When it comes to having intimate conversations, there are three skills and one rule.
The rule is understanding must precede advice. Drs. John and Julie Gottman tell couples that these talks between lovers are not meant to problem-solve. Premature problem solving tends to shut people down. Advice should only begin when both people feel understood.
Skill #1: Putting Your Feelings into Words
In intimate conversations, finding the right words, phrases, images, or metaphors make talking about feelings much deeper.
Skill #2: Asking Open-Ended Questions
Help your partner explore their feelings by asking questions that require more than a “yes” or “no” answer. Consider: “How did that make you feel?” or “Tell me more about that.”
Skill #3: Expressing Empathy
You can show empathy by validating your partner’s thoughts, feelings, and needs. It means you understand where they’re coming from on a particular topic. Empathy looks like making genuine statements like, “I can see how you felt that way.”
Related Blog Posts:
- How Conflicts Help You Understand Your Partner
- 3 Ways to Make a Better Bid for Connection
- Everyday Ways to Reconnect and Nurture Your Relationship
The Relationship Minute is from The Gottman Institute. Visit their website.