Relationship Minute: Is that right?

Listening to your partner, whether it’s during a Stress-Reducing Conversation or any time, is a great opportunity to practice attunement, empathy, and understanding.

The key is to keep yourself from making assumptions. Maintain curiosity.

Let’s say, for example, that your partner says, “I saw the most annoying thing on Facebook today.”

You could make an assumption and interrupt them with, “Oh, did your aunt post another Minions meme? You should unfollow her.”

Or you could get curious: 
You: “What was it?” 
Your partner: “It was a compilation of gender reveal videos.”You: “Oh! What was annoying about that to you?” 

Your partner:“They were all for the same baby.”
 You: “Wow! I could see how that would be annoying. So you saw this video and you felt agitated because multiple gender reveals feels indulgent? Is that right?”

Your partner: “Not quite. I just think you don’t get to call it a ‘reveal’ after the first one. And they were acting surprised every time.” 

You: “Ah, so it was performative and that was annoying?”

Your partner: “Yes, and they were all really elaborate.” 

You: “Do you think it was a waste of money?” 

Your partner: “Yeah! So maybe that’s why it annoyed me, too.” 

Get curious. Dig deeper. Confirm your perceptions with your partner.

Related blog posts

The Relationship Minute is from The Gottman Institute. You can sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning. 

Relationship Minute: Love Map time travel

You may feel like you know your partner pretty well—what they like to eat, their favorite movies, and what their face looks like when they’re upset. But what about some of the stories from the archives?

Do you know who your partner’s best friend was when they were 12?

What about their first crush?

How did your partner learn to tie their shoes? How do they draw a star?

Try picking an age, and inviting your partner to share a story about themselves at that age. For example, “Tell me a story from when you were 10,” or, “What were you like at 17?”

Even if you knew them at the age you pick, you might not have heard the story. Approach it like a journalist—get details, ask follow-up questions, and be curious!

Have fun with it. Take turns picking the age and telling stories. You might be surprised by what you learn about your partner.

Related blog posts

The Relationship Minute is from The Gottman Institute. You can sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.