With current trends and divorce rates in the United States, it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly is going wrong in some marriages. Of course, there are plenty of different reasons for each marriage to end, from infidelity, to general conflict, and miscommunication issues. Validating each others feelings in a relationship is an important piece of showing love towards each other.
One of the most common themes that comes up during couples counseling sessions with my clients is validating each other’s feelings. When we discuss what this looks like during session, it’s almost like a foreign language. Sometimes, validating the other person feels like you’re giving in to them and admitting you were wrong. However, this is not the case; you can validate one’s feelings without having to agree with them.
So, what does it look like to validate your partner’s feelings and what purpose does it serve to do so during conflict?
First off, validating one’s feelings means that you are recognizing what the other person is feeling. Even if you don’t agree with why the person is feeling a certain way, it doesn’t matter and you have to push that aside.. They are feeling that way for a reason; all feelings are valid and should be addressed.
If you look at marriages that are under distress, they are low on validation and full of invalidation, whereas happy and healthy relationships include heavy doses of validation and very little invalidation. Validation within a loving relationship is simply the acknowledgement of understanding and acceptance.
When we respond with validation, we are telling our loved one that we understand what they are experiencing and accept them. Validating statements look like, “I hear that you are really disappointed right now”, “I can see that you are sad”, or “I hear that you are really hurt right now”. These statements are but a few examples of what it looks like to validate your partner’s feelings. Validation does not mean agreement, which is what it’s often confused with.
Is Validation Important?
Yes, validation is extremely important to a loving relationship. Validating enhances communication between two people. Feelings of invalidation are more likely to cause the person to shut down and not hear what the other person is saying.
If they feel validated, then a few things are likely to occur: their negative emotions will decrease, they’ll start to express more feelings with you, and they’ll be easier for you to understand. Validation can help build trust and closeness by bringing down barriers and creating moments of understanding, comfort, and intimacy.
If you feel like you’re having trouble with validation between you and your partner, you are not alone. It’s okay to okay to seek support, and I am more than willing to meet with you both to provide the support you are looking for. We will work together on learning how to truly validate your partner’s feelings and ensure that both sides are being heard and feeling loved. Call today!
Written by therapist Alex Parlette
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