When we love, the pain of the loved one is ours and we cannot be indifferent to that pain or to that need, we cannot pass by as if nothing was happening. You then have a moral duty to act by virtue of that love.
In my article “A Simple Story That Can Change Your Marriage,” I promised a second installment on how to develop empathy for the benefit of life in marriage. But is it possible to learn to be empathetic? Some positions hold that you are born being empathetic and others say that you can learn. In my opinion, people who do not innately possess it, can learn and implement similar behaviors, which translate into a real interest in the person they love.
The sensitivity of the empathic person is manifested in the ability to perceive people’s feelings at a higher level, without them having openly expressed it. Empathic people are very observant and can read body language very well. When they notice that a person is affected, shocked, anguished and even happy this does not go unnoticed by them. The interest is not media, it is genuine and they always look for a way to help, if the case requires it.
Empathic people are also concerned about not hurting others with their actions and words, at least consciously. Obviously we speak of human beings, which implies that in certain situations they may feel disgust or find themselves in disagreement, but they always seek the path of dialogue and conciliation. I keep thinking that if all people to a greater or lesser degree had these characteristics, life in marriage would really be a pleasant experience. Coexistence should not be an obstacle to the fulfillment of the couple.
Where to begin?
Saying that to be empathetic you just have to put yourself in someone else’s shoes sounds easy and even cliché. The really difficult and novel thing is to achieve it. For me, there is only one way and it is through emotional connection. Here are the things you need to do to connect emotionally with your husband or wife and come to an understanding of their feelings on a deeper level:
1. Learn to Listen
This is not about resignedly remaining silent waiting for your turn to defend yourself or to express your point of view, give your advice or even judge the feelings and the situation. It is about then, not only to silence your voice, but also your thoughts. Consciously stopping your inner dialogue to really understand the other. Almost always, in the middle of an argument while you remain silent, you are searching your mind for the words and the facts to be able to respond, but you are almost never attentive to what your husband or wife tells you, that is why you never agree real. Listening empathically means getting ready to do so, understanding the feeling when your wife tells you “I feel lonely, sad or disappointed” or when your husband tells you “I feel upset, suffocated, exhausted” do not rush your answer, just listen, let him vent, say everything he thinks. It is worth asking your partner details regarding what they are saying, for example – How long have you felt this way? What things have I done that make you feel this way? How can we remedy it? – I think there is a significant difference that can substantially change the outcome of the discussion when we really listen to the other.
2. Support yourself
Once you have reached the point of understanding and understanding the feelings of your spouse, avoiding judging or finding guilty, something very important comes in this process and that is to show solidarity with that pain, anguish and need that the other feels. Do you remember any situation in which you have shown solidarity with someone? That is what I want you to feel, that desire to help, to try to change the situation, because it hurts you too. When we love, the pain of the loved one is ours and we cannot be indifferent to that pain or that need. We can’t walk by as if nothing is happening. You then have a moral duty to act by virtue of that love. No effort is wasted when we do it to improve our relationship. Your reaction can range from starting a personal process of change or simply giving a hug and staying close to your partner. She will appreciate it and when it is her turn to listen to you, she will surely follow your example.
You can learn to be empathetic and I invite you to be, it is about doing it over and over again until you feel comfortable and it comes out naturally. I assure you that this new behavior will positively affect your marriage. I would like you to read this other article to help you find practical ways to reconnect emotionally with your family: Your emotional absence weighs on me like a block of ice