Please understand me

Many couples will say, “We just can’t seem to agree on anything” and since it seems reasonable that they should agree on things in order to be intimate, they try to agree and when they fail time and again, well, they often end up in my office. The problem, as I see it, is this: the couple is fighting the wrong uphill battle. Instead of trying to agree on everything, they would probably improve their marriage by attempting to simply understand their partner’s viewpoint.

Sure, it would be great to agree on any number of things (think frequency of sex or parenting issues), but we’re all unique individuals with different upbringings, different personalities and different experiences, so we won’t see eye to eye on everything, no matter how much we love each other. So, the better approach is understanding your spouse. There is something pretty powerful about being understood and it’s far more important than coming to an agreement on an issue.

Some of your spouse’s thoughts, attitudes and even behaviors, simply won’t make sense and they’re difficult to understand. Still, seeking to understand that position is an important step in keeping intimacy alive. Realizing that your spouse is different and attempting to appreciate their stance is critical, but communicating that you hear them and want to understand them is far more important than agreeing with them could ever be.

When you can’t see eye to eye, consider attempting to understand your spouse.

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About Lori Mitton

Lori Mitton is a licensed clinical psychotherapist (MA, LLP) specializing in marriage and family therapy. She is co-founder of Permanent Passionate Partnership.