it personally.
- Show Interest in Your Partner’s Passions
One of the best ways to help your partner feel understood is to show interest in their passions. If you’re dating a guy who loves football, ask questions and be willing to watch the game with him (without having your phone out the entire time). If you’re dating a woman who loves rock climbing, learn everything you can about the sport and support her passion. The fact that you show interest is a major positive in the relationship.
- Respect Differences of Opinion
You and your partner probably agree on a large percentage of issues, beliefs, and interests. (After all, there’s something beyond physical attraction that brought the two of you together.) But there will also be certain things that you disagree on. And it’s imperative that you respect these differences of opinion.
“Most of the couples I know share a lot of the same values and opinions. Still, there are things that two people just won’t agree on,” Cole Nemeth writes for Thought Catalog. “It might be something as small as agreeing what the best restaurant is, or even something more serious like who to vote for. Chances are though, that it won’t be a complete deal breaker.”
It’s fine to disagree with something. Let your partner know, but then leave it at that. Tell them you respect their opinion and the fact that they have a different background and outlook. Don’t make backhanded comments or snide remarks. Just move on. Your partner will feel confident knowing that you understand where they’re coming from, even if you don’t agree.
Build a Long Lasting Relationship
We’ve all had brief, casual relationships that never get serious. But if you’re being honest, that’s not what you’re looking for in life. You want a real connection that has the potential to grow and mature over the years. And by helping your partner feel understood, you can increase your chances of cultivating a relationship that lasts. Put these tips into action and observe what happens!