What do the most healthy and connected marriages have in common? Partners consistently emotionally respond to one another.
Emotionally responsiveness is one of the most important things you can do for a few very important reasons. It shows you are truly listening, you care about and validate their feelings. This allows the person to confirm these very important things –
- I feel like I matter to you
- I feel important to you
- I feel like I can count on you
- I fee like you’re there for me
What does it look like to emotionally respond? Here are some examples:
“I am angry you didn’t pick up the groceries”
Emotionally responding – “I’m so sorry” (this validates the other person’s emotions and shows you care about their feelings), I understand your feelings and I want you to be able to count on me” (this make the other person feel like they matter and you want the person to be able to count on you)
Opposite of emotional responsiveness – “Stop complaining, you forgot to get my dry cleaning last week” – this leads to disconnect, more anger, sadness, feeling alone, and makes the other person feel like they can’t count on and do not matter to you.
“I am feeling so sad and overwhelmed”
Emotionally responding – “I’m so sorry you’re feeling sad and overwhelmed” (this validates the other person’s emotions and shows you listening and care about their emotional experience), “I’m here for you – what can I do to help you?” (this make the other person feel like they matter even if they just want you to be present and listen and not fix anything)
Opposite of emotional responsiveness – “you’re too sensitive”, “stop crying”, ” you wouldn’t be so overwhelmed if you…” people want you to be present and not fix anything…
The best way you can be there for you spouse, partner (child, friend or other family member for that matter is – Listen and don’t try to fix anything
You can improve your marriage or relationship by improving
Discussing It’s Not About the Nail – The importance of empathy and attention
Find a therapist experienced with attachment issues (many are) to help you. If you’re looking for a therapist in Essex County, NJ, give us a call at 973-902-8700 or email us if that’s easier.